EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East would like to wish our Muslim friends and readers an Eid al Adha Mubarak!

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EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East will  celebrate our 20th Anniversary with a Gala Dinner on October 20, 2014 with author, journalist and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as our guest speaker.  02

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. Please visit this page for more details.

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Green Economy – Regional Consultants Meeting & Tours for Tour Guides

A second regional meeting of the “Green Economy Initiatives” (GEI) project was held with the 3 hired business consultants – o3Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian – in late August. Consultants ­­­­­­­­­­reviewed the list of the local “green economy” businesses that each one identified in their respective country, from the targeted areas of the Jordan Valley / Dead Sea, and Bethlehem / Mateh Yehuda Regional Council in Israel, and brainstormed how to best match the businesses from each country while also proposing itineraries that would make a strong business case for cross border cooperation.

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Three regional tours were also held during September for Tour Operators and Tour Guides from Israel, Jordan and Palestine. The tours exposed tour guides to local green alternative sites including organic-farmland, restaurants, women entrepreneurs and adventure tourism, which aim to develop partnerships and assist in the promotion of cross-border business opportunities. Click here for more photos from the 1st tour held in Jordano4

The “Green Economy Initiatives” project is supported by USAID’s Conflict Management & Mitigation Program.

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Water and Energy Nexus

This month FoEME representatives presented our proposal for Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian integrated planning to support water and energy needs for the future of the region at the Stockholm International Water Institute’s 2014 World Water Week.o6

FoEME’s presentation highlighted the ideas in our recently released paper “A Water and Energy Nexus as a Catalyst for Middle East Peace.”  This paper explores the rationale for the creation of a proposed water-renewable energy community based on interdependence among Israel, Jordan, and Palestine, where much needed water is produced through desalination on the Israeli and Palestinian Mediterranean coasts and the additional electricity needs are met by extensive investment in solar renewable energy in Jordan’s eastern deserts.

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For those of you who did not attend the Haaretz Peace Conference, we would like to share with you a video clip that was just released, interviewing Israeli Director Gidon Bromberg, on FoEME’s position on water and the peace process.o7

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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Jordan River Rehabilitation – Faith Based seminars

FoEME is giving a series of seminars as part of its faith-based campaign calling for the revival of the Jordan River. The seminars bring together guest speakers who share their expertise, experiences and insights with the audience to motivate and engage them to interact with the campaign. The seminars are followed by field visits and tours to the Jordan River, to raise awareness regarding the current degradation of the Jordan River.o8

A seminar recently given in Jordan to leaders of the Muslim faith presented the sacredness of the Jordan River in Islam. FoEME staff distributed toolkits to help Islamic communities – in Jordan and around the world – to learn about the contemporary reality of the Holy Jordan River and to join in efforts to rehabilitate the once mighty Jordan.  Click here for more photos of this seminar

010Another seminar was given at the Community Ecumenical in Jordan, about the River and its value to   Christianity with toolkits to help Christian communities learn about the reality of the River and join in efforts for its rehabilitation.  Click here for more photos of this seminar.

And on the Western Bank, at the Kaser el Yehud Baptism Site, a tour of the Jordan River was held on September 18th, accompanied by 09Archbishop Soareos Malki Murad, Bishop of the Middle East, together with the Women’s Union of Bethlehem that included all Christian denominations. Click here for more photos of this tour.

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SavetheJordan.com website launch

On September 1st, the Save the Jordan website was launched – in three languages – to further advance the faith-based 011campaign. The ‘Save the Jordan’ campaign aims at garnering the support of religious figures in the three Abrahamic religions to advocate for the river in their congregations, and through endorsements of the covenant and providing donations. To support FoEME in its efforts to rehabilitate the River, join our campaign.

FoEME’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the Osprey Foundation.

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Swedish Consulate Visit to the Jordan River and Battir

On September 22nd, EcoPeace/FoEME Directors hosted a Swedish diplomatic delegation, consisting of the Swedish o12Ambassador to Jordan, the Swedish Consul General to Palestine, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Swedish Embassy in Tel Aviv, as well as senior staff from the three offices and SIDA senior representatives.

The day opened with a presentation of EcoPeace/FoEME’s Good Water Neighbors’ recent achievements. The group then embarked on a tour to the Lower Jordan Valley, including stops at the Baptism Site; EcoPeace/FoEME’s environmental education center in Auja; the Kidron Stream, and the Village of Battir. See more photos of the tour on this Facebook album

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Good Water Neighbor’s “Water Trustees” Alumni

The Good Water Neighbors (GWN) project recently trained 60 former “Water Trustees”, 20 from each country, Israel, Jordan & Palestine, for the project’s new Alumni program.  At the invitation of a leading Israeli newspaper, Maariv, who asked to o13learn about the GWN program, three Palestinian and two Israeli Alumni were interviewed about their positive experience as “Water Trustees”, how it influenced them, and how it inspired their dreams and aspirations.  Click here for the article that followed the interview, entitled “Jumping in the Water” (in Hebrew) (page 1 / page 2).

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Good Water Neighbors gets an A+!

FoEME hired an external company, the Butterfly Effect, to evaluate the last 2 years of the Good Water Neighbors (GWN) project. We are extremely pleased with the results. The last paragraph is perhaps the most encouraging:014

“The GWN’s strategy of long-term deep work in the communities, sustaining a cross-border communication network, and insisting on addressing practical tangible results and interests, rather than just peace or cooperation in general, bears fruits. It changes the discourse of those involved with the project and many have adopted the narrative of environmental peacebuilding/ cross-border cooperation that the GWN project advances into their professional and personal lives.” Click here for the full report

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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Mate Yehuda Master Plan receives wide exposure

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The Master Plan & Survey of the springs in Mate Yehuda was presented in the Israeli Society of Ecology and Environmental Science (ISEES) annual conference, held last month. FoEME staff led several full sessions during the conference, many of them devoted to demonstrating the unique ecological value as well as the cultural heritage of the springs of the Judean Hills.  The conference was an excellent opportunity to present the different surveys and Master Plan’s key recommendations, for preservation or rehabilitation of these springs, to the attending scholars and professionals.

The Spring Master plan is one of the outputs of the “Protecting Ground Water” project, funded by the European Union’s ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Program.

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A FoEME Amman representative attended a workshop entitled “Donor Coordination Meeting: Evolving Roles, Responsibilities and Needs in the Jordan Valley” conducted by USAID Jordan’s Institutional Support and Strengthening Program (ISSP)016

The purpose of the workshop was to present the new strategic priorities of the Jordan Valley Authority (JVA) to the donors, to ensure that current and planned donor programs in the valley are consistent and supportive of the JVA’s strategic objectives.  FoEME is working closely with the JVA on a host of water and sanitation issues in the Valley, as well as the rehabilitation of the Jordan River.

Read more in this blog.

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 Inauguration of Madaba’s Eco-Village

In collaboration with the Municipality of Madaba and the Jordan Society for Sustainable Development (JSSD), a sister company of Friends of the Earth Middle East, the 27th September 2014 marked the inauguration of Madaba’s Eco-Village. The event included multiple activities such as planting trees in the Cooperation Forest, walking through the Eco-017Camp, and a mini football game.

The project aims at enhancing social and economic development in the local Mediterranean basin through cross-border cooperation between the regional networks of local authorities and civil society organizations. It supports, in particular, the regional development processes through the implementation of integrated local projects in local and regional territories in addition to encouraging eco-tourism. Click here for more photos of the eventRead more in our blog (in Arabic).

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UN Convention on International Watercourses – recently entered into force018

FoEME would like to inform our readers that the 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses recently entered into force, after many years of work. This is the only treaty governing shared freshwater resources that is of universal applicability. It provides a framework of principles and rules that may be applied and adjusted to suit the characteristics of particular international watercourses. It represents an important contribution to the strengthening of the rule of law in this increasingly critical field of international relations and to the protection and preservation of international watercourses. In an era of increasing water scarcity, it is to be hoped that the Convention’s influence will continue to grow.

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Representatives from Friends of the Earth Middle East “FoEME” attended a workshop titled “Jordan Valley Authority (JVA) Donor Coordination Meeting: Evolving Roles, Responsibilities and Needs in the Jordan Valley” that took place on Thursday, September 25th 2014.
The workshop organized by USAID/ Jordan “Institutional Support and Strengthening Program “ISSP” presented the results of the Jordan Valley Institutional Assessment (JVA IA) with key counterparts and stakeholders. The purpose of the JVA Donor coordination meeting attended by Ms. Barabara Rossmiller, ISSP COP, his Excellency Mr. Saed Abu Hamour Secretary General of JVA, Ambassador Lewis Lucke, USAID/ Jordan, Acting Deputy Mission Director was to present the new strategic priorities for the JVA to the donors to ensure that current and planned donor programs in the valley are consistent and supportive of the JVA’s strategic objectives.

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In his speech, Mr. Abu Hamour commended the collaboration between JVA and donor agencies especially USAID as the latter played an important role in enabling JVA to meet the rising challenges in the valley. He elaborated that climate change, scarcity of water, Syrian refugee influx, and rising population are factors that exacerbated the problem of providing sufficient potable and irrigation water.

Despite these challenges, his Excellency affirmed that the JVA is committed to raising irrigation efficiency and improving water management as it recently embarked in rehabilitating irrigation projects, in addition to providing new water resources to meet the increasing demands of the sector.  The JVA is also engaged in water harvesting projects in the highlands.

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His Excellency pointed out that the JVA is given the task of the integrated development of Wadi Arava to transfer into a region of sustainable development along the Jordan Valley, and to become a center of attraction for popular and economic services to residents of the region which will in turn contribute to the national economy.

He concluded his speech with listing a set of objectives for the valley including adjusting water tariffs to cover operational and maintenance cost, enabling Water Users Associations to become self-sufficient, working with farmers to transfer the tasks of water management. Finally, he affirmed that the JVA will continue to provide best services for irrigation and drinking water to raise the efficiency of water use and increase economic returns per cubic meter.

034In his turn, Mr. Lucke stated that the partnership between JVA and donor agency is very important since the commercial and agricultural activities strain Jordan Water system. Such strains prompt further cooperation to face the valleys rising challenges and to maximize the impact of donor funding in the valley.

Another vital component for the success of the JVA/donor partnership is the important role of the NGOs axis representing civil society. In this regard, FoEME has worked closely with JVA to solve the many of challenges facing the Jordan Valley including the creation of sewage network for the valley, rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River, and establishment of the Bakoura National park.  The collaboration also included conducting independent studies that provided much needed data to shed light on the most pressing needs of the valley. The NGO Master Plan for the Lower Jordan River Basin, for instance, was developed with full support from the JVA. It identified a set of feasible interventions that will restore the basin’s environmental and ecological values within realistic financial and economic frameworks.001

An overview of the challenges, solutions and priority interventions reached in the Regional Master plan will be presented in the International Conference on Sustainable Development in the Jordan Valley that will take place later this year in Jordan.  It will bring together high-level international and regional organizations, as well as government officials from Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority to discuss the environmental, social, legal, political, economic, financial and regional impacts on the basin’s sustainable development in a forward-looking atmosphere focusing on practicality and cutting-edge solutions – where the Lower Jordan River is focused on as a life stream of the region. The Master Plan will be used by FoEME and its partners as an advocacy tool towards decision makers and the international community for the implementation of the proposed interventions.  Click on the link for an overview presentation about the Regional NGO Master Plan project.

 http://foeme.org/uploads/RHDHV_Presentation_17_3_13.pdf

The interventions are expected to be adopted by the JVA and donor agencies for the rehabilitation of the Jordan River. Once implemented, they will restore the rivers eco-system; ensure equitable sharing of water resources, and free public accessibility for all nationalities which will reflect positively on the region’s economic development perspectives.

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

Posted by: friendsoftheearthmiddleeast | October 1, 2014

الاحتفال بيوم التعاون الاوروبي في مادبا

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نظمت   الجمعية الأردنية للتنمية المستدامة في 27 من أيلول و بالتعاون مع  بلدية مادبا وبالتعاون مع مشروع “الشبكات الإقليمية لبناء القدرات والتنمية المحلية: تجربة عبر الحدود لربط لبنان، الأردن، فرنسا، إيطاليا (T-Net)” الممول من الاتحاد الاوروبي من خلال برنامج التعاون عبر الحدود لحوض البحر الإبيض المتوسط احتفال بيوم التعاون الاوروبي في موقع القرية الحضارية التابع لبلدية مادبا حيث تم افتتاح النزل البيئية والتي تم تنفيذها من خلال المشروع وبالتعاون مع بلدية مادبا.

وقال المحامي مصطفى المعايعه رئيس بلدية مادبا الكبرى انه ونظرا لاهتمام الذي توليه البلدية الى البيئة  ياتي افتتاح (نزل مادبا البيئية) اليوم والذي يعتبر اضافه السياحه البيئية الى انواع السياحات الاخرى المتوفره في مادبا مثل السياحه الدينية والعلاجية والتراثية والاثرية. واضاف ان البلدية تسعى جاهدة لبناء شراكات حقيقية وجسور للتعاون وخاصة مع الاتحاد الاوروبي لتحقيق اهداف البلديه والارتقاء بمدينة مادبا.

وعن المشروع تحدث نائب رئيس الجمعية الاردنية للتنمية المستدامة المهندس منقذ مهيار عن أهمية المشروع لدعم السياحة البيئية و تنمية المجتمع المحلي. و بحسب مدير المشروع الدكتور بهاء عفانه من الجمعية ان مشروع الشبكات الإقليمية لبناء القدرات والتنمية المحلية: تجربة عبر الحدود لربط لبنان، الأردن، فرنسا، إيطاليا (T-Net) الممول من الاتحاد الاوروبي من خلال برنامج التعاون عبر الحدود لحوض البحر الإبيض المتوسط، يهدف إلى تعزيز التنمية الاجتماعية والاقتصادية المحلية في حوض البحر الأبيض المتوسط من خلال التعاون عبر الحدود بين الشبكات الإقليمية للسلطات المحلية ومنظمات المجتمع المدني من لبنان والأردن وإيطاليا وفرنسا. ويعزز المشروع بشكل خاص، عمليات التنمية الإقليمية من خلال تنفيذ المشاريع المحلية المتكاملة في مختلف الأراضي اللبنانية والأردنية.

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وللتعريف بطبيعة البرنامج قال منسق المكتب  الاقليمي لشرق البحر المتوسط  الدكتور عصمت الكرادشه  ان برنامج التعاون عبر الحدود لحوض البحر الإبيض المتوسط 2007-2013 (CBC MED) برنامج متعدد الأطراف ممول بشكل مشترك من قبل الإتحاد الإوروبي ضمن إطار آلية الجوار والشراكة الإوروبية ((ENPI حيث يوفر البرنامج إطار عمل لتنفيذ أنشطة للتعاون عبر الحدود ضمن سياسة الجوار الإوروبية. واضاف الدكتور الكرادشه، ان برنامج التعاون عبر الحدود لحوض البحر الابيض المتوسط هو تتمة للجهود التي تم بذلها ضمن إطار عمل الشراكة الاورو- متوسطية بهدف تطوير منطقة سلام واستقرار وازدهار وجوار بين دول الاتحاد الاوروبي الاوسطية ودول البحر المتوسط الشريكة التي تم  إدراجها ضمن الخطة الاستراتيجية برامج التعاون عبر الحدود. وفي هذا الاطار، يساهم هذا البرنامج في ترويج عملية التعاون المستدامة والمنسجمة على مستوى حوض البحر المتوسط عن طريق مواجهة التحديات المشتركة وتعزيز الإمكانات الداخلية.

وبموجب الإتفاقية الموقعة بين الحكومة الإردنية ممثلة بوزارة التخطيط والتعاون الدولي والإتحاد الإوروبي ممثلة بإدارة البرنامج فقد تم إستحداث المكتب الإقليمي للبرنامج لمنطقة شرق المتوسط في العقبة حيث تستضيفه سلطة منطقة العقبة الإقتصادية الخاصة ليتم متابعة جميع أنشطة البرنامج في الدول التالية: الإردن، مصر، قبرص، لبنان، سوريا، السلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية، اسرائيل  واليونان.

104يقوم البرنامج حاليا بتمويل 95 مشروعا يتم تنفيذها من قبل مؤسسات الدول المشاركة بالبرناج بكلفه اجماليه تصل ال 200 مليون يورو، تستفيد الاردن ما قيمته 15.5 مليون يورو من خلال 47 مشروع تنفذ في قبل المؤسسات الاردنيه. تغطي هذه المشاريع مواضيع عديدة منها الطاقة المتجددة، المياه، الزراعة والتنوع الحيوي، حماية البيئة البحرية، السياحة والاثار، التنقل والجمارك، تلوث الهواء والحوكمة.

وعن هذا الاحتفال بيوم التعاون الاروربي بين الدكتور عصمت الكرادشه انه يتم تنظيم ورشات عمل للاحتفال (بيوم التعاون الأوروبي لعام 2014) خلال شهر أيلول 2014 في جميع أنحاء أوروبا والبلدان المجاورة بهدف بيان اهمية التعاون والدعم الذي يقدمه الاتحاد الاوروبي في المساعدة على تبادل الأفكار والخبرات وإيجاد الحلول للمشاكل المشتركة. من المتوقع تنظيم أكثر من 200 ورشه وحدث من قبل برامج التعاون الإقليمية الأوروبية في 40 بلدا.

روان حداد: منسقة مشروع تي نت في الأردن

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…

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