Successful Youth Camps Held in the Jordan Valley and at the Dead Sea

April heralded the completion of not one but two successful Good Water Neighbor’s (GWN) regional youth camps in the Jordan Valley Basin.

JV youth

After the success of last year’s “Streaming to the Jordan”, a community-wide environmental event held on the banks of the Jordan River, it was decided to couple this year’s event with a regional youth camp. This match was notable on two levels. First, that both Israeli and Jordanian Youth Water Trustees were exposed to the colorful spectrum of their cross border community, in an environment prime with awareness, education and fun. And secondly, it was an opportunity for residents of the Jordan Valley to see and talk with their neighbors; a too-rare occasion. For the youth camp, this was not only the main event: the days prior to the event were also filled with action, with the opening of a new walking path in Naharayim, and a memorable trip to Haifa. A sense of empowerment and cooperation filled the days with enjoyment.

 

Dead Sea campAdditionally, the Dead Sea youth camp was exciting and inspiring, when Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian Youth Water Trustees met each other and learned of the many things they have in common. Together they hiked to a well and spring and felt the importance of water in the desert. In the evening, the discussion around the bonfire was emotional with everyone speaking of the importance for saving the Dead Sea, learning about each other’s communities and how the demise of the sea influences many of their lives. At the end of the camp, participants expressed themselves through a magnificent drawing of a man with the Dead Sea representing his heart. The collaborative drawing done by the youth emphasized the need for joint cooperation in order to save the sea and reflects the dedication and hope towards finding an environmental solution.

 

Battir National Teachers’ SeminarTeachers seminar Battir

On Saturday, April 23, 40 teachers from the Ministry of Education offices in Salfit and Tulkarem met for a national teachers’ seminar to introduce the group to the Good Water Neighbors Resource Guide. The event was held in Battir for environmental educators and included a tour to the Battir Landscape Eco-Museum as a part of introducing the teachers to the cultural and environmental heritage of the area.

 

JV Branding forumWatershed Identity Branding Forums

This past month, representatives from communities in the Dead Sea, Yarkon and Jordan Valley watersheds met to discuss ‘branding & identity’ campaigns for each of their watersheds. Many came from the tourism field as well as local municipalities. These forums aim to develop a vision and brand for what a shared watershed will look like. These are early stages in a series of meetings, with the goal of presenting the plans at a regional conference in November.

Additionally on April 8-9, Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian youth alumni met at the Dead Sea Branding forumSharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark. Their meeting also focused on branding and identity, following the above-described GWN forums. The five creative groups brainstormed and came up with a variety of contributions and ideas on identity and branding. Community coordinators will now be inviting the alumni to participate in upcoming national forum meetings and encourage them to take an active role in their communities.

Model FarmBreaking Ground on the Model Farm Irrigation Pool

Work continues at the Model Farm in South Ghor, Jordan. A joint team of Israelis and Jordanians completed the construction of an irrigation pool that can be monitored remotely by computer. Next steps include preparing the land for the upcoming crop season. Once fully operational, the Model Farm will hold cross-border agriculture training programs and conduct research on relevant agriculture techniques such as crop selection, irrigation, fertilization and plant protection.

 

 

EcoPeace Middle East Celebrates Earth Day!!!

 

Luncheon Briefing on New Models of Cooperation:  Promoting Sustainability and Conflict Resolution in the Middle East RegionYana

Yana Abu Taleb, Assistant Director of the EcoPeace Middle East Amman office, participated in an event on April 19th in honor of Earth Day which discussed peace parks as a vehicle to promoting conflict resolution between neighboring countries. Yana discussed the development of the Jordan River Peace Park which combines two adjacent areas in Jordan and Israel; Al Bakoora / Naharayim and the Jeser Al Majama / Gesher site. The event was hosted by the Embassy of Switzerland.

 

Auja_kids_planting_2Auja EcoCenter Holds a Variety of Activities in Honor of Earth Day

This year the Auja EcoCenter led a number of activities related to Earth Day including local Youth Water Trustees helping to plant trees in Ka’abneh Village in the Jordan Valley. Additionally, 30 young seedlings from the Seed of Hope Kindergarten visited Auja EcoCenter to learn about the importance of the environment, water and recycling; and students from Al-Quds University also received a presentation for Earth Day and took part in a tour of the Auja Village.

 

Earth Day in Haifa

Youth Water Trustees and Alumni participated in an Earth Day event in Haifa on April 25th Haifa Earth Dayto raise awareness about pollution to the upper Kishon River Basin. The event included activities that demonstrated to local residents the importance of the water cycle and joint efforts needed to keep it clean. Participants of the event also created water cycle bracelets outs of beads as daily reminders of water’s importance. Each color represented integral steps in the process: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, ground water and run off as well as human use, pollution and recycling to introduce the human effect on the water cycle.

EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

 


 

JR faith tour Jordan River faith-based Tour

This month, at the request of the Pastor of the Augusta Victoria Church in Jerusalem, EcoPeace staff led a site tour to the Jordan River to show church staff and volunteers the challenges facing the River.  In the context of our faith based program, the importance of discussing the demise of the River and bringing the reality of the Jordan River to the forefront of community discussion cannot be overstated.  Participants signed our Jordan River Covenant to express their support for rehabilitation efforts.

 

 

Sign Erected for the Future Jordan River Peace ParkJR Peace Park sign

The northern entrance to the future Jordan River Peace Park is now graced by a sign, in three languages, explaining the significance of the site. This cross-border environmental initiative represents a symbol for peace in the region, as it highlights the economic potential of the river’s rehabilitation. The park will support projects on ecotourism and cultural heritage, along with programs on environmental education and environmental management.

 

dead sea bookDead Sea and the Jordan River

A new and updated edition of the book “The Dead Sea and the Jordan River” was recently released by the well-known author and long-time friend of EcoPeace, Barbara Kreiger.

Gidon Bromberg, on the jacket cover of the book writes “The Jordan River and its terminal lake, the Dead Sea, have been on center stage of Middle East mythology, history and politics for millennia. Barbara Kreiger’s story of the modern day demise of these waters and the urgent need for their rehabilitation is a must-read for anyone that wants to understand the relevance of water issues to the continuing turmoil in the region.”

[Don’t forget to use Amazon Smile when purchase the book!]

 

EcoPeace’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project, including faith-based activities, are supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and the Osprey Foundation.

 


 

London Salon Discussion and DinnerLondon dinner

On April 14, at the invitation of Kate Rothschild, EcoPeace’s Israeli Director, Gidon Bromberg, and Jordanian Director, Munqeth Mehyar, led a salon discussion on water and Middle East peace with special attention to the Gaza water crises, over dinner prepared by Ottolenghi at the home of Jemima Khan.  The 30 guests were composed of UK leaders in the world of environment, Middle East politics, government, academia and more.

 

 

Event at Wembley Central Mosque

Wembley MosqueEcoPeace Jordan Director, Munqeth Mehyar, spoke at the Wembley Central Mosque near London on April 17th following his attendance at the Skoll World Forum & Conference on Social Entrepreneurship, and a week of meetings with government officials and colleagues.  Mr. Mehyar spoke about cooperative environmental activities and the role water issues can play to advance peace in the Middle East. The event was co-sponsored by the Wembley Central Mosque, EcoPeace and the Mosaic Jewish Community.

 


 

 

From Our Friends at Neve Shalom – Waha al-Salam Village

This fall, in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts-Boston, the Jewish-Arab community of Neve Shalom-Waha al-Salam will be hosting a Master’s Program in Conflict Resolution.  The program will be taught by UMass-Boston faculty in collaboration with Israeli and Palestinian experts.  To find out more, go to this page to fill out a contact form.

 


 

 

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Cross-border Youth Camp in Jordan

Jordanian and Israeli Students met at the Sharhabil bin HassnehSHE Youth Camp EcoPark in Jordan from March 17-19 for a cross-border youth camp. The camp highlighted better management of domestic solid waste issues.  The students also learned about their shared water resources and challenges. Alumni participated by presenting solid waste issues in their communities. All the participants went on a hike through the EcoPark to take in the breathtaking springtime views and learn more about the three R’s; Recycling, Reuse, and Reduce.

 

 

Good Water Neighbors – Clean Water Awareness Activities in Emek Hefer and Baka Al Gharbia

15 Good Water Neighbor water trustee’s and alumni from Baka Al Gharbia participated in a Baka Clean Up Daylocal cleanup day on March 2nd to help promote more awareness of the need to keep streams clean for the benefit of all. Participants spent a long daEmek Hefer Marchy picking up trash so that local visitors could continue to enjoy outdoor activities.

 

Additionally, six youth water trustee’s represented EcoPeace on March 11th in the Emek Hefer Regional Council’s Annual March. The event included a winding hike through citrus groves with different “stations” along the way. Our Water Trustee’s station taught numerous school children and residents about their local cross border stream and the joint efforts needed to keep it pollution free and clean.

 

 

Girls from East and West Jerusalem Explore the Jerusalem Hills

On March 20th, 10 Israeli and 10 Palestinian teenage girls met as part of the Good Water Neighbors project to explore the blossoming Jerusalem Hills. The group spent the day outside expEast & West Jer. Girlsloring their common cultural landscape, where nature and culture are intertwined in the mountain springs, which were the only constant source of water for the region until the early 20th century. The girls spent the day hiking among the Sataf pools, water canals and cultivated terraces while trying to imagine what it was like to live there in the past.

 

During a picnic lunch, one of the girls told stories of her past EcoPeace related trip to Japan. At the end of the day, everyone attended a soap-making workshop at Es-Sense; a local educational-productive enterprise where students from the regional high schools create products working alongside special needs’ youth from all over Jerusalem.

 

 

 

National Teacher Seminars

EcoPeace has held numerous teacher seminars over tTeacher Seminarhe past three months in Shefar’am, Taibeh and Beer Sheva to introduce teachers to the GWN Resource Guide for Environmental Educators. They learned about the geography of cross-border water basins as well as creative projects they could use to connect their own students to regional water issues.

Some of the seminars even included a tour to a basin, which highlighted environmental issues affecting local water resources and showed the educators the importance of cross-border cooperation in solving environmental problems.

 

 

Mountain Springs in Culture and Planning Event

Zeze GalleryOn March 9th, EcoPeace Coordinator, Gilat Bartana was invited to speak on a panel about mountain springs and their place in culture and planning.

The evening was held at the ZEZE Architecture Gallery in Tel Aviv and also featured two landscape architects. For more information visit the gallery’s Facebook page (in Hebrew).

 

 

 

GWN Begins Brand Strategizing

Last week, a team of stakeholders including members from the tourism industry, heads of local museums and tourist sites, hydrologists and representatives from relevant GWN Brandingmunicipalities, met in Old Gesher in the first of a series of meetings to discuss a joint branding campaign for the Jordan Valley.

The group is aiming to develop a vision and a brand for what a shared Jordanian-Israeli watershed could look like. The branding campaign will be extended to all our cross-border watersheds over the coming months and will culminate in a regional showcase conference this November.

 

Model Farm Project Signs Memorandum of Understanding

On March 8th, the newly elected Mayor of South Ghor, Jordan and his delegation, which included agriculture sector representatives, visited the Tamar Regional Council and Arava R&D Center in Israel. The visit involved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for EcoPeace’s Model FaModel Farmrm project and included the Israeli Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation, of whose Ministry is helping fund the project.  Read more in the Jerusalem Post article and in this NRG article (in Hebrew).

The group also participated in a conference panel related to Regional Councils and had a tour at the location for a potential new border crossing between Israel and Jordan. The overall goal of the Model Farm project is to exchange knowledge and technology related to agriculture and water conservation, thus enabling Jordanians and Israelis to cope with shared cross border environmental challenges.

 

UN World Water Day

WWD PhotoIn working to promote the UN’s World Water Day, EcoPeace’s Israel Director wrote an Op-ed for the Times of Israel which discusses Israel being able to take a regional lead in the water sector due to its surplus – but only once water issues with the Palestinians are settled.

 

 

Busy Month at the Auja EcoPark Auja clean up day

March was a busy month for the Auja EcoPark. On March

Auja water jobs seminar

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15th, the EcoPark hosted a large group for a riverbed clean up.

For World Water Day, the EcoPark hosted an event on the 24th to celebrate, titled “Water and Jobs” in conjunction with the Palestinian Water Authority.

 

Sustainable Soil Erosion Prevention Project Begins

On March 26th, the Auja Eco-Center began planting approximately 100 trees in Al Auja Valley. This is the first action within JV Soil Erosion Projecta small-scale pilot project to sustainably prevent soil erosion along the Al Auja Conveyance Canal.

 

“We seek to establish rain water retaining structures in a strip of fragile land around a canal, supplemented by planting locally adapted trees”, the application says. Professional planning is perceived as the basis to create a blueprint for long-term soil erosion prevention in Area C.

 

EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

 


 

Jordan River Tour

EcoPeace’s Jordan River Faith Based project – that aims to create a wider circle of JR Faith Based Tourstakeholders to support the rehabilitation of the River Jordan – continues to reach out to faith groups from all over the world.  This month, a group from a U.S synagogue visiting the region learned about ‘what went wrong’ with the River, ‘why it’s important’ to rehabilitate it, and were asked to sign onto EcoPeace’s “Jordan River Covenant“, a visionary document  which both highlights the degradation of the valley, and expresses our vision of a healthy, living River.

 

Jordan River Photo Exhibit in Auja

Following the 9 European cities that have showcased our JJR Photo Exhibitordan River Photography Exhibition, the photos have now returned ‘home’ and will be exhibited in several locations in the region.  The first is in our own Auja EcoCenter, with an opening ceremony held on March 8th that attracted more than 150 people, including the Governor of Jericho, representatives from the Palestinian President’s Office, the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Tourism, the Negotiations Committee, and more. The ‘fuss’ generated several interviews on Palestinian radio and TV – precisely the exposure we are seeking with this exhibit!

 

Jordan River Workshop in EU Parliament

EcoPeace was pleased to be invited by the S&D Group of the European Parliament to speak  Directors in Brusselsat a public seminar entitled “Water, Environment Protection and Trust Building in the Middle East“, where we gave an overview of the work we have been doing for the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River.  Read here the very encouraging words by Vice President for Foreign Affairs Victor Boştinaru, and S&D MEP Julie Ward following the seminar.

 

 

EcoPeace’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project, including faith-based activities, are supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and the Osprey Foundation.

 

 


Check out our Colleague at ALLMEP

 ALLMEP logo

Joel Braunold, Executive Director of the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP), recently gave a Ted Talk about people to people relations and the need to increase the capacity of those organizations promoting this type of work.

 

ALLMEP is a network of organizations that conduct civil society work in conflict transformation, development, coexistence and cooperative activities.  EcoPeace is a proud member of this valuable network.

 

 


 


 

To Our Friends in the London Area:

 

 

 London

 

 


 

EcoPeace is Hiring!

We are excited to announce we are hiring for a North American Development and Policy Officer to be based in the Northeast U.S. The applications deadline has been extended to April 10th. Please visit our job vacancy page for additional openings as well.


 

 

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Regional Youth Camp in Jordan

On February 5th and 6th, the Good Water Neighbors (GWN) project organized a regional youth campYouth Camp at the Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan. The participants consisted of alumni and youth from the Jordan Valley, Irbid, Kishon and Muqata watersheds. They learned about the importance of cross-border cooperation and environmental peacebuilding while hiking and enjoying the beauty of the area at this time of year. As one camper put it “The camp gave an added value to studying in class because it connected us to water and ecology, finding out about ourselves and others that broke stereotypes and prejudice, because it is the first time we are with different people from us.”

 

Cross Border Meeting of Gilboa Council and Jalameh

As part of our GWN Priority Initiative Project, representatives from the Gilboa Regional Council (Israel) met with the Mayor of Jalameh WWTP tour Kishon(Palestine) on February 3rd to discuss and promote cooperation on water and sewage capabilities. The participants visited the new wastewater treatment facility treating effluents from around the Gilboa region in Israel. This marks another step in finding solutions to sewage issues and rehabilitation efforts of the Kishon River.

 

Springs Preservation Course

On February 12th, EcoPeace and the Mate Yehuda Regional Council took part in a course on sprinSpringsg’s preservation in the hills outside of Jerusalem. 25 participants toured 3 springs in the area; they heard explanations about the life and ecology of the springs; saw how water monitoring is carried out; learned about the canals and pools system surrounding the springs, and more. The intensive work preserving the springs is inspiring, and shows how communities can come together to preserve their natural heritage.

 

EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

 

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European Parliament Members Get a Glimpse of the Jordan River

Members of a European Parliament Delegation for Relations with PalesEU Delegation-1tine took part in a Jordan River tour that included the Qasr El Yehud Baptism Site and our Auja EcoCenter in Auja, Palestine on February 11th. The tour was led by our Palestinian and Israeli Directors and included information about specific projects that can be advanced from our Regional NGO Master Plan.

 

 

Auja Stream Tour

A group of EuroAuja Stream Tourpeans and North Americans gathered for an alternative tourist experience close to our Auja EcoCenter on February 14th. They spent time learning about, and better understanding, the challenges of cross-border streams. The group hiked through the Jordan Valley along the Auja stream, had a tasty picnic lunch prepared by our EcoCenter staff, discussed the water challenges in the area and EcoPeace’s efforts to improve the situation.

 

 

Continuing our “Going Global” Efforts Greece Map

EcoPeace was invited to share our environmental peacemaking experiences in yet another area of the world, the Vardar/Axios River Basin that flows between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The conference discussed sustainable water and river basin resource management in Thessaloniki, Greece on February 16th and 17th. For more information on the River Basin, you can visit this website.

 

EcoPeace’s 1st Regional Tour Guide Training on the Jordan River

Another angle to further disseminate the story and the need to rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River: EcoTour Guide TrainingPeace organized a 3-day study tour in Jordan for Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian Tour Guides (who focus on religious tourism), visiting sacred sites that exemplify the importance of the River for Christians, Jews and Muslims, so that they can include it in their tour narratives. The training also included feedback on a soon-to-be-released publication, “Come Together at the River – A Tour Guide’s Guide to the Sacred Sites of the Jordan River“. Stay tuned!

 

 

Touring the North

Earlier this month, Mira Edelstein, EcoPeace’s Jordan River Project Coordinator iEvangelical Tourn Tel Aviv, spoke to a group of Evangelical leaders from the U.S.A. at the Yardenit Baptism site on the Jordan River. The discussion centered on the responsibility we all have – Israelis, Jordanians, Palestinians – Jews, Christians, Muslims – to work together towards the rehabilitation of the Jordan River, for the benefit of us all.

 

 

Are you in Brussels on March 3rd? Come join us!

EcoPeace is pleased to be invited by the S&D group in the European Parliament to speak at Brussels Eventa Seminar entitled “Water, Environment Protection and Trust Building in the Middle East”, where we will give an overview of the work we have been doing for the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River.

 

 

EcoPeace’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project, including faith-based activities, are supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and the Osprey Foundation.

 

 

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Dead Sea SwimDead Sea Swim

EcoPeace’s Jordanian Director dived into the salty water of the Dead Sea at the beginning of the month to practice for his swim across the Dead Sea this November. The only way to participate in such a feat requires him to wear a special mask protecting his face from the salt content of the water. This picture shows the Director in the water heading towards the main group to continue swimming as one united cross border team. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the Spring and Summer as the event nears!

 

Presentation at the American International School

The Israeli Director presented EcoPeace’s cross border philosophy to a group of young Int. American School Presentationleaders participating in the Model United Nations conference at the American International School in Israel. The Committee Chair thought the presentation was “thought-provoking and impressive…and added that extra dimension of real world expertise to their experience of the issues conserving the environment.”

 

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Jordan River Peace Park goes 3-D:

One of EcoJR Peace ParkPeace’s greatest visions is the creation of a transbounday Peace Park on the Jordan River, to expand what is today the “Peace Island”, and to include the surrounding areas in Israel and Jordan. On the site was once a hydroelectric power plant that back in the 1930’s and 1940’s, supplied electricity to Northern Jordan and Mandate Palestine. EcoPeace has identified outstanding potential here for the development of ecotourism that would provide much-needed jobs in the area, as well as opportunitiJR Peace Park Swisses for biodiversity protection, cooperative management, joint research programs, education and collaboration on nature-based tourism.

This month, a group of Swiss professors came to the region to do hi-tech 3-D scans of the site ahead of a student Design Studio scheduled for next year. Another step forward for the proposed Peace Park!

Women of Faith visit the Lower Jordan River

This mLJR Tour photo 1onth, EcoPeace staff gave a presentation and then a tour of the Lower Jordan River for a group of Jewish, Muslim and Christian women involved in the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development Women’s Faith & Ecology program. The importance of the rehabilitation of the River Jordan was presented in a multi-faith perspective as part of EcoPeace’s efforts to advance the creation of larger stakeLJR Tour photo 2holder circles supporting the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River.

Sites visited on the tour included the Kaser el Yehud Baptism site, the Dir Hijla Monastery, and the (Northern tip) of the Dead Sea, also greatly affected by the demise of the River. Participants eagerly endorsed the Jordan River Covenant, a visionary document which both highlights the degradation of the valley and expresses our vision of a healthy, living river. Read more about our faith-based advocacy campaign here.

Kinneret Conference

EcoPeace’sKinneret Israeli Director and Jordanian Yana and Youval RabinAssistant Director presented at the 8th International Conference on Tourism organized by Kinneret Academic College. After an overall introduction with examples from around the world about tourism and peace, they discussed how the implementation of EcoPeace’s Regional NGO Master Plan will open up the region, attract tourism, bring more prosperity and abundance to the Jordan River Valley and advance peace.

World Bank Visits Jordan Valley

EcoPeace, Jordan Valley Regional Council members, and representatives of the Kinneret and Lower Jordan River Drainage Authorities gave World Bank representatives a tour of World Bank Tourthe Israeli side of the Jordan Valley on January 15th to better understand and visualize projects proposed in our Jordan Valley Regional NGO Master Plan. These types of tours help give international stakeholders a better understanding of the plight of the Jordan River but also the concrete positive change that has taken place in the past decade!

EcoPeace’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project, including faith-based activities, are supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and the Osprey Foundation.

 

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EcoPark Updates

SHE EcoPark wetland full of water

When it rains, it pours! And our Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan benefits from the rain in a big way! The wetland at the site is now full with water, and will supply much

SHE Wetland

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needed water to the flora and fauna returning to the area!

Womens cooking workshop in Auja EcoCenter

On January 13th, a group from the Chicago Theological Seminary visited the Auja EcoCenter. A presentation was given to participants about the political and ecological situatAuja workshopion in the Jordan Valley as well as the benefits of implementing our vision of the Regional NGO Master Plan. Additionally, the group took part in a cooking workshop that taught them how to make two tasty Palestinian dishes: maqloube, and khubeza, as well as mixed grill vegetables.

 

Mud Workshop in our Ein Gedi EcoCenter!

Ein Gedi workshopThe Festival of mud took place at the beginning of January at the Ein Gedi EcoCenter and was very successful! Participants from all over the country had a fun mud ecological experience. Together adults and children built and decorated the walls with mud, prepared pizzas in a tabun (outdoor oven), visited the small zoo on the site, and enjoyed the unique aspects of the EcoCenter. We are already looking forward to the next event!

 

EcoPeace Contribution to UNECE PublicationUNECE

EcoPeace is proud to announce it was a recent contributor to the UNECE Water Convention’s Policy Guidance Note on the Benefits of Transboundary Water Cooperation: Identification, Assessment and Communication, which was recently adopted during the seventh session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention. The document represents a unique tool for supporting transboundary water cooperation’s worldwide and includes approximately 30 case studies. It aims to support Governments and other actors in fully realizing the potential benefits of transboundary water cooperation, emphasizing opportunities and benefits of a close collaboration.

“Good Water Neighbors(GWN) Cross Border Youth Camp

A GWN cross borYouth Camp (2)der youth camp was held at the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan from January 14th to 16th with 32 Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli participants. The camp began with introductory “ice breaking” games to get the youth acquainted with each other. On the second day, the group had fun hiking the hills above the Ziglab Dam and held an outdoor barbeque lunch.Youth Camp (1)

The camp was a great experience for all, demonstrating that even in these difficult times we are able to bring youth together to better understand the water reality of each side and become strong advocates for a more just and sustainable water future.

EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

 

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EcoPeace “Water and Energy Nexus” (WEN) Project Featured in the Economist

EcoPeaceEconomist’s Water/Energy Nexus project (WEN) was featured in the Economist this past month, welcoming the initiative that introduces more efficient means to provide energy for desalination of water and promote cooperation in the region. The project is still in its early stages of research and development and is looking at how Israel, Jordan and Palestine can use water and energy to build a win-win relationship. We welcome this article and the gaining popularity of our study.

The Water & Energy Nexus project is supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

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“WEN” National Conferences in Amman and Tel Aviv

EcoPeace’s Amman and Tel Aviv offices held their national conferenceWEN Ammans for the Water/Energy Nexus project (WEN) on December 2nd and 3rd respectively in cooperation with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. Both events brought together experts, stakeholders, scholars, environmental activists and government officials to discuss the national report of the project. The AmmanWEN Israel conference was divided into four sessions, which included presentations by the CEO’s of Kawar Energy and Philadelphia Solar who spoke about their successes and challenges in relation to renewable energy. The Tel Aviv conference included panel experts such as the USAID West Bank/Gaza Mission Director, Dave Harden, Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation, MK Ayoob Kara, World Bank representatives, and leading academics and political figures.

Read more in these Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz articles on the project’s press coverage page

The Water & Energy Nexus project is supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.


 

 

Good Water Neighbors at YOCOPAS Conference

On December 10 and 11, Palestinian and Israeli Alumni and Youth “Water YOCOPASTrustees” participated in the first Regional Youth Conference for Peace and Sustainability (YOCOPAS) hosted by the Eastern Mediterranean International School at HaKfar HaYarok. The youth also took part in a role-play simulation that used aspects of the EcoPeace Environmental Education Resource Guide to experiment with power relations among stakeholders in different watersheds.

The simulation broke the participants up into groups, to act as one of the three stakeholders: Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians. They were asked to pretend that they were at an international water summit, representing their stakeholder, and to come up with a solution for the shrinking Dead Sea. Throughout the simulation the participants learned about the environment of the Dead Sea, the hot desert climate with very little rainfall. Due to the decreasing water level, open and developing sinkholes are becoming increasingly problematic. Industrial exploitation and the deteriorating environment are impacting all of the local communities. With this information in mind, the participants had to negotiate some sort of consensus based on joint interest and mutual benefit for all the involved parties.

One of the facilitators of the workshop from EMIS and an EcoPeace Water Trustee, Maksim Lezginov, said this about his experience running the simulation:

”This workshop has provided me with a lifetime experience of facilitating a workshop in which people from 3 opposing sides participated and came up with a very surprising and well-built solutions to a complicated problem, showing that a peace can exist but only through joint cooperation.”

Yerous Getoo, another EcoPeace Water Trustee from EMIS, had a similar to view Maksim, saying:

“I was surprised to discover that we all had the same aim eventually and most people agreed with each other. I really enjoyed taking part in the workshop and participating in it, and above all watching others being exposed to the subject for the first time and considering it seriously.”

This is workshop was a great accomplishment for both the EMIS students and the EcoPeace youth. They were able to convey an important message that joint cooperation is one of the pathways towards peace.

 

Water Trustees Experience Transboundary Water

The local Community Coordinator of the Kishon Watershed took a group of 10th grade Water Trustees on a Neighbors Path tour to better understand transboundary water basins aWater Trusteesnd the relationship between humans and the environment. The visit also demonstrated the cultural heritage of the region where stories from the Bible take place in this special landscape. The group started at an impressive overlook near the entrance to Moshav Barak and continued on to Ramon, where the Kishon stream crosses the Green Line, coming from Jenin. Later they held an improvisation play about the history of the place and continued on to Kishon Park to learn about the rehabilitation of the polluted stream and steps being taken to remove heavy metals from the water.

 Workshop Tour to the Judean Hills Springs

The first of a series of on-site workshop tours to the Judean Hills Mountain Springs was held on December 25th. The workshop series is an outcome of the Mountain Springs Masterplan initiated by EcoPeace. Springs SoreqCooperation with the Soreq Environmental Unit and Nature & Parks authority brought about this exciting program in which local activists meet with a wide range of professionals to gain knowledge and awareness of conservation and development around the local springs and terraces.

 

Fifteen residents from around Mate Yehuda as well as hydro-therapists from Tel Aviv participated. They were introduced to a variety of issues and opinions that mark the mountain springs as “hotspots” in our environment and culture. The next meeting will be held in February focusing on the local habitat, ecosystem and archeology.  If you are interested in joining please contact us at info@foeme.org

 

 

Full Moon Xmas Hike with Auja EcoCenter

On December 25th, a group of 15 people from France, U.S., Belgium, Germany, and Palestine participated in Auja EcoCenter’s Full Moon Hike to see and experience the local environment and wild life at night. The hike started from Auja on Highway 90, winding between the area’s farmsFull Moon and agricultural fields. The hike is done without the use of artificial light and requires participants to use all of their senses, including sight, and hearing and touch under the light of just the moon. The hike ended with an authentic Bedouin dinner where food is cooked in an underground pit (Zarb). Future hikes are planned for the late winter and early spring.

 

 

 

Come join us in a Mud Workshop in our Ein Gedi EcoCenter!

 

Ein Gedi Workshop

Come join us! 2 days of a fun mud ecological experience in our Ein Gedi EcoCenter!

We invite you to a natural fun building activity with mud.

Let’s connect with nature, Mother Earth and nice people.

No special knowledge required. Only motivation, a good mood and work clothes!

Pizza from an earthen oven will be sold on premises!

 Friday and Saturday, January 8 and 9 between hours of 10:00 – 14:00.

If interested or for further details contact info@foeme.org

EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

 

 

 


 

EcoPeace at Two Conferences in Turkey

EcoPeace staff presented our organization’s work at two conferences in Antalya, Turkey this month. The Arab Peace Initiative organized a conference on December 17th to highlight the positive contribution religion can bring to societies to foster understanding and peace. Theanwar in turkey conference was organized in the framework of the EU’s Partnership for Peace Program. A number of religious leaders and political figures from Palestine, Jordan and Israel presented and attended. The second conference, the Arab Peace Initiative: Towards the State of Palestine on the Ground discussed the Arab Peace Initiative in light of the decisions of the 2015 Arab Summit in Cairo.

 

EcoPeace Directors visited the US

EcoPeace’s Israel Director, Gidon Bromberg, Palestine Director, Nader Visit to USKhateeb, and Jordan Assistant Director, Yana Abu Taleb visited the US in the early part of December. Key meetings included a briefing on Gaza in the House of Representatives and presentation of our Water Energy Nexus project to the World Bank. We would also like to congratulate Congress for releasing funds to USAID West Bank/Gaza as these are urgently needed to solve Gaza’s water and sanitation issues.

 

 

 

From all of us at EcoPeace Middle East

Happy New Year!!!

2016

 

Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | December 17, 2015

Youth Conference on Peace and Sustainability

Two of our interns are sharing their experiences during the youth conference on peace & sustainability on the 10th and 11th of December.


 

Imran:

I visited the EcoPeace office in Tel Aviv with another friend, Ahmad, from GWN and we broke the tension barrier!!!

We met awesome and nice people; they gave us such greImran (1)at hospitality. Then we went to HaKfar HaYarok (The Green Village) north of Tel Aviv to participate in a conference on peace and sustainability at The Eastern Mediterranean International School.

We met beautiful people from all over the world, attended and participated in very valuable seminars and workshops which gave us more knowledge, and participated in a simulation about conflict resolution; relating it to the current situation and discussing how to deal with it in a positive way.

Finally, I would say that even in this current situation, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!


Darya:

The Eastern Mediterranean International School (EMIS) is a place that truly fosters the spirit and passion that are inherent in this special group of young people. EDarya Photo-1MIS is an International Baccalaureate school at HaKfar HaYarok (The Green Village) north of Tel Aviv that focuses on peace and sustainability along with cultivating innovation in a challenging academic environment.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend an afternoon visiting with some of these inspirational young people from all over the world on the day of the opening ceremonies for their inaugural Youth Conference on Peace and Sustainability (YOCOPAS). The school was buzzing with excitement and preparation for all the myriad important visitors who would be arriving to discuss youth leadership, dialogue facilitation, conflict resolution, environmental sustainability and much more. A couple of girls who didn’t have pressing commitments in the hours leading up to the opening ceremony gave us a tour of their campus and the surrounding Kfar, of which the students are also able to take advantage. There is a newly built music center, with an entire building dedicated exclusively to classical music. They have horse stables and a riding area, a petting zoo and a dairy farm. Many of the EMIS students spend time with the animals. We were told that if you help in the stables you get free riding lessons. The girls also mentioned that most of the student body became vegan last year because of their close proximity to the cows.Imran (2)

The YOCOPAS events started in the early evening with the opening ceremony. There were remarks by the head of the school, Oded Rose, and a few other important stakeholders in the school. The students also announced the awards for their international writing competition in which they had at least 50 submissions from a variety of countries. The main event of the evening was the keynote speech by Prof. Jay Rothman of Bar-Ilan University. He’s an expert in Conflict Resolution and spoke about his path towards having a PhD in the field. It was an engaging speech, with audience participation and captivating stories. My favorite part was when he gave us the task to find one word about why we were at the conference. Then he had a few people provide their word which he wrote on a whiteboard. Only at the end of his speech he explained why he wanted to hear some words from the audience. He connected all of the words into an inspirational sentence: “Our journey into perspective taking will foster understanding in order to assure our future and provide opportunity for hope.”Imran (3)

As I was leaving the filling and spirited dinner I thought about how I didn’t want to leave. The school, partners and students were all so inspirational. I wish that I could have gone to a school like EMIS. But after spending a number of hours with the students and staff at their beautiful campus I know that each and every one of them will take full advantage of all the incredible opportunities that surround them and going forward they will be leaders in peace and sustainability. It gave me hope for the future to see so many people dedicated to the mission of EMIS and I will be watching to see where the graduates end up.

 

EcoPeace at the European Parliament

Brussels Conference 3

EcoPeace’s 3 Directors from Bethlehem, Amman and Tel Aviv were invited to the European Parliament in Brussels, where they presented our Water and Energy Nexus project. The initiative seeks to utilize the strengths of each country and create a mutually beneficial exchange of energy from solar fields in Jordan and desalinated water from Israel and Palestine.

 

EcoPeace at the Israel Energy & Business Convention

EcoPeace’s Israeli Director, Gidon Bromberg, participated in the Israel Energy & Business Convention on November 23-24, leading a panel that discussed how best to promote cooperation between Israel, Jordan and Israel Energy and Business ConfPalestine in the fields of water and energy. Additional esteemed panelists included Dr. Yossi Beilin, former Minister of Justice, Adi Ashkenazi, Director of the Economics and Research Department at the Ministry of Regional Cooperation, Yosef Abramowitz, founder of the Arava Power Company, Dr. Amit Mor, conference organizer and Noam Segal from the Israel Energy Forum. They discussed the options and alternatives available to continue advancing partnerships between the countries.

As part of the Ha’aretz peace conference held on November 12th in Tel Aviv, EcoPeace organized and held a high level panel on the water, panelists Gaza side eventsanitation and energy crisis in Gaza and its geopolitical implications. The panel entitled “On Our Doorstep, Water & Energy Crisis in Gaza”, focused on the humanitarian crises facing 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, which, if not urgently dealt with, is likely to lead to a health, environment and security crises region wide.

 

Read more on our Events page that includes links to our press release about the panel, as well as the full conference agenda.

 

The Water & Energy Nexus project is supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

 

 


 

“Model Farm” project inching forward…

Moving forward with the cross border Israeli / Jordanian “Model Farm” project, EcoPeace staff traveled with members of the Israeli Tamar Regional Council, the head of the R&D Center of the Central Arava, and the project manager of the future farm, to choose the best of 3 suggested Model Farmfarms in Jordan. The visit concluded with a specific farm being chosen, and gladly, one that has potential for a large impact.

 

To read background about this project, read the 3rd item in our July 2014 newsletter, our press release, this blog, and this Jerusalem Post article.

 

Good Water Neighbors Alumni training in Israel

On November 27-28, a 2-day Alumni leadership training seminar was held in the Israeli Jordan Valley Regional Council area, bringing together Alumni froAlumni1m the Kishon/Harod Basin, the Sorek Basin, Ein Gedi, Baka Gharbia and the Jordan Valley Regional Council. Here is an account from one of the participants:

 “We went down to the Jordan River Valley and discussed how to protect it, along with protecting other bodies of water in Israel, Palestine and Jordan. We learned how to lead activities to prepare us as counselors. We each had a theme to discuss, we had to think of how to present it to the rest of the group in creative ways that would make sure that everyone paid attention and learned, but also had fun….It was a very enjoyable trip. I learned a lot about leadership and the water crisis and I also had a lot of fun with people that I met on the trip. I am very much looking forward to our next meeting!


 

 

 

EcoPeace Organizes & Participates in 2 Climate Marches

On November 27th, ahead of the Climate Change talks being held in Paris, EcoPeace Middle East, the Israel Bicycle Association and Green Course, organized a large event in Tel Aviv to advocate for clean, renewable energy sources. The March began at the Rabin Square, where the French Climate Change TLVAmbassador, the Israeli Environment Minister and other MK’s addressed the participants. EcoPeace “Water Trustees” from our Good Water Neighbors project represented the future generation with an inspiring speech about environmental peacebuilding in 3 languages – Hebrew, Arabic and English. EcoPeace also organized an event near the Sea of Galilee for youth “Water Trustees” involved in our Good Water Neighbors project there.Climate Change heart

 

Participants at the two events formed huge green hearts, calling on the Israeli government to commit to reducing emissions and chanting “We can’t wait any longer – it’s time for 100% renewable energy!” Hundreds of activists participated in these events hoping that clean energy would get the attention it deserves.

 

Aquaponics in Ein Gedi

Our new Aquaponics garden is up, running and growing food! in the Ein Gedi EcoCenter! A must-see for anyone wanting to learn a nEin Gedi aquaponics 2ew method of growing crops! The system combines aquaculture (i.e. raising fish in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.

 

Water from the fish tank is fed to the plants where the by-products are broken down into nutrients that can be utilized by the plants, with the water then recirculated back to the aquaculture system. What a wonderful way to conserve water in the desert climate of Ein Gedi, near the Dead Sea!

 

 

New Developments at the Auja EcoCenter

The Auja EcoCenter, located near Jericho, has been hard at Auja Giftshopwork improving and developing the property. Recently an attractive ‘Gift Corner’ was added to the center, showcasing ceramics and crafts that visitors can purchase as a memento of their experience at the Center. Other improvements were in landscaping, adding ne3w plants, a covered outdoor seating area, and more. Come visit and see for yourselves!

 

Also at Auja: a visiting UK group that included photographers Jill Enfield, Frank Dabba Smith and Sally Enfield Rabinowitz, who visited the Middle East and stayed at the Auja EcoCenter, led an extremely creative art project to help bring awareness to the environmental challenges facing the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. Click here to see a video they prepared.

 

International Children’s Day River Clean-Up

In honor of International Children’s Day, EcoPeace Water Trustees from Emek Hafer and Baka Jat communities in Israel were seen working together cleaning up the Alexander River.Kids Project

 

They took water samples from the River, used a portable lab to check its quality, and held discussions on how to protect their shared River from further pollution. They were even featured in the leading daily newspaper!

 

EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

 

 


 

NGO Master Plan for the Jordan Valley presented in several events this month

EcoPeace staff took advantage of several opportunities this month to present our NGO Regional Master Plan for the Sustainable Development in the Jordan Valley and to promote our ‘Marshal Plan’ vision that aims to convert a polluted river and highly depressed economic area to a model for river rehabilitation, economic growth, and regional stability.MP cover w_b

 

We presented at the (1) Amsterdam International Water Week Conference, the world’s most cross-cutting conference for integrated water solutions, that was held on November 3-4, (2) in Brussels, before staffers of several Members of the European Parliament, and (3) in Luxemburg, before representatives of the EU Sustainable Water Integrated Management programme, the mechanism that supported the development of the Master Plan.

 

 

 

 


 

Faith Tourism on the Jordan River

On the 22nd of November, EcoPeace Middle East was invited to present our interfaith and ecotourism project work at the Institut français du Proche-Orient (IfPO) at a Workshop entitled “Faith tourism in the Islamic World: Between Practice and Heritage Issues” in Jordan.Helen_IfPO_conference

 

Sharing our interfaith and ecotourism work with an international community of academics allowed us to be part of a wider discussion on the importance of sustainability and stakeholder consultation in developing tourism within the region.

 

EcoPeace’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project, including faith-based activities, are supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and the Osprey Foundation.


 

 

 

Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | November 8, 2015

Second Year of Activities With Alumni

This year began our second year of activities with Alumni to help engage these young adults in regional environmental Featured imageefforts and scale up cooperation on shared water resources. The positive impact from being involved in cross border activities and community work can be seen through the eyes of three alumni who gave speeches at the teacher’s conference this past August.

(M.S) is an Israeli alumna from Kfar Vitkin. In her speech, she explained how getting involved with EcoPeace and the GWN project was a turning point in her life:

“It all started when i was in ninth grade, a community coordinator from EcoPeace took my class to a field trip, and since then, i joined many camps and met many youth from Jordan and Palestine and learned a lot about the environment and the water problems our communities have. During my second year in the youth program, EcoPeace allowed me to join a camp in Japan with Palestinian and Japanese girls”

In the following short sentence, she movingly described her thoughts about the world she lives in:

“In our world, the vast majority of people base their entire world view on knowledge they get from their society. We have been sFeatured imagepoon fed by our societies and we are satisfied with their descriptions. We are the result of all kinds of influences and there is nothing new in us, nothing that we have discovered for ourselves; nothing original, pristine, clear.”

And she ended her speech by expressing gratitude to EcoPeace:

“EcoPeace opened my eyes, and allowed me “to break the wall” and to experience firsthand how similar we all are as human beings”

The second speech was given by a Palestinian alumnus (O.A) from Jalamah – Jenin. Standing behind the podium he spoke about his involvement with EcoPeace:

“I have been involved with EcoPeace for six years, and it has been a great experience. I learned a lot about the environment, and what does it mean to be a “good neighbour””

“Living in Jalamah gave me an advantage because of its proximity to the border, which means dealing with our neighbours “the Israelies” on a regular basis”

He also shared with the audience his views on what should be done duriFeatured imageng times of conflict.

“When there is conflict, it means we should intensify working for peace. We have much more in common than differences. We breathe the same air, drink the same water and share the same environment”

The last speaker was an alumnus from Jordan. (E.A) from south area of the Dead Sea and has been a GWN participant for three years:

“During my first participation with EcoPeace, i was very excited, but at the same time scared because joining camps in Israel was unthinkable, but i challenged my inner fear and decided to go”

“To my own surprise, Israel did not look very different from Jordan! They have the same animals, the same plants, and very similar topography. The idea that i am visiting another country started to diminish and i felt that i am only visiting a friend or a family member who lives nearby”

And his very last statement revealed how wise he is despite his young age:

“From what i have learned from EcoPeace, i have a question to our leaders: why can’t we set aside our differences to secure a better future?

The Directors and staff of EcoPeace Middle East recognize this month’s newsletter is being issued at a time of continuing violence and hostility in our region. We remain determined as ever to advancing cooperative relations between Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians that help resolve on the ground issues that impact people’s daily lives for the better, and by doing so, help create the trust and political will needed to achieve regional peace, justice and sustainability.


Good Water Neighbors Cross Border Meetings throughout the Region

On Sunday October 18th, EcoPeace / FoEME in cooperation with the Water Resources Action Project (WRAP), inaugurated a constructed cisteFeatured imagern system at the Al-Sedeeq Primary School located in the Village of Husan in the West Bank, an area with an average annual rainfall of only 500ml. Attendee’s included Nisreen Amr, the Director of Education and Bassam Jaber, the Deputy Director of Education both from the Bethlehem Governorate.Featured image

On October 20th, EcoPeace GWN activists visited the largest Wastewater Treatment Plant in Jordan, the As Samra WWTP, which currently serves 2.3 million inhabitants. As Samra provides high quality treated water which Jordanian farmers use as an alternative option for crop and plant irrigation. It is especially significant to note this advancement as Jordan currently faces high water demand due to the refugee crisis in the region.

EcoPeace at the International Water Association Conference

Featured image

EcoPeace gave several presentations at the International Water Association conference held at the Dead Sea, Jordan from October 18 – 22, 2015. Our Jordanian Deputy Director, Yana Abu Taleb, presented about lessons learned from our Good Water Neighbours project while Jordanian Director, Munqeth Mehyar, presented at a side event organized by SIDA titled “Learning from regional water cooperation in the MENA region“. He presented EcoPeace’s Water Energy Nexus project as a catalyst for regional peace.

Finally, Israeli Director Gidon Bromberg’s presentation focused on constituency building around water in the midst of conflict, and how digital technology and development can further empower that interaction. The experience of EcoPeace in the GWN project was highlighted.

High Level SIDA Delegation VisitFeatured image

Also this month, EcoPeace was delighted to accompany a high level delegation from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) to several of our GWN project sites. The delegation was led by Ms. Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Director-General of SIDA.

The delegation visited Wadi Fukin and Battir in Palestine to see the cross border community success of protectinFeatured imageg the areas terraced cultural landscape and met with community entrepreneurs led by the mayor of Battir as part of Battir’s 2020 project. After crossing Allenby Bridge the delegation toured the southern mouth of the Jordan River before its exit to the Dead Sea. Together with Jordanian government officials the delegation saw first-hand the demise of the Jordan River and heard about both community lead and national and regional advocacy efforts that have led to real improvements on the ground.

Featured image

At the Haaretz Peace conference, November 12th, to be held at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, EcoPeace will be holding a special morning side event on the urgent need to solve the water and energy crises facing 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza and the humanitarian and security implications of failing to do so.

A special group discount price is offered to registrants through EcoPeace. Please sign up here to register and we shall follow up with you to confirm.

The Good Water Neighbors project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

The Water & Energy Nexus is part of the Water Cannot Wait campaign of EcoPeace Middle East. This project is supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.


 

Presentation of the Regional NGO Master Plan for the Lower Jordan River

Featured imageFollowing a successful presentation at a high-level international conference in Jordan, EcoPeace’s Jordanian Deputy Director, Yana Abu Taleb, was invited by the European Commission to present EcoPeace’s Regional NGO Master Plan in the European Commission in B

russels, explaining continuing efforts towards its implementation.

The main EU event was an experts meeting on international water issues which brought together representatives from the environment/water and foreign affairs departments mainly from EU member states. The fact that a side event was allocated to present the Regional NGO Master Plan shows that high level of interest and awareness of the environmental challenges facing the Jordan River is constantly increasing.

 

EcoPeace and GNF, Continued PartnersFeatured image

Check out EcoPeace in this month’s Global Nature Fund’s online newsletter describing our cooperative efforts towards rehabilitation of the Jordan River, including work related to the Regional NGO Master Plan.

 

Regional Investment Strategy for Jordan River Valley Master Plan

This report prFeatured imageovides the first building block of developing national and regional investment strategies with concrete steps to advance the implementation of the NGO Master Plan including recommendations, identification of no-regret actions and interventions for staged implementation.

The investment strategy reviews potential sources of public, private, and international financing for a short list of 26 identified priority interventions in Jordan, Palestine and Israel to act as a catalyst for regional cooperation and development of the Jordan Valley. Investment profiles are developed for eight priority pilot interventions in the field of water, environment and pollution control.

 

EcoPeace’s Regional NGO Master Plan (SWIM-JR) is supported by the European Union’s Sustainable Water Integrated Management (SWIM) Program.


 Green Economy Initiatives project ends with 2 Final Events and …. 4 Cross Border Itineraries!

 Featured imageAt the close of the “Green Economy Initiatives” (GEI) project, EcoPeace held two Final Events in the form of “Eco-Fairs”; one on September 3rd in the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council in Israel, and one on Sept. 8th in the Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan. In both events, Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian project participants, together with project ‘vendors’ who share our regional vision of environmental interdependency and concepts of peaceful cross-border environmental the local municipalities, as well as representatives from tourism departments in the regiFeatured imageon; Israeli, PalestincoopeFeatured imageration, showcased their goods and the specific outputs of the project; 4 cross border touristic itineraries. Also in attendance at both events were representatives from ian & Jordanian. In the Israeli event, the Israeli Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation, Mr. Ayoub Kara, attended and praised the project for bringing together people from the region in this innovative cross border tourism initiative. In the Jordanian event, the Governor of Irbid did the same. Learn more by visiting EcoPeace‘s blog about the event in Israel, and a blog and more photos of the event in Jordan.

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


 

EcoPeace featured in Stockholm WaterFront Magazine

EcoPeace’s Directors from Bethlehem, Tel Aviv and Amman were recently featured in the Stockholm WaterFront Magazine discuFeatured imagessing the use of water as a catalyst for change, citing our Good Water Neighbors (GWN) project’s methodology and success stories. The magazine article focused on GWN’s community efforts, benefits of cooperation and also the challenges of working together in a region of conflict throughout the last 20 years. The article describes some of EcoPeace’s recent success stories such as advocacy efforts that helped to bring about the doubling of water pumped into Gaza and the release of a first-ever Regional NGO Master Plan to rehabilitate the Jordan River.

 

Good Water Neighbors Cross Border Meetings throughout the Region

On September  5th & 6th , EcoPeace held a “Cross Border Forum” visit for Jordanian and Palestinian stakeholdFeatured imageers representing the Zara Maain – Wadi Al Naar watershed. EcoPeace began the visit at Ubeiydia Municipality which was followed by a tour of Wadi Al Naar, Wadi Sarar and the Mar Saba Monastery. Participants discussed common problems of their watershed, solutions for water and environmental challenges, and the potential of signing an agreement between Madaba and Ubeiydia to continue cooperation efforts related to implementing projects within the watershed. Click here to view media coverage of the meeting from Maan News (in Arabic).

On Sept 2nd – 4th, EcoPeace held a “Cross-Border Forum” for the Northern communities of the Lower Jordan River. The delegation included stakeholders from Israel and Jordan, mostly from the tourism industry, as well as the mayors and municipal representativFeatured imagees of the communities. Site visits were conducted to the tourist attractions along the northern part of the Lower Jordan River; the Yardenit Baptism site, the Beit She’an archeological site, the new Springs Park of the Springs Valley Regional Council, the Kfar Rupin Birdwatching center, the Peace Island at Naharayim and the nearby “Three Bridges” tourist site. Presentations, lectures and discussions throughout the 2 days focused on the potential of cross border tourism in the region. At the end of the formal visit, the Jordanian delegaFeatured imagetion continued on to the “GEI” final event (as mentioned above) where they learned about the examples of cross border tourism development.

A week later, on Sept 8th – 9th, the Cross Border Forum met again, this time in Jordan, visiting touristic sites on the Eastern side of the River; the Ajloun Castle, a guided hike in Wadi Orjan, a visit to a local community B&B, and more. Ideas for cross border tourism and regional cooperation were raised at the final discussion, and will be incorporated in the Forum’s upcoming year’s work.

The Good Water Neighbors project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).


 

EcoPeace Presented at the 2nd German-Israeli Climate Talks

EcoPeace’s Israel Director presented the organization’s Water-Energy Nexus project at the the 2nd German-IsraFeatured imageeli Climate Talks at the Porter School of Environmental Studies of Tel Aviv University. The presentation entitled: “A Water Energy Nexus Across the Jordan for Stability and Climate Change Mitigation” focused on the rationale for creating a 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 additional electricity needs are met by extensive investment in solar renewable energy in Jordan’s eastern deserts.

The Water & Energy Nexus project is supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

 


EcoPeace named as Runner-Up in the Thiess International Riverprize

Israeli Director Gidon Bromberg travelled to Brisbane, Australia last month where EcoPeace was named as a runner-up in the prestigious Thiess InFeatured imageternational Riverprize for efforts related to rehabilitating the Jordan River. The Lake Eyre Basin in Australia won first prize with the Jordan River and Mur River in Austria as the runners-up. This prize is one of the world’s most prestigious environmental awards, given to organizations that have demonstrated their outstanding achievement and commitment to restoring and protecting the world’s rivers. We are honored to receive this recognition and will continue to work towards rehabilitating this vital River!

The trip to Australia also included an evening presentation on the state of the River Jordan at the Newton Synagogue in Sydney where Malek Abu Alfailat, EcoPeace Auja EcoCenter Director, joined the evening discussions via Skype as part of the faith based Jordan River program.

Media interest in the Jordan River was high with a TV and Radio interview on Australia’s ABC station. Click here to view the video and here to listen to the radio broadcast.

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


EcoPeace on International Day of PeaceFeatured image

In celebration of International Day of Peace on September 21st, Sister Cities International hosted an International Day of Peace +SocialGood Google Hangout surrounding this year’s theme, “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All”. Sister city partnerships and citizen diplomacy play a crucial role in peace-building at a grass roots, person-to-person level. EcoPeace was one of 3 panelists on this day.

Click here to watch the video.

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