EcoPeace Releases NGO Masterplan for Sustainable Development in the Jordan Valley

J1EcoPeace Middle East / WEDO and its consortium partners at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and Global Nature Fund (GNF) presented the Integrated Regional NGO Master Plan for Sustainable Development in the Jordan Valley at a regional conference held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dead Sea, in Jordan from June 9-10, 2015, under the patronage of the Jordanian Minister of Water, Dr. Hazim al Nasser.

The conference marked the conclusion of a 3-year European Union ‘SWIM’ funded program and brought together an impressive number of high-level government officials from Jordan, Palestine and Israel, international diplomatic representatives, international development agency representatives, and basin experts to discuss the advancement of the program from planning to implementation.

The Master Plan, undertaken by a consultancy team led by Royal HaskoningDHV, was presented according to its 7 j2strategic planning objectives: Pollution Control; Sustainable Water Management & River Rehabilitation; Sustainable Agriculture; Jordan River Basin Governance; Ecological Rehabilitation; Sustainable Tourism & Cultural Heritage Development; and Urban & Infrastructure Development.

The Master Plan also identifies 127 specific regional and national projects (“interventions”) in relation to the above mentioned strategic planning objectives, with a total investment value of 4.58 billion USD until the year 2050.

Levant Consultancy, financial experts, also gave an overview of capital market funding opportunities that will serve to finance the projects together with donor states.

Click here for the Master Plan; the Master Plan Annex (Interventions); click on this Events webpage for further links to speeches, presentations, videos of support from the International community, an album of photos on our Facebook page and more; and here for media coverage from the conference.

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

EcoPeace & Indo-Pakistani Cooperation on the Indus River

j3On June 11th – 12th, an Indian and Pakistani delegation visited Jordan for a workshop to jumpstart cooperation with EcoPeace on the Indus River. Five key action points were identified as a framework for this initiative: academia, business, faith based communities, civil society, and schools.

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The delegates visited the Baptism site “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” to learn about the ecological degradation of the Jordan River and the organization’s efforts to rehabilitate it by pushing the issue onto the agenda of the local governments. They were introduced to the faith-based campaign launched in 2013 to gain support of religious figures from the three monolithic religions of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism as their voices help bring attention to the river’s ecological deterioration.

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Cross Border Youth Water Trustee Groups meet throughout the region

j5Three cross-border meetings of “Youth Water Trustees” from the Kishon/Mukata basin, the Hebron/Beer Sheva/Besor basin, and the Yarkon/Qana basin took place as part of EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbors Project. These workshops were designed to provide the youth with an opportunity to learn about their shared environmental challenges and to discuss ways in which they can help improve the ecological situation of their region. The youth hiked along streams, rode bikes, and participated in activities to learn about each other and their commonalities, connecting to the water and nature they all share.

EcoPeace is the Big Jump Challenge “Team of the Week”

EcoPeace Youth Water Trustees alumni from Israel, Jordan, and Palestine have created a team this year for the j6International Big Jump Event. This week, EcoPeace was chosen as the “Team of the Week”, for its hard work in organizing a cross-border event by the Jordan River (featured in last month’s newsletter). The success of our team underlines the Water Trustee alumni’s solidarity and commitment to protect their shared watershed, serving as an example and inspiration to teams around the world. Read more in this blog, and to see a video of the “Youth Water Trustees” alumni’s message, click here.

EcoPeace conducts cross border site visits throughout the region

j7A group of Palestinian and Israeli stakeholders participated in a cross-border visit in the Hebron/Beer Sheva/ Besor watershed, witnessing the grievances of the historic Bedouin village of Umm Battin, where a polluted river of sewage runs through the heart of the village.  Participants also visited the Shoket Waste Water Treatment Plant, a successful operation highly reliant on joint management and monitoring of sewage from both Israelis and the Palestinians. A tour at the Beer Sheva River Park revealed that wise management coupled with a long-term vision and a strong will can create life in the midst of an arid desert. The park was once a dumping ground is now a green recreational park.  Read more in this blog.

A Jordanian delegation, comprised of the Head of the Wadi Sir Directorate, along with other Jordanian governmental j8representatives, visited their cross border watershed of “Wadi Qelt” in Palestine. They met with their Palestinian counterparts to discuss urgent challenges that both communities are facing with the shared watershed. The group discussed possible means of cooperation and improved management. The delegates visited the municipality of Jericho to learn about the environmental challenges facing the valley, stopping by the Jericho Directorate for Agriculture, a compost station, a fish-breeding farm, and the Waste Water Treatment Plant in Jericho.  Read more in this blog.

European Union Representatives visit Emek Hefer and Nablus Stream

j9EcoPeace staff took Ms. Esther Pozo Vera, Sector Coordinator for European Neighborhood Countries of the European Commission, and Alexandra Meir from the Trade and Economic Section of the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel on a site visit to see the hard work of our Good Water Neighbors project. In Emek Hefer, they visited a reconstructed wetland, which was built by youth in the Sadot School in Bat Hefer in 2009, and which still recycles water today.  Heavily polluted water was seen crossing the barrier in the Nablus Stream despite huge investments made in the construction of the west Nablus Waste Water Treatment Plant, exemplifying the need for greater cross border coordination and the failure of unilateral actions to problem solve transboundary water issues.

Kate Rothschild Meeting Trusteesj10

This month, Kate Rothschild, one of EcoPeace‘s International Advisory Board Members, visited the region to learn more about our work. Kate went on an educational tour of the Hebron/Be’er Sheva/Besor stream and met with some of our Palestinian and Israeli Youth Water Trustee groups, who made sure she left knowing how important it is for our region’s youth to be leaders in the environment.

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EcoPeace wins the National ENERGY GLOBE Award 2015 on UN’s World Environment Day

j11This month, EcoPeace was awarded the National Energy Globe Award for the Jordan River Rehabilitation Project and was subsequently nominated for the International Energy Globe Award. The jury chose EcoPeace because of its innovative regional approach to rehabilitate the Jordan River, Bottom Up through the GWN project and Top Down, through widespread advocacy efforts, bringing fresh water to the river and removing pollution through sanitation solutions. With more than 170 participating countries and over 1500 project submissions annually, the Energy Globe Award is one of today’s most prestigious environmental prizes worldwide. Our project was presented on June 5th, 2015 at the UN’s World Environment Day, under the patronage of UNESCO and in cooperation with UNEP.

EcoPeace Presents at the World Heritage Watch conference in Bonn, Germany

j12At theUNESCO World Heritage and The Role of Civil Society” conference of World Heritage Watch, Mohammed Obidallah from the EcoPeace Bethlehem office presented “The Struggle of Civil Society to Save the Roman Irrigation System and the Terraced Cultural Landscape of Battir,” demonstrating how EcoPeace’s strategy of combining a “top-down” (advocacy) approach with a “bottom-up” (grass roots / community) strategy has proven to be a very effective work model to preserve Battir’s Terraced Landscape and the Roman Irrigation System. He explained that as a result of continuous work for three years in the GWN project, on June 20th, 2014, UNESCO registered Battir as a World Heritage site, and on January 4th, 2015, the Israeli High Court of Justice decided to deny the request of the Israeli military to build the separation barrier through the unique terraced landscape of Battir.

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

Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | July 23, 2015

The Palestinian Economy: Save the Jordan “River”

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A European Union Plan to Rehabilitate the Jordan River is expected to help agriculture and tourism flourish in the region

Two weeks ago, EcoPeace, “formerly known as” Friends of the Earth with branches in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority held in the East of the Dead Sea a conference to present a masterplan for the rehabilitation of the Jordan River. The River has suffered for a longtime from neglect resulting in its dryness.

The Masterplan, funded by the European Union, was prepared by a Dutch engineering company DHV, one of its kind in the world and will have important implications for the kingdom of Jordan, for Israel and for the Palestinian Authority.

When bitterness [and pollution] is finished, sweetness begins” A Chinese proverb

Approximately 600 thousand inhabitants reside in the Jordan Valley nowadays. The majority, 500 thousand, lives in the Eastern part of the valley in Jordan and the minority, approximately, 50 thousand Israeli and 56 thousand Palestinian live in the Western side in Israel and the West Bank.

In the past, about a billion and 300mcm used to flow in the river from the Kinneret and the valleys tributaries but in the recent years, the river turned into a canal of sewage that stench.

This fact presented an occasion to develop the environment and economy that was neglected in the past years.  According to what appears from the conference, it represents an invitation and a possibility of political cooperation between the authorities in the region.

Rehabilitation of the River requires allowing water to flow from the Kinneret.  After 50 years break, Israel allowed water to reflow in the River and since then approximately 9 mcm flowed into the River. Allowing water to flow in the river became possible because the authority in Israel reduced to considerable scale water pumping from the kinneret to the National Carrier. Nonetheless, this amount is relatively small compared to the days whereby approximately 650 mcm flowed from the Kinneret in addition to water from the tributaries spilling in the Jordan.

Allowing water to reflow needs also solutions to the severe contamination that worsen southward downstream the River.

According to the plan, there is a need to coordinate the treatment of the pollution sources, management of the water, development enterprises, and infrastructure building along the valley.

Everybody Wins

In the short term of 5 years, the Masterplan requires an investment of 495 million dollars funded by international bodies like the International Monetary Fund.  330 million dollars are allocated for Jordanian and Palestinian economic projects and inclusive of agricultural development, construction of greenhouses, irrigation system, and expanding the marketing of agricultural produce bought in Jordan and the West, in Israel and in the Gulf States.

Additional potential arises from tourist sites in ancient Jericho, the Baptism site of the land of the monasteries north of the Dead Sea, and east of Jordan.

The plan allocates 165 million dollars for Israel’s touristic projects and sports in the Jordan Valley and includes renovating the Ottoman buildings in the old city of Beit She’an.

Translated from “Calcalist”

הכלכלה הפלסטינית: להציל את הירדן

http://www.calcalist.co.il/local/articles/0,7340,L-3663719,00.html

Media Department/ Amman

Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | June 28, 2015

Cross Border Visit to Jericho “Wadi Qelt”

DSCN8368From the 16th to the 17th of June, a Jordanian delegation visited Jericho “Wadi Qelt” under EcoPeace‘s GWN’s Project. “Wadi Qelt, Wadi Sir Forum”.

The delegation, comprised of Wadi Sir Head of Directorate along with other Jordanian governmental representatives, met with their Palestinian counterparts to discuss the urgent challenges facing the water sector in the two countries most importantly the grievances of the Palestinian residents in the West Bank and the effect of the lands segmentation into area A, B, and C on water resources. Control over water resources was the most notable demand as it is the only mean to self-rule once the Palestinian state comes into being.

The visit aimed at cementing relationships between the countries in terms
of water related issues and discussing possible means of collaboration and exchange of experiences.

The delegates visited the municipality of Jericho to learn about the environmental challenges facing the valley especially pollution resulting from the Water Treatment Plant in Albeira and the surrounding settlements. They visited Jericho directorate for agriculture, a compost station, and a fish breeding farm. The visitors were also given an elaborate presentation about the Water Treatment Plant in Jericho to learn about the techniques used.

Media Department/ Amman

Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | June 26, 2015

Cross Border Visit of Wadi Hebron to Beer Sheva

Beer Sheva, Israel
15/6/2015

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When unilateral environmental solutions fail, environmental degradation is the norm, grievances of the local communities are exacerbated, and the dire need for cooperation and joint management presents itself as a necessity. A fact reaffirmed to a group of Palestinian and Israeli stakeholders participating in a Cross Border visit of Wadi Hebron to Beer Sheva under EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbours Project.

A case in point is the grievances of the historic Bedouin village of Umm Battin. Located to the northeast of the Negev’s Metropolitan Be’er Sheva, and home to 5.000 people, a polluted river of sewage runs through the heart of the village. 556506_418989564782666_761479708_n

The industrial sewage and dangerous chemicals from Hebron tannery factories, and from Kiryat Arba settlement pose a health hazard to the residents of the village.

The successful operation of the Shoket Waste Water Treatment Plant, the second stop during the visit, is highly reliant on joint management and monitoring of sewage from the Israeli and the Palestinian side and on resolving issues of the Hebron Stream. Left unattended, the pollution of the stream is a threat to the shared ground water sources.

But when there is a will, there is a way. A tour at the Beer Shiva River Park reveals that wise management coupled with a long term vision and a strong will create life in the midst of an arid desert. Irrigated with semi clean water, what was once a dumping point is now a green recreational park enjoyed by all.

Media Department/ Amman office

Picture Credits

For the visits picture album, click here 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.418989334782689.113765.215144801833811&type=1

The Strategic Importance of Arab Peace Initiative in Ending Arab – Israeli Conflict and Building Peace in the Middle East

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Amman, Jordan

 June, 13th 2015

United Religions Initiative (URI) Jordan, in cooperation with The Center for Democracy & Community Development (CDCD) East-Jerusalem, held an interactive workshop under the theme: “The strategic importance of Arab Peace Initiative in ending Arab-Israeli Conflict and building peace in the Middle East”DSCN8158

The event was attended by high level officials including Parliamentarians and Politicians from Jordan, religious leaders and representatives from the civil society including EcoPeace Middle East.  The aim of the workshop was to provide a platform to discuss means by which the Arab Peace Initiative “API” can contribute to stability and prosperity in the region. The conveners, moreover, discussed means to spread awareness and activate youth to promote regional stability and prosperity based on the API and ways to involve civil societies and local grassroots initiatives in supporting the initiative.

The Arab Peace Initiative was first proposed in 2002, is a peace agreement based on a full Israeli withdrawal and return to the 1967 borders in exchange for recognition of Israel by all Arab states, a complete guarantee for Israel’s security, normalization of Israel’s relations with all Arab countries, a solution agreed upon and supported by the region on the DSCN8165Palestinian refugee issue.  To date, the Arab Peace Initiative has been accepted and supported by 22 states of the Arab League and 57 member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

More on the API-based structure can be found here.

Media Department/ Amman Office

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إطلاق خطة شمولية  تعمل على تحويل نهر ملوث و منطقة إقتصادية شديدة الفقر الى نموذج لإعادة تأهيل الأنهر و النمو الإقتصادي و الإستقرار في المنطقة

الثلاثاء 9 يونيو 2015

البحر الميت، الأردن

اختتم في العاشر من يونيو المؤتمر الإقليمي لإعادة تأهيل حوض نهر الأردن و الذي انعقد تحت رعاية معالي وزير المياه و الري الدكتور حازم الناصر. وجمع المؤتمر عددا كبيرا من المسؤولين الحكوميين رفيعي المستوى من الأردن وفلسطين وإسرائيل و ممثلين دبلوماسيين دوليين وممثلي الوكالة الدولية للتنمية، وخبراء من الحوض لمناقشة التقدم المحرز في البرنامج من مرحلة  التخطيط إلى التنفيذ

اكد وزير المياه والري الدكتور حازم الناصر على ضرورة اعادة تاهيل وتطوير حوض نهر الاردن من خلال الخطة الوطنية التي تم طرحها في نيسان الماضي من العام الحالي

جاء ذلك خلال كلمة القاها نيابة عنه امس امين عام سلطة وادي الاردن المهندس سعد ابو حمور في المؤتمر الاقليمي المنعقد في البحر الميت  بخصوص تطوير وتاهيل النهر باعداد وتنظيم من منظمة ايكوبيس – الشرق الاوسط –  بالتعاون مع مؤسسة المياه الدولية في ستكهولم و جلوبال نيتشر فند ، ومناقشة الخطط  الوطنية للدول المشاطئة للنهر

وقال الناصر ان اعادة التاهيل هي مسؤولية وطنية تتطلب من جميع الجهات المعنية تادية ادوارها بما يكفل عودة الحياة الطبيعية للنهر وكما كان قبل الحروب والنزاعات خلال القرن الماضي

واكد على ضرورة اعادة جريان المياه الصالحة في مجرى النهر لاستغلالها من قبل المزارعين على ضفني النهر وتنمية الحياة السياحية والزراعية

وأشار الناصر بأن الهدف من عقد هذا المؤتمر يأتي في سياق عرض الخطة الشمولية للتنميه المستدامة في حوض نهر الاردن الادنى من خلال عرض المشاريع الخدمية و البنى التحتيه و البيئية و الزراعية و المعلوماتية و غيرها لمناقشتها و اقرارها لاحقاً مما سينعكس بالايجاب على المجتمعات المحليه وتنميتها في و ادي الاردن علاوه على تحسين المنطقة بيئياً مما يجلعها وجهة سياحيه ودينية وأن مثل هذه المشاريع توفر فرص عمل لأهالي المنطقة وتوجد بيئه جاذبة للاستثمار

من جانبه أوضح امين عام سلطة وادي الاردن المهندس سعد ابو حمور بأنه قد تم تشكيل لجنة فنيه متخصصه تشمل مندوبين من كافة المؤسسات ذات العلاقة تقوم بدراسة المقترحات و الاجراءات المطلوبة لأعادة تأهيل حوض نهر الاردن وكذلك وضع الشروط المرجعية لتأهيل منطقة الباقورة و تنظيم العديد من الزيارات الميدانية الى المنطقة و المشاركة في العديد من الانشطة و الفعاليات التي من شأنها تطويرها

ولفت ابو حمور الى الخطر الذي يواجه المصادر المائية في حوض نهر الاردن السفلي وتدهور النظام البيئي في حوض النهر و مخاطر ذلك على المنطقة بيئيا وان هذا المؤتمر يشارك به كل من يتحسس هذه المخاطر و غيرهم الكثير للمحافظة على هذا النهر

وقالت سفيرة بعثة الاتحاد الاوروبي الى الاردن يونا رونيكا نجتمع اليوم من اجل انقاذ نهر الاردن من الانهيار والاندثار ولابقاء ديمومة الحياة فيه والحفاظ على بيئته الجميله واقامة المشاريع الزراعية والسياحية بتعاون اقليمي وتمويل اوروبي والاتحاد الاوروبي يدعم التنمية المستدامة في الوادي بمبلغ 20 مليون دولار ، داعية الى التعاون البيئي السلمي بين الدول المجاورة للنهر

وقالت هيلينا جوندال سفيرة مملكة السويد في الاردن نجتمع في لقاء دولي بموضوع هام يخدم منطقة وادي الاردن نهره بوجود صانعي القرار في الاردن وفلسطين واسرائيل بهدف اعادة الحياة للوادي والنهر  والتحلص من البطالة بمناطق الوادي المحاذية للنهر من خلال مشاريع تنموية على ضفتي النهر

وناقش المشاركون على مدى يومين العديد من المشاريع المقترحة للتاهيل والتطوير ومصادر التمويل

ويذكر ان هذا المؤتمر يهدف الى وضع خطة تنموية متوسطة المدى للعام 2025 وطويلة المدى للعام 2050 لوادي الاردن تشمل جميع الأوجه الخدماتية و البيئية و السياحية و الاثرية يكون عصبها الرئيس توفير المصادر المائية الكافية و الحفاظ عليها إضافة الى وضع التصورات الشاملة لإعادة تأهيل حوض نهر الاردن بالتعاون مع الشركاء المحليين والدوليين، حيث  أن الخطط الوطنية للدول المشاطئة و الخطة الإقليمية قد حددت 127 مشروع بتكلفة  4.58 مليار دولار حتى عام 2050. و في حال تنفيذ هذه المشاريع، ستؤدي الى التطوير الإيجابي لحوض النهر و الذي سيساعد على بناء الثقة في الوضع السياسي الأوسع.

و في هذا السياق، أفاد السيد منقذ مهيار رئيس جمعية إيكوبيس الشرق الأوسط / الأردن “أنا فخور أن المملكة الأردنية هي أول من صادق و تبنى المشاريع المحددة على نطاق الأردن. يعاني الوادي من معدلات بطالة مرتفعة تصل الى 40% و تدفق عشرات الألاف من الاجئيين السوريين الى الوادي. الإرادة الأردنية تدرك  جيدا بأن التكامل الإقليمي فقط سيجلب الازدهار و الإستقرار للمنطقة. فنهر الأردن المعافى و الذي تحمل المملكة إسمه يجب أن يعكس الطموحات الأوسع كأردنيين”

وفي دوره، أفاد اليسد نادر الخطيب، رئيس جمعية إيكوبيس الشرق الأوسط / فلسطين  “من وجه نظر فلسطينية ، تدفع الخطة الشمولية الى حل الدولتيين مع قيام دولة فلسطينية مستقلة مزدهرة في الضفة الغربية من وادي الأردن و ذلك عن طريق حصول الفلسطينيين على الوصول الكامل و حقوق المشاطئة للأرض و للمصادر المائية . ستستفيد كل الأطراف عندما يقود الإستقلال و التكامل الى الإزدهار الإقتصادي.”

وقال السيد جدعون برومبرغ ، رئيس جمعية إيكوبيس الشرق الأوسط /إسرائيل “إن الخطة الشمولية تسلط الضوء على حقيقة أن التدهور البيئي و الإقتصادي للوادي سينعكس سلبا على جميع الأطراف المعنية. و الخطة الشمولية المتكاملة التي تدعم الإستثمار المتكامل و اعادة تأهيل نهر الأردن ستحقق الإستقرار و الأمان وهذا ما يهم الإسرائليين”

ومن الجدير ذكره أن منظمة إيكوبيس ستستخدم الخطة الشمولية لتحقيق التكامل الإقليمي في غور الأردن و لزيادة الإرادة السياسية لدعم و تنفيذ توصيات الدراسة من قبل الحكومات المحلية

للمزيد من المعلومات و الصور، الرجاء الضغط على الروابط التالية

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

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.817222581679732.1073741871.150673398334657&type=3

https://www.addustour.com/17607/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%A3%D9%83%D9%8A%D8%AF+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%B6%D9%80%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A9+%D8%A5%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A9+%D8%AA%D8%A3%D9%87%D9%8A%D9%84+%D9%88%D8%AA%D8%B7%D9%88%D9%8A%D8%B1+%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%B6+%D9%86%D9%87%D8%B1+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%86.html

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

  الدائرة الإعلامية لمنظمة إيكوبيس الشرق الأوسط مكتب عمان

MEDIA RELEASE

 

PUBLIC RELEASE OF FIRST EVER REGIONAL INTEGRATED MASTER PLAN FOR THE JORDAN VALLEY, FROM THE SEA OF GALILEE TO THE DEAD SEA

 

A MARSHAL PLAN THAT CONVERTS A POLLUTED RIVER AND HIGHLY DEPRESSED ECONOMIC AREA TO A MODEL FOR RIVER REHABILITATION, ECONOMIC GROWTH AND REGIONAL STABILITY

TUESDAY June 9, 2015

Dead Sea, Jordan

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At a conference today on the Jordanian shores of the Dead Sea, EcoPeace Middle East, together with consortium partners at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and Global Nature Fund (GNF), and lead consultant Royal HaskoningDHV, released the first ever Regional NGO Master Plan for Sustainable Development  in the Jordan Valley.

Under the patronage of the Jordanian Minister of Water, Dr. Hazim al Nasser, the conference marked the conclusion of a European Union (SWIM) funded program and brought together an impressive number of high-level government officials DSCN7709from Jordan, Palestine and Israel, international diplomatic representatives, international development agency representatives, and basin experts to discuss the advancement of the program from planning to implementation.

“The Master Plan highlights how the current ecological and economic demise of the valley is a lose/lose situation for all sides concerned. Through the Marshal Plan type investments, undertaken in a manner that supports regional integration and a healthy Jordan River, stability and security can be achieved, a key concern of the Israeli public”, said Gidon Bromberg, EcoPeace Middle East Israeli co-director.

“From a Palestinian perspective the Master Plan helps advance a two state solution with an independent Palestine DSCN7655prospering in the West Bank of the Jordan Valley due to full access and riparian rights to both water and land resources in the valley. All sides will gain when independence and integration lead to economic prosperity”, said Nader Khateeb, EcoPeace Middle East Palestinian co-director.

EcoPeace will continue to use the Master Plan to advocate for regional integration in the Jordan Valley and for increasing political will for the adoption in full, or in part, of the study’s recommendations by the national authorities in the region.

“I am proud that the Kingdom of Jordan is the first to have endorsed the Jordanian interventions of the master plan. Facing 40% unemployment in the valley and an influx of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to the valley, Jordan well understands that only regional integration will bring the needed prosperity and stability to the region. A healthy Jordan River on which the Kingdom is named better reflects our broader aspirations as Jordanians”, said Munqeth Mehyar, EcoPeace Middle East Jordanian co-director.

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127 specific regional and national projects (“interventions“) have been identified in the framework of the Master Plan, with a total investment value of 4.58 billion USD until the year 2050. Many projects are “no regret actions” that can move forward immediately to help build confidence in the broader political situation. The interventions are grouped around the strategic planning objectives: Pollution Control, Sustainable Water Management and River Rehabilitation, Sustainable Agriculture, Jordan River Basin Governance, Ecological Rehabilitation, Sustainable Tourism and Cultural Heritage Development, and Urban and Infrastructure Development.

No less importantly, financial experts, Levant Consultancy, gave an overview today of capital market funding opportunities that will serve to finance the projects together with donor states.

DSCN7892Dr. Therese Sjömander-Magnusson, SIWI Transboundary Water Management Unit Director, had this to add: “The basin states now face a unique opportunity to support sustainable socio-economic development in their region by turning their cooperation into concrete investment.  SIWI has been commissioned to produce a policy tool outlining potential options for a governance structure for the Jordan Basin. We remain committed to supporting regional efforts in the Jordan River Basin, both by identifying innovative funding frameworks and helping to advance governance issues”.

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For more information:

Link to Master Plan: http://foeme.org/uploads/Regional_NGO_Master_Plan_Final.pdf

Link to the Annexes: http://foeme.org/uploads/Annexes_Regional_NGO_Master_Plan_Final.pdf

Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | June 4, 2015

Cross-border GWN trustees alumni activity at the Jordan River

Cross-border activity of GWN water trustees alumni at the Jordan River

1On May 29th, Good Water Neighbors (GWN) water trustees alumni and EcoPeace Middle East staff from Israel, Palestine, and Jordan came together at the Jordan River baptism site for our cross-border environmental education program. For political reasons, participants are not allowed to cross to the other side of the river, but the Jordanian group on the eastern river bank was nevertheless able to communicate across the Jordan with the Israeli and Palestinian group, which met on the other side of the river, only a stone’s throw away.

2As a contribution to the “Big Jump Challenge”, for which participants jump into their river to raise awareness of the importance of preserving fresh water resources and rivers, the partnering groups from EcoPeace Israel, EcoPeace Palestine, and EcoPeace Jordan wanted to simultaneously jump into the Jordan River. Unfortunately, they were not able to do so because of its deteriorating situation and high level of pollution. Instead, the youth decided to do a symbolic group jump on both river banks and turn the activity into a campaign to raise public awareness of the situation of the Jordan River.

3The signs they created spoke volumes about the river’s needs: “Water Cannot Wait”, “Save the Lower Jordan River”, and “Water Has No Borders”. They then took snapshots, which are being compiled into a short clip of participants holding small messages with facts about the Jordan River. Combined, they tell its sad story and call for governments’ commitment to clean pollution sources before they reach the river, the implementation of water conservation strategies. They also called on their governments to cooperate between each other to rehabilitate the Jordan River for the benefit of nature, the ecological system, and local communities, which could then flourish from Eco-Tourism in the future.

4In July, an EcoPeace delegation, formed of two water trustees alumni from Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, as well as two EcoPeace staff members, will be presenting this clip at the “Big Jump Challenge” conference in Brussels.

We hope that our voices will reach out to everyone, and that together, we will be able to return life to the Jordan River. Support us in our sacred mission to Rehabilitate the Jordan by visiting www.savethejordan.com

5Contributors: Lisa Kawar, Jordanian Education Coordinator and Ferris Storke, intern at the Tel Aviv Office

Jordanian, Israeli, and Palestinian Youth Meet at the Jordan River

1Good Water Neighbors (GWN) trustees alumni and EcoPeace staff from Israel, Palestine, and Jordan met on opposite sides of the Jordan River at the “Qasr el Yahud” / “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” baptism sites to advocate for the rehabilitation of the Jordan River. The participants jointly called on their governments to advance regional cooperation on shared water issues, creating posters reading “Water Cannot Wait,” “Save the Lower Jordan River,” and “Water has No Borders”. Support us in our mission to Rehabilitate the Jordan by visiting www.savethejordan.com and look out for a more detailed blog post soon! Pictures from the event are posted on our Facebook page.

2On May 2nd, the last regional camp of the GWN youth project was held at the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh Ecopark (SHE). Attended by 34 youth water trustees, the camp focused on technologies for sustainability. Students learned about simple and cheap techniques to desalinate water using solar energy, drip irrigation using plastic water bottles, and treating water for agricultural use. They also learned how to make a simple and cheap fly / mosquito trap by using only a plastic bottle, sugar, yeast, and water. Participants realized the importance of taking a lead role as youth water trustees in raising awareness and promoting sustainable practices to help preserve our shared resources.

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

Water & Energy Nexus Advocacy Tour to Brussels and Berlin

3As part of the advocacy efforts of EcoPeace’s newly launched Water & Energy Nexus Project (WEN), a delegation of eight professionals from EcoPeace and governmental representatives from Palestine, Jordan, and Israel conducted an introductory visit / advocacy tour to Brussels and Berlin between May 3rd and 8th. They conducted a series of meetings with officials from the EU parliament, the European Commission, research institutes, political parties, donor agencies, and the German government, in an attempt to raise political will and international support for WEN. National and regional round tables and conferences, as well as follow up visits to Brussels and Berlin will take place in the coming months.
The Water & Energy Nexus project is funded by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).

Green Economy Initiative wraps up Tour Guide Program

4The “Green Economy Initiatives” (GEI) project held its final Tour Guides tour last month for a group of 50 Tour Guides from Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. The tour focused on the Jordan Valley Regional Council area in Israel, showing participants several touristic sites that meet the ‘green economy’ criteria; sustainable management, leaving a low environmental impact & involvement of the local residents.
5Sites included the Rob Roy canoe outfitter, where participants enjoyed canoeing on the Lower Jordan’s River small stretch of still clean water; the “Benot Tmarim” initiative that offers driving of EcoCars up to a stunning viewpoint of the Jordan Valley; lunching at a locally owned restaurant serving food grown in the area, and more. It was exciting to see how an exchange of ideas led to an exchange of contact details. Click here to see many more photos in this Facebook album.
Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPeace: Adventure Zip Line!

One aspect of Green Economy Initiative was promoting adventure tourism in Jordan, Israel, and Paletsine. EcoPeace’s efforts culminated in the opening of the longest zipline in the Middle East in cooperation with Stronger team at the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark (SHE) in Jordan. Join us for the adventure of a lifetime at SHE!

picSHE’s kitchen is finally fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, allowing us to provide high quality services to our guests and cater to the needs of the increased number of visitors to the EcoPark. Old shipping containers were reused, and heat insulators, as well as gypsum board were installed. In addition, the kitchen now has a new cooling system to better preserve food and maintain food quality.

Updates from Auja EcoCenter

8The Auja EcoCenter is now equipped with a Home Biogas system, supplying the kitchen with an additional supply of methane gas by treating organic waste from the EcoCenter’s kitchen through anaerobic digesters. The EcoCenter is now one step closer to being fully dependent on renewable energy sources.

The Auja EcoCenter also installed eco-facilities in the “Small Hands” kindergarten in Jericho. This marks an important step forward for the Auja EcoCenter’s mission to raise environmental awareness among children and promote environmental education in kindergartens, schools, and universities.

9Together with the Ashtar Theatre in Ramallah, the Auja EcoCenter hosted a theatrical performance, discussing the challenges of the Jordan Valley area. Among the more than 25 participants were residents of Auja, the Jordan Valley, other towns in the West Bank, as well as visitors from abroad.

Ein Gedi EcoCenter installs Aquaponic and Hydroponic systems

In the framework of the Green Economy Initiatives (GEI), LivinGreen recently set up an educational aquaponics and hydroponics systems at the Ein Gedi EcoCenter to grow organic vegetables. Aquaponics is a method to grow both fish and plants in a re-circulating system for the mutual benefit of both. The systems, financed by USAID, are designed for food security in poor communities. The aquaponics system consists of a fishpond, whose water goes through a sedimentation and a biological filter. In the filters, bacteria turn the poisonous nitrites and ammonia into nitrate, which is then used to fertilize vegetables in the hydroponics systems. These systems are based on a method of growing vegetables or plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water, without soil.0

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

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On the 26th of May, 2015, EcoPeace Middle East  representative Ms. Nancy Haddaden; Project Manager participated  in  a  conference organized by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs “MoMA” : “Development of a National Strategy to Improve the Municipal Solid Waste Management Sector in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” .

315The conference aimed at presenting Possible Options & Recommendations toward the Establishment of an Integrated & Affordable MSWM System and falls under the Regional and Local Development  Project “RLDP”.   During the conference, the proposed strategy reflected on a comprehensive outlook about solid waste in the Jordanian context and outlined Jordan’s efforts in addressing the issue by formulating an action plan, according to the study conducted by the project consortium; LDK Consultant Engineers & Planners from Greece and  Mostaqbal Engineering & Consultants from Jordan.

During the presentation delivered by the Jordanian senior consultant Engineer Ammar Abu Drais; EcoPeace’s priority project “Rehabilitation of Deir Allah Landfill Site” study was illustrated as a pilot which could be replicated for other landfill sites in the Kingdom.  Mr. Abu Drais encouraged relevant stakeholders to request a copy of the study from MoMA or EcoPeace’s Office in Amman.  347
331Ms. Haddaden discussed the proposed rehabilitation options of Deir Allah’s baseline study with his Excellency Mr.  Walid Al Masri – Minister of MoMA, who stressed the importance of dealing with the organic waste generated in the Jordan Valley in a manner that could support agricultural activities through the production of compost. It is worth mentioning that the Minister’s recommendation coincides with one of the rehabilitation options addressed in  EcoPeace’s Deir Allah study.

The organization future  plan is to advocate for an official adaptation of this  option by MoMA.

Media Department/ Amman Office.


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