Posted by: friendsoftheearthmiddleeast | September 15, 2014

أزمة المياه في غزة

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نداء طارىء لتلبية احتياجات المياه ومعالجة مشكلة الصرف الصحي لبلدية عبسان  في قطاع غزة

لقد أدت الأحداث المأساوية في الشهر الماضي إلى خسارة مروعة في الأرواح والى تدمير  أنحاء شاسعة من  قطاع غزة

 و لقد تأثرت المجتمعات المحلية العاملة  مع جمعية أصدقاء الأرض الشرق الأوسط تحت مشروع جيران المياه الطيبون بشكل مباشر و على جميع الأصعدة  خصوصا  بلدية عبسان الكبيرة .حيث أفاد رئيس بلدية عبسان  أن البلدية تفتقر للدعم و تحتاج الى عشر الاف دولار لتوفير المياه الصالحة للشرب لواحد و عشرون ألف مواطن من تلك المنطقة لمدة شهر

و تخطط بلدية عبسان القيام بتوزيع المياه  في صهاريج التخزين المجتمعية حتى يتم إصلاح أنابيب المياه ويتم إرجاع الكهرباء. كما يطالب رئيس بلدية عبسان بتوفير أموال عاجلة لإصلاح نظام تحلية المياه المالحة المتضررة جراء الإقتتال و توفير مولد لتشغيلها حتى تعود الكهرباء.  أخيرا وليس آخرا، يرغب رئيس بلدية عبسان باستئجار شاحنات الصرف الصحي لضخ المياه العادمة التي تفيض حاليا في الشوارع من الحفر الامتصاصية المنزلية مما يؤدي الى تلويث موارد المياه وزيادة احتمالات المرض

789في استجابة لطلب عاجل من رئيس بلدية عبسان، اطلقت جمعية أصدقاء الأرض الشرق الأوسط  الشهر الماضي مناشدة طارئة للمساعدة بإمداد المياه النظيفة إلى عبسان، بالتزامن مع منع إنتشار الأمراض. و تمكنت الجمعية من جمع مساعدات تكفي لتغطية إحتياجات البلدية من المياه لمدة ثلاث أشهر. وتم توزيع خزانات مياه لإستخدام السكان. و تتضمن الخطوات القادمة إعادة تأهيل الأبار القديمة و إصلاح مصنع لتحلية المياه و توفير البلدية بالمزيد من خزانات المياه و المياه الصالة للشرب.

إن احتياجات  البلدية و إحتياجات سكانها  ملحة وللأسف ستبقى كذلك لعدة شهور قادمة حتى تبدأ وكالات التنمية الدولية جهود الإنعاش في جميع أنحاء غزة. لذلك تناشد جمعية أصدقاء الأرض و سكان عبسان القادرين على المساعة بالتبرع بشكل فردي في هذا الوقت العصيب  و تشكر كل من ساهم بدعم هذه الحملة

 يمكن التبرع عن طريق حساب باي بال الخاص بجمعية  أصدقاء الارض من خلال زيارة صفحة التبرعات لدينا

http://foeme.org/www/؟module=pages&sub_module=donation

بقلم سمر سلمى الضابط الإعلامي لجمعية أصدقاء الأرض الشرق الأوسط

مكتب عمان

 

 Emergency Appeal for Abasan Municipality, Gaza Water and Sanitation Needs

The tragic events of this past month have led to a horrific loss of life and destruction throughout parts of Gaza and southern s1Israel. EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) staff and communities have been directly affected at all levels including two communities part of our Good Water Neighbors project, the Eshkol Regional Council in Israel and Abasan Al Kabireh municipality in Gaza. While the Israeli government has the resources to respond to the financial needs of the Eshkol community, in Gaza the Mayor of Abasan Al Kabireh has few resources and thus has turned directly to FoEME to ask for immediate assistance.Current estimates, by the Mayor, include an urgent need of $10,000 per month to help provide his community of 21,000 people with clean drinking water. In response to the urgent request from the Mayor of Abasan, EcoPeace/FoEME launched an emergency appeal in August to help resupply clean water to Abasan, while concurrently preventing the outbreak of disease.  The municipality and its population’s needs are urgent and unfortunately will remain so for several months to come until international development agencies begin recovery efforts throughout Gaza.

 

We are proud to report though, that as of today, EcoPeace/FoEME has raised enough funds to support the municipality’s water needs for three months. Water containers and water, such as the one above, have been purchased for resident use.  The next steps include rehabilitation of an old well, repair of the small desalinization plant, and additional water containers and water purchased for Abasan.

 

FoEME and the people of Abasan are still asking for your individual support in this time of need as we don’t know how long the water crisis and lack of proper sanitation will continue. 

 

We thank those who have contributed so far, additional donations can be made via FoEME’s PayPal account by going to our donation page

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Bakoura National Park to be established along the Jordanian side of the Lower Jordan River:

After years of relentless work and advocacy efforts, FoEME is pleased to announce that a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the Jordan Valley Authority in Jordan to develop the Bakoura area into a national park. s2

 

The current Bakoura area, located at the junction of the Yarmouk and Jordan Rivers, is home to a rich array of cultural and natural heritage sites. The area’s rich biodiversity will allow for the development of sustainable ecotourism activities including bird watching facilities, reuse of existing infrastructure as eco-lodges and the former hydroelectric power plant as a museum and information center.  The park is expected to create local jobs in support of the area’s economy while conserving the area’s environment. With the MOU’s signing, FoEME is advancing the production of  a business plan for the park, and providing  support to additional  projects on the ground.  For further details, see this FoEME blog

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FoEME Welcomes the New Bitunya Waste Water Treatment Plant in the Jordan Valley

After years of local, national and regional advocacy efforts, FoEME is pleased to congratulate the leadership and residents of the Israeli Jordan Valley Regional Council for the opening of its new Waste Water Treatment Plant.  The operation of the new facility will have immediate impacts on the ecology of the Lower Jordan River with the removal of the domestic sewage from the Jordan River system.  This marks a major step forward in working towards a healthy and clean Jordan River. 

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While welcoming this effort wholeheartedly, FoEME still maintains its warning that removal of sewage and other polluted effluents must be met by the return of greater quantities of fresh water to the Lower Jordan, therefore helping to ensure that the river flows year round.

 

Advocacy activities in support of these developments are part of the Good Water Neighbors and  Jordan River Rehabilitation Project, supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Osprey Foundation.

 

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Criminal investigation, due to raw sewage spills, opened against the settlement of Beitar Ellite

The Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection opened a criminal investigation against the Beitar Ellite settlement in response to its ongoing sewage spills on neighboring Palestinian communities. 

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This criminal investigation follows numerous complaints to the Israeli Ministry of Environment from Wadi Fukin (Palestine) residents, in partnership with Tzur Hadassah (Israel) residents, two cross border partner communities  under FoEME’s Good Water Neighbors Project.  FoEME representatives have already given testimony during the investigation and will continue to provide evidence of the illegal sewage spills. 

 

 

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Advancing Waste Water Treatment Facilities at Auja

In coordination with the Palestinian Water Authority, local authorities and area stakeholders, FoEME recently entered into a consulting agreement with the Joint Venture of the Universal Group for Engineering and Consulting (UG) and Maqdesi Engineering Consulting Firm (MEnCo), whereby UG and MEnCo will prepare a feasibility study and a conceptual engineering design for a new wastewater treatment plant to service the Al Auja area in the Jericho Governorate, Palestine. 

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The establishment of a new wastewater treatment facility will provide new water resources, expand irrigated areas, upgrade sewage infrastructure, and improve the environmental situation in Al Auja. The project includes a 3 month preparatory stage, after which the necessary permits and funding will be sought.

 

The Good Water Neighbors project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

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Workshop on Implementing the Arab Peace Initiative at the Jordanian – Palestinian Level

Earlier this summer, representatives from FoEME attended a workshop on implementing the Arab Peace Initiative at the Jordanian-Palestinian level.  The event was organized by the United Religious Initiative – MENA region chapter, in cooperation with the Center for Democracy and Community Development, as part of an EU sponsored program entitled “Building Sustainable Peace through the Arab Peace Initiative.”  Throughout the course of the high level meeting, FoEME experts elaborated on the significant contribution environmental cooperation has on regional peace building activities.  Read more in our blog.s6

 

FoEME’s Water Cannot Wait Campaign is supported by the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

 

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Sharhabil bin Hassaneh EcoPark, Jordan

This summer FoEME team members led a series of applied learning activities in partnership with the Jordanian Mabarrat Um Al Hussein learning and care institution for young boys living in hardship at our Sharhabil bin Hassaneh Ecopark (SHE).  FoEME experts provided theoretical background information as well as applied learning activities concerning solid waste management including clean up campaigns and tree planting activities at the park and at the Mabarrat facilities for the young participants.  More pictures of this activity are available on FoEME’s Facebook Page and you can view a video on our YouTube page.s7

 

Students from Columbia High School, here from New York, also had the chance to participate in a tour of the Lower Jordan River with FoEME, where they received explanations about the deterioration of the Lower Jordan River and its resulting impacts on the Dead Sea environment. The students also had a chance to learn about our regional approach to rehabilitate the shared river including FoEME’s faith based community outreach campaign

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International Alert visits the Jordanian Jordan Valley

Experts from International Alert, one of the world’s leading peacebuilding organizations, visited the Jordan Valley with FoEME this month to learn about the environmental and water scarcity challenges facing Jordan Valley residents.  s8

 

Throughout the visit FoEME discussed the issues of climate change, population growth, refugee influx and the potential human security threats resulting from inadequate water supply as well as strategies for curbing these critical challenges while focusing on sanitation and agricultural demand management approaches. Read more in our blog.

 

 

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FoEME shines a light at Olympic Truce activities in Nepal

This summer a representative of FoEME traveled to Nepal as part of the Olympic Truce program. 

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The event marks FoEME’s continued partnership with the program which hosts a series of activities for representatives from different countries from around the world to learn and share strategies and approaches to further promote and enhance peaceful coexistence in their respective countries. 

 

 

 

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FoEME Bookshelf – New Book Released

FoEME is pleased to announce the release of the fifth edition of Green Planet Blues: Critical Perspectives on Global s10Environmental Politics, edited by Ken Conca and Geoffrey D. Dabelko.  The new book includes a chapter highlighting the successful environmental peacemaking strategies advanced by FoEME through our Good Water Neighbors project.  The book identifies FoEME’s programs as leading examples of how to successfully implement the “concept of environmental peacebuilding and serve as an example for environmental security, reconciliation and peace in other regions of protracted conflict on our planet.”

 

The Good Water Neighbors project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

 

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Jordan River Photography Exhibition hosted by Noah’s Ark in the Netherlands

In partnership with Global Nature Fund and photographer Eddie Gerald, Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) has s11curated a series of stark images of the Jordan Valley, highlighting its beauty, its heritage and its role in today’s conflict, contrasting the River’s current deteriorating situation with the magnificence of the landscape.  FoEME’s Jordan River Photography Exhibition has travelled to numerous locations throughout Europe and will now be hosted by Noah’s Ark in Dordrecht, Netherlands for the next 12 months to raise awareness about the need to rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River. 

 

This awareness building activity is part of FoEME’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project and graciously supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and Osprey Foundation

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Upcoming Events and Activities:

FoEME is 20 Years Old!  Join us on October 20, 2014 in Washington D.C.s12

EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East is celebrating our 20th Anniversary with a Gala Dinner on October 20, 2014 in Washington D.C., USA with author, journalist and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as the guest speaker.  The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, near the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, DC, with a reception at 6:30 pm and dinner at 7:30 pm.  Seating is limited. To avoid disappointment, please contact Erin Falah at erin@foeme.org or Mary Alexander at mary@mkalexander.com. You can reserve a ticket by clicking here.

 

Join FoEME at World Water Week August 31-September 5, 2014 in Stockholm, Swedens13

Join FoEME and other water experts from around the world in this year’s World Water Week from August 31-September 5, 2014 in Stockholm, Sweden.  FoEME representatives will be speaking about the importance of regional integrated water and energy infrastructure during the integrated water and energy policy and governance workshop on Wednesday, September 3, 2014.  For details visit our specific events page or the World Water Week site.

 

FoEME at World Muslim Leadership Forum September 26, 2014, United Kingdoms15

FoEME representatives will join hundreds of representatives from around the world at this biennial event. World Muslim Leadership Forum takes place on September 26 in Westminster, UK.  The conference will discuss global leadership and contemporary challenges for the Islamic world.  FoEME representatives will address the opportunity to engage Muslim communities on environmental challenges in support of our faith based campaign to rehabilitee the Lower Jordan River.  For more information on this campaign and to endorse our Jordan River Covenant please visit our Jordan River webpage.

 

Posted by: friendsoftheearthmiddleeast | August 25, 2014

Climate Change and Security: Perspective from FoEME

Climate Change and Security Consultation

Amman, Jo

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For more than a decade, concerns about the main risks posed by climate change in terms of fragility and conflict have haunted the international community.  In the Middle East, political turmoil has overshadowed climate change threats; nonetheless, a careful scrutiny of the region easily reveals that many of the conflicts are directly related to competition over limited resources; a direct result of over population and rapid Climate Change.

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In its attempt to map out the connection between climate change and its effect on fragile countries or contexts; the Great 7 Countries “G7” initiated a Large Project whereby the Consortium formed of “International Alert, adelphi and Wilson Center” is leading several consultations in the MENA region. These consultations target local communities, NGOs, donor agencies, governmental authorities and peace building organizations as contributing mediators in the analysis. The consultations aim at investigating the connections between climate change and social, economic, political landscape that result in political instability and risks to development progress. Furthermore, the resulting case studies and recommendations will be used by foreign policy makers to mitigate the effect of climate change and fragility on sovereign states as part of the post 2015 Development Agenda.  

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 In the MENA region, Jordan has been one of the countries severely impacted by many factors. Not only is the Kingdom grappling with the problem of limited natural resources compounded by climate change, but its problems are exacerbated by a constant  stream of refugee  influx from neighboring countries.  The problem of water is at the forefront. With its extended experience in regional Water conflict, Friends of the Earth Middle East “FoEME” contributed in the consultation meeting held on the 17th of August in Amman, by presenting its own experience in mitigating conflict over limited water resources and environmental peace building.

 

In his welcoming speech, FoEMEs Jordanian Director Mr. Munqeth Mehyar stated that conflict prompted by environmental degradation is rising drastically especially with regards to fresh water resources.  He affirmed that environmental degradation poses a challenge to security, foreign policy and human development. He added that it can easily cause international tension since many of our water resources are shared by two or more sovereign states.  A case in point is the degradation of the Jordan River that could impose a threat to fragile peace and instigate conflict if serious measures are not taken to properly manage its shared waters.

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Ms. Nancy Haddaden, Jordanian Manager of the Good Water Neighbors and Sustainable Water Integrated Management projects at FoEME presented the organization’s successful experience through its GWN program in promoting environmental peacebuilding. The program that is implemented in the countries of Jordan, Palestine and Israel sets an unprecedented model to be emulated.  It proved that the environment knows no borders, requires long term cooperation, and demands people to people interaction. In fact, it can succeed in advancing peace where politics fail by producing a feeling of a shared responsibility and creating a sense of a shared future.

 

013The Consultation Meeting was organized by  adelphi and International Alert in cooperation with FoEME and  was attended by  representatives from the Jordan valley Authority, UNDP, Jordan University of Science and Technology “JUST”,  Jordan Environment Society “JES”, Save the Children International in addition to several international donors  including SIDA and DFID.   The discussion focused on the effects of the Syrian refugees on Jordan, clashing Water cultures and tension resulting between hosts and refugees.  In this respect, Ms.  Haddaden pointed out that tension could be resolved if the poverty pockets in Jordan are not neglected by the international society in favor of the refugees.  In an earlier site visit led by Ms. Haddaden to the Jordan Valley, she illustrated to the Consortium the various challenges that inhabitants of the valley face on a daily basis. These challenges are related to water distribution, agriculture, and lack of sewage network. The resultant of the site visit was a case study formulated as part of the report prepared for the G7.

 

Moreover, Ms. Yana Abu Taleb; FoEMEs Deputy Director emphasized the need for a regional cooperation to solve environmental problems. In this regard, she elaborated on a FoEME proposal phase project related to developing a Water and Energy Nexus in the Levant countries as a resilience building measure for Climate Change, adaptation and mitigation. 036

The participants introduced other recommendations related to water governance, international binding laws and regulations, revision of agricultural policies, and governmental subsidies. They emphasized the need to encourage synergy and cooperation between Governmental bodies, civil societies and to properly leverage and direct funds.

 

It is declared in the IPCC Fifth assessment Report (IPCC, 2014) that the impact of climate change on human wellbeing, peace and security will worsen in time especially the poorest members of society.  To prevent its added stresses from turning into armed conflicts in fragile regions, one must agree with Bell Gates that “Climate change is a terrible problem, and it absolutely needs to be solved. It deserves to be a huge priority.”

 

This post is contribute by Samar M. Salma, FoEMEs Media Officer at the Amman Office in  collaboration with Nancy Haddaden, FoEMEs GWN, SWIM projects Manager at the Amman Office.

Posted by: friendsoftheearthmiddleeast | August 13, 2014

FoEME and JVA Sign an MoU for the Development of the Bakoura National Park

Amman, Jo

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 After many years of relentless efforts to push for the establishment and development of the Bakoura National Park with various Prime Ministers and government officials, and after overcoming all difficulties emerging due to overlapping jurisdictions of different authorities in the area,  Friends of the Earth Middle EastFoEME”  hard work came to a fruition. Read More…

This monthly newsletter is issued at a time of continuing tragedies and rising violence on our region. We deplore all forms of violence and mourn together for the so many innocent lives lost. Our response is to pledge to double our efforts yet again in the search for regional peace, justice and sustainability.

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Conference on The Gaza Water and Sanitation Crisis – postponedFoEME, INSS logos_new

Due to the tragic circumstances in the region, FoEME’s conference on the Gaza Water and Sanitation Crisis has been rescheduled. Please save the new date, the afternoon of September 8th. A formal invitation will be sent in the coming weeks.

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Cross Border Farmers Tour
Farmers and Mayors from Jordan and Palestine participated in a study tour in Israel to learn from the experience of waste water treatment and reuse in agriculture in Israel. The tour began at the experimental site of the South Farmers Association in Kibbutz Revadim, where detailed PGW Farmers tour1
\explanations were given to the group by Joon Zilberman, a senior guide from the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture’s professional guiding service (SHAHAM). At the experimental site, we witnessed the positive results of irrigating corn with treated waste water as well as the use of compost from the waste water treatment plant’s sludge.

PGW Farmers tour1The delegation also visited the Shafdan – the largest sewage treatment plant in the Middle East. The Shafdan serves a population of 2 million people in the greater Tel-Aviv Area, receiving 380,000 cm of municipal waste water daily that undergoes 4 stages of treatment to a potable water standard. The recycled water is pumped and transferred for unrestricted irrigation of all kind of crops, including vegetables, which are exported to Europe under the strict regulation and inspection of the Ministries of Health, Min. of Environment and the EU food import standards. The study tour is part of the Implementation plans of FoEME’s “Protecting Ground Water” project, aiming to teach the best available and safe practices of the reuse of treated waste water so as to alleviate pollution of groundwater. Read more in this blog

The “Protecting Ground Water” project is supported by the European Union’s ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Program.
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Mayors from Israel and Jordan sign on a Memorandum of Understanding for a cross border project
A new unique agricultural research cooperation project, a “Model Farm”, was signed this month between the Tamar Regional Council in Israel and South Ghor in Jordan. Developed in the context of FoEME’s Good Water Neighbors “Priority Initiatives” program, the Model Farm will serve as a MoU
center for cross border knowledge sharing regarding different aspects of crop selection and cultivation practices such as irrigation, fertilization, and plant protection.

The Model Farm will also be a venue for cross border training programs that target local farmers and aim at improving the sustainability and profitability of the local agricultural sector in addition to tackling and solving environmental problems such as house flies that pose a terrible nuisance, but also a health threat, to the residents of the region.

Read more in our press release, in this blog, and in this Jerusalem Post article
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Regional Youth Campaign Camp
youth camp odtThis month, a three-day cross border youth gathering took place in the north of Israel that included youth from the Jordanian, Palestinian and

Israeli communities of the Good Water Neighbors project. With the expansion of the Good Water Neighbors project – from “cross border communities” – to the new “Water Basin” approach – FoEME is already utilizing the young energy of Water Trustee Alumni, several of whom joined the camp as assistants to the staff.youth camp

Youth were introduced to the “Water Cannot Wait” campaign and then participated in workshops where they learned how to make a “product” aimed to promote the Water Cannot Wait message, using easy and readily available technologies (i.e. video and recording mechanisms on smartphones). Outdoor Training (ODT) exercises, and bike rides to nearby water resources were also part of the agenda. Youth left the camp with a positive learning experience – on how to lead a joint environmental campaign – and with some new friends!

 

 

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Battir Terraced Landscape listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
BATTIRFoEME is very glad to report that after many years of relentless work towards protecting the beautiful terraced landscape of Battir, UNESCO registered Battir as a World Heritage site in danger. FoEME now awaits the decision of the High Court of Israel as to whether the court will prevent the building of the Separation Barrier and accept FoEME’s petition that there are alternative means to maintain security without destroying what is officially, as of now, a site of World Heritage to all of humanity. FoEME congratulates the Battir Village Council, our “Good Water Neighbor” communities, local Palestinian and Israeli activists, our staff and our many supporters for this UNESCO listing.In honor of Battir___

In honor of the listing, FoEME gathered together local activists and members of the Battir village council who, at this difficult moment of continued violence in the region, exemplified how Battir remains a ray of hope for cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians towards a better future.

 

Read several articles written on the subject in our Good Water Neighbors / Press coverage page.

 

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Public March in Baka el Garbia community in Israel – youth and adults grass roots call for the rehabilitation of Wadi Abu Nar

On the 26th of June, environmental activists and local schools conducted a symbolic march on the banks of Wadi Abu Nar – a polluted stream that flows from Palestine (Baka el Sharkia community) into Israel and then joins the Hadera stream which flows into the Mediterranean Sea.Baka parade

The march started on the point where the Wadi crosses the Separation Barrier in order to emphasize the cross border nature of this environmental problem. FoEME’s local community coordinator presented the Wadi’s condition and the steps needed for its rehabilitation. The march ended in a small event at the ‘El Qasami’ college, where a short film presenting the joint activities of FoEME, local residents and the local authority, was presented.

The “Good Water Neighbors” project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
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FoEME’s “Green Economy Initiatives” project gathered together the 3 newly hired business consultants – Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian – at FoEME’s Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark to review together their first ‘mapping and surveying’ task. This includes identifying the many local “green economy” businesses that already exist, after which we will meet again, to choose the most appropriate businesses for participation in regional GEIseminars aimed to promote cross border business opportunities and partnerships.

The group also received a tour and short history about the development of the EcoPark, where many of the project’s “one day youth seminars” are also held, teaching environmental awareness, regional cooperation, and “green economy” concepts.

FoEME’s “Green Economy Initiatives” project is supported by USAID Conflict Management & Mitigation Program.
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FoEME at the “Bet Lahem Live Festival”
Representatives from FoEME participated in the “Bet Lahem Live Festival” that lasted from 19th till the 22nd of June 2014 to advocate for the Rehabilitation of the Jordan River. The festival marked the beginning of a global movement for peace, exploring the intersections of Faith, Culture, and Justice at the community and global levels.Beit Lehem festival

The event that took place in Bethlehem’s Old City included concerts, dance performances, faith panels, theater, workshops, a market place and social justice bazaar during which FoEME distributed brochures and educated the attendees about our Faith-based campaign launched to garner religious leaders’ support towards the rehabilitation of the Jordan River.
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Regional Interfaith Jordan River Study Tour
The FoEME team hosted a two day regional inter-faith Jordan River study tour aimed to educate and empower Jewish, Christian and Muslim JR Interfaith Tourcommunity leaders in championing the rehabilitation of the Jordan River. The tour proved a transformational experience for the participants. Many of the leaders committed to raising this issue in their communities and advocate to their leadership to speak out in support of the river’s rehabilitation as both an issue of environmental importance and a way of learning about other traditions and getting to know neighboring communities.

In the tour’s closing reflections Rev. Samer Azar, of the Lutheran Church in Amman, commented “we as faith leaders have a moral responsibly to use our pulpits to raise awareness about the need to rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River – we must act.” At the study tour’s conclusion participants were pleased to endorse the Covenant for the Jordan River – adding their voices to other faith leaders from the region and around the world calling on political decision makers to prioritize the rehabilitation of the Jordan River.
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FoEME Hosts University of Colorado Study Abroad Program at the Auja EcoCenter
FoEME team members led University of Colorado at Boulder students on a one day study tour in the Jordan River Valley focusing on how the environment and sustainable transboundary water management is being held hostage to the ongoing conflict in the region.Auja Center photo - 2014

Spotlighting the community of Auja and FoEME’s widespread environmental education and advocacy programs in the area, the FoEME team led students on a site tour of the Kaser el Yehud baptism site at the Jordan River, on a hike along the Auja Spring, and hosted the students at the Auja EcoCenter for lunch, lectures and discussions about the issue. The faculty leader, Professor Jamie Polliard, Assistant Director of the Program in Jewish Studies, wrote “It was a breakthrough moment for many of our students. They will never forget the day with FoEME”.

FoEME’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project, including the faith-based activities, are supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and the Osprey Foundation.
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Jordan River NGO Master Planning Process – 2nd Stakeholder meeting in Amman
On another move towards the rehabilitation of the Jordan River Basin, FoEME and its consortium partners from the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and Global Nature Fund (GNF) in collaboration with the Royal Haskoning DHV held its 2nd Stakeholder Consultation meeting on SWIMJune the 26th in Amman.

The Jordanian section of the NGO Master Plan for the Jordan River Basin identifies a set of feasible interventions that are expected to restore the basin’s environmental and ecological values within a realistic financial and economic framework. The interventions address the problems facing the Jordan Valley including solid waste management, sanitation, agriculture and farming practices. During the meeting, the interventions were evaluated to select the ones that meet future land and water requirements. Read more in this blog.

FoEME’s Regional NGO Master Plan (SWIM-JR) Project, is supported by the European Union’s Sustainable Water Integrated Management (SWIM) Programme.
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EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East would like to wish all of our readers who are celebrating Ramadan, a month of health and happiness with your families. May the period of fasting allow deep contemplation and meaning to all.
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Posted by: friendsoftheearthmiddleeast | June 29, 2014

Cross Border Farmers Tour

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Friends of the Earth Middle East “FoEME” organized a three days Cross Border Farmers Tour that started on the 22nd of June. During the tour,  Farmers and Mayors from Jordan and Palestine visited Israel to learn  from its experience in waste water treatment and reuse in agriculture. Read More…

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Amman, Jo

On another move towards the rehabilitation of the Jordan River Basin, Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) and its consortium partners from the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and Global Nature Fund (GNF) in collaboration with the Royal Haskoning DHV held its Second Stakeholder Consultation meeting on June the 26th. Read More…

Posted by: friendsoftheearthmiddleeast | June 25, 2014

MoU Signing Ceremony to Cement Bilateral Farmers Cooperation in the Region

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Tamar, Israel
DSCN3929On Tuesday the 24th of June, representatives from the Jordanian South Ghor Municipality, Tamar Municipality in Israel and Themar Agricultural Cooperative Society from Jordan in collaboration with EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of a “Model Farm”.  The Model Farm will serve as a center for cross border knowledge sharing regarding different aspects of crop selection and cultivation practices such as irrigation, fertilization, and plant protection. It will also serve as a venue for cross border training programs that target local farmers and aim at improving the sustainability and profitability of the local agricultural sector in addition to tackling and solving environmental problems such as house flies that pose a health threat to the residents of the region.

The event that was attended by the Israeli Mayor Dov Litvinoff and Jordanian Mayor Ahmed Elouneh in addition to representatives from the Jordanian Ministry of the Environment, took place in the Municipality building of the Tamar Regional Council. The event included a tour at Arava Agricultural Research and Development Center that introduced the participants to the best technologies and agricultural practices implemented.

FoEMEs Jordanian Director Mr. Munqeth Mehyar commended the move towards signing the MoU. He commented that such collaboration will reflect positively on the Jordanian agricultural sector since the Model Farm will function as a center for cross border knowledge sharing to solve pending
environmental problems. He added that the Model Farm will also serve as a training hub for local farmers to allow for the exchange of agricultural best practices which will improve sustainability and profitability of the local agricultural sector.”DSCN3760

 

In his turn, Mr. Dov Litvinoff emphasized the importance of cooperation in the Peace valley stating that the inhabitants of the valley will benefit greatly.

The MoU is expected to cement the farmer’s commitment in the region for the advancement of the project that will benefit all concerned parties as well as residents of the Southern Dead Sea Area.

 

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This post is contributed by Samar M. Salma, FoEMEs Media Officer, PR & Projects Coordinator at the Amman Office. 

 

Posted by: friendsoftheearthmiddleeast | June 22, 2014

BATTIR REGISTERED AS A WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN DANGER

June 21, 2014

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 EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) is very glad to report that after many years of relentless work towards protecting the beautiful terraced landscape of Battir, yesterday afternoon UNESCO registered Battir as a World Heritage site in danger.

Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director at FoEME says: “at this difficult moment of continued violence in the region, Battir remains a ray of hope for cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians towards a better future.”

Nader Khateeb, FoEME’s Palestinian Director added: “FoEME now awaits the decision of the High Court of Israel as to whether the court will prevent the building of the Separation Barrier and accept FoEME’s petition that there are alternative means to maintain security without destroying what is officially, as of yesterday, a site of World Heritage to all of humanity”.

FoEME congratulates the Battir Village Council, our “Good Water Neighbor” communities, local Palestinian and Israeli activists, our staff and our many supporters for this UNESCO listing.

 For more information:

  • Gidon Bromberg – Israeli Director, FoEME; 052-4532597; gidon@foeme.org
  • Nader Khateeb – Palestinian Director, FoEME; 059-9606544; nader@foeme.org (out of country this week)
  • Mohammed Obidallah – Palestinian “Good Water Neighbors”‘ Project Coordinator; 054-3461155; mohammed@foeme.org

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Amman, Jo

007On Saturday, the 14th of June, 2014 representatives from Friends of the Earth Middle East “FoEME” attended a workshop on implementing the Arab Peace Initiative at the Jordanian- Palestinian level. The event that was organized by United Religious Initiative – MENA, a non-profit organization that aims at encouraging interfaith cooperation and inter-cultural understanding, in cooperation with The Center for Democracy and Community Development based in East-Jerusalem, falls under the program ‘Building sustainable Peace through the API: Regional Civil Society Initiative’ in line with the EU Partnership for Peace program. Read More…

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