EcoPeace Participates in Women Wage Peace March of Hope
This past month was busy with EcoPeace staff participating in the Women Wage Peace March of Hope. Israeli and Palestinian staff, forum members, and alumni joined thousands of participants at various points along the route including Naharayim, Neve Shalom Village, the Baptism Site on the banks of the Jordan River and in Jerusalem. The events included speeches from Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee, prominent politicians, and peace activists, as well as performances by Israeli and Palestinian singers. The two week march which started in Rosh Hanikra was a call to government leaders to start working with respect and courage towards a solution to the ongoing violent conflict, while including the full participation of women. The march culminated in Jerusalem in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence with thousands of participants demanding a restart to peace negotiations.
EcoPeace’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project, including faith-based activities, are supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and the Osprey Foundation.
Another Year at YOCOPAS!
Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian alumni and Youth Water Trustee’s from our Good Water Neighbors project participated for a second year in the Regional Youth Conference for Peace and Sustainability (YOCOPAS) held from October 26th to 28th at the Eastern Mediterranean International School on Hakfar Hayarok, a youth village and educational campus in the center of Israel. On the second day of the conference, EcoPeace Community Coordinators, from the three offices, led a workshop and simulation exercise about shared water resources between Palestine, Israel and Jordan. The students were divided into three groups simulating the three parties and discussed each side’s water allocation and water demands while taking into consideration the other’s needs. This helped the students learn of creative but realistic solutions to meet the needs of the region but still suit the lifestyles of those involved, providing a win-win situation that aids in peacebuilding efforts by sharing common resources.
Alumni Hard at Work
Good Water Neighbors alumni are taking their work to the next level. A former Youth Water Trustee and now participant in the alumni program established her own group of Youth Water Trustees in Jenin. She has been working hard at garnering interest and participants in her community and has held 3 meetings so far. She even contacted the village council to get permission to work in the council’s hall and garden with the trustees.
Additionally, an Israeli alumna participated in the Women Wage Peace rally and spent the day with Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee. She gave an insightful lecture and discussion about EcoPeace while traveling to the different locales throughout the day.
Palestinian Office has signing ceremony
On October 19th a delegation of municipal leaders from the Madaba Municipality in Jordan travelled to Obediya in Palestine for a signing ceremony of a twinning agreement under the invitation of H.E. Mazen Ghneim, Head of the Palestinian Water Authority. Additional side meetings were held between Jordanian and Palestinian stakeholders of the Madaba/Obediya watershed. Additionally, H.E. Rule Ma’ay’a, the Palestinian Minister of Tourism, visited the Jordanian delegation to discuss Jordanian-Palestinian cooperation in relation to tourism development in the area.
EcoDesign Workshop at Auja EcoCenter
Our Auja EcoCenter hosted an eco-design workshop from October 28th to 29th organized by the ökoRAUSCH Think Tank of Germany. The workshop in Auja was part of a kick-off event that started in Israel and ended in Palestine for Eco Design Forum International which involves designers, artists and creative thinkers from all over the world who want to explore green ideas and develop sustainable products.
Biodiversity Workshop at EcoPeace’s Sharhabil Bin Hassneh (SHE) EcoPark
From October 26th to 27th, EcoPeace conducted a workshop at the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh (SHE) EcoPark in relation to forest and river restoration and sustainable development. The workshop was supported by MEDFORVAL which helps protect, manage or restore forested areas of high ecological value. Discussions and presentations included different suggestions for educating communities and decision makers on the ecological and economic value of forests as a means to advance cooperative protection efforts and achieve rehabilitation of forest habitats in the Jordan Valley. The first day included presentations and discussions, and the second day offered participants the opportunity to enjoy the diverse flora and fauna in an outdoor excursion.
New Additions to SHE
EcoPeace has continued the momentum of expansion at Sharhabil Bin Hassneh (SHE) EcoPark in Jordan. We have now incorporated private bathrooms into the twelve older cabins on site. These twelve cabins have air-conditioning and wifi, two are wheelchair accessible, and now all have attached bathrooms. This significant expansion allows guests to stay comfortably for a longer period of time and enjoy local eco-tourism along the Jordan River. Come check us out by reserving rooms here!
EcoPeace Directors Participate in a World Council of Churches Event
The three EcoPeace Directors participated, via Skype, in a World Council of Churches event in Geneva to celebrate and welcome their induction into the “blue community,” meaning recognition of safe and clean drinking water as a human right. The renowned water activist Dr. Maude Barlow delivered the keynote address and the “water man of India” and Stockholm Water Prize laureate for 2015, Dr Rajendra Singh, addressed the gathering as well. Our directors underlined the importance of human rights in relation to water access in the Middle East and discussed water as a means to help work towards peacebuilding efforts.
EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
New Project in the Kidron Basin
EcoPeace is participating in a new project in cooperation with UNESCO-IHE to assess the state of the Kidron/Al-Nar stream which flows from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. The stream is considered an environmental and public health hazard due to the disposal of untreated wastewater into its waters. The project involves faculty from Al-Quds University and the Hebrew University, local authorities and grassroots organizations working together to develop practical and innovative wastewater management schemes while building trust and people-to people relations.
This project is supported by UNESCO-IHE
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