Israel and the Palestinian Authority Re-establish Joint Water Committee
As many of our supporters may know, we have spent the past few years, via our Water Cannot Wait campaign, highlighting the lose–lose implications of prevailing water arrangements between Israelis and Palestinians. Though all the details have yet to be made public, the Joint Water Committee is now being re-initiated under new terms. This will help advance on-the-ground water supply and sanitation solutions to improve the livelihoods and environment for Palestinians and Israelis alike. The agreement however, still falls short of our objective to reach an equitable agreement on the fair and sustainable management of shared water and environmental resources. An equitable agreement will have a transformative impact that will contribute to the building of trust and confidence between the parties. Read more about these developments here. (photo credit: COGAT)
Regional Conference Proceedings
In November 2016, EcoPeace held its annual regional water conference entitled “Water Security and Sustainable Development for our Common Future” in Jordan, as reported in our December newsletter. The full Conference Proceedings are now finalized, including transcribed speeches and links to presentations and videos of all sessions.
National Teacher’s Seminar in Jordan
Our Amman office organized a National Teacher’s seminar at Sharhabil bin Hasseneh EcoPark from January 5th to 7th with seventy teachers participating in the event. The seminar focused on best methods for knowledge transfer of environmental issues to students. Teachers shared experiences of working with students and were presented with the EcoPeace’s Resource Guide for Environmental Education’s methodology on how to raise awareness on water issues. With the help of our Community Coordinators, they became familiarized with the systematic approach of the guide before actively participating in activities outlined in the text.
Chinese Students’ Visit
On January 17th our Community Coordinator from the Alexander Stream took a group of 60 students from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Beijing University on a tour in Emek Hefer. They were introduced to the issues that face the Alexander/Zomer Basin, and to EcoPeace’s activities in the Basin. Students were also given a presentation on cross-border environmental initiatives.
Youth Water Trustees at Ort Mekif Aravi Ramle School
On Monday, January 23rd, 37 students of the Ort Mekif Aravi Ramle Youth Water Trustee’s program inaugurated a new hydroponic system on the school’s grounds. All students will be able to use the system as a tool towards understanding water conservation and conducting experiments as part of the school’s environmental studies course. During the ceremony, the students described the system’s design to the National Environmental Studies Supervisor, Ms. Sarah Zaoui.
Then, on January 24th, Youth Water Trustees went on a field trip to the Yarkon Basin as part of the Good Water Neighbors Project. The day began with a tour of the Shafdan wastewater treatment plant, where students learned about reclaimed water. The plant currently treats 370,000 m3/d of municipal wastewater from a population of over two million in the Greater Tel Aviv area and uses its secondary effluent as irrigation water in the arid southern part of Israel. The group later visited Seven Mills in the Yarkon Park, where they learned about the history of the basin from the late 19th century until today, and visited the nearby constructed wetlands to learn more about the Yarkon Rehabilitation plan.
Honoring Jordan’s National Tree Planting Day
On January 15th Sharhabil bin Hasseneh EcoPark hosted an event in honor of Jordan’s National Tree Planting Day under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah the II. Her Royal Highness Princess Basmah bint al Hassan led the event with the planting of a carob tree. The crowd was also fortunate enough to hear the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Khaled Huneifat, speak about SHE’s current reforestation initiative.
Attendees included the Governor of Irbid, representatives of the Jordan Valley Authority and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, as well as many volunteers. EcoPeace Middle East is overjoyed that our EcoPark has received the attention of such influential figures, who will hopefully aid us in our next aim of registering the park as a Special Conservation Site.
Excerpts of Australian Intern Steven Brine’s Experience in Auja
“…After years of watching countless stories of political conflict in the Middle East, I was amazed by the severity of the region’s environmental crises, the inspiring work of EcoPeace Middle East, and the enthusiasm with which Mr. Bromberg spoke. As Mr. Bromberg was whisked away by Departmental officials, I managed to briefly convey my admiration for his work. “Why don’t you apply for an internship?” he replied, “We’d take you tomorrow…”
“… My experiences on these first few days would be repeated throughout my time in the Jordan Valley, continually eradicating any pre-existing expectations I may have had. I gradually began to understand a complex and contradictory atmosphere of cooperation and tension between communities. On the one hand, the structural constraints of the Israeli occupation in the West Bank were unmistakable. On the other, cross border cooperation and coexistence inspired hope of change.…”
“… Auja EcoCenter was a remarkable facility to learn about the region’s challenges… I wish Auja EcoCenter every success in the future in sowing the seeds of change in the minds of the region’s youth, and shining a light on local issues to its foreign visitors. Most of all, I wish for lasting peace, justice and prosperity in a land that means so much to all.”
To read more about the Auja EcoCenter, visit their website. A full account of Steven’s experience can be viewed on our EcoPeace blog.
EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and USAID West Bank/Gaza.
Keeping the Dead Sea Afloat (in the news)
This month, EcoPeace staff gave a full day tour of the state of the Dead Sea, its environmental challenges and its proposed solutions to journalists from i24 news, for their debut broadcast in the U.S. EcoPeace aims to keep the ecological crisis of the Dead Sea on the front burner of the media’s attention.
Keep an eye out for their broadcast.
EcoPeace’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project, including faith-based activities, are supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the Osprey Foundation.
EcoPeace Washington DC Internship Opportunity
EcoPeace is looking for interns to work in Washington DC in conjunction with our newest initiative: the Center for Water Security. This initiative works on expanding our work globally, taking our knowledge of practical consensus building around environmental issues to other crisis-stricken, troubled, and water-scarce areas.
The Center will offer training, educating, and consulting services to civil society organizations in different regions around the world with the goal of empowering civil society to resolve and respond to conflict issues over shared water resources. This minimum 3 month internship is an opportunity for high-caliber international students and young professionals to gain first-hand experience in the emerging field of environmental peacemaking, as well as providing support for EcoPeace’s ongoing projects and programs.
More information on this internship can be found here.
Stay Tuned for our New Website!
EcoPeace is finalizing our new and modern website in the coming weeks.
Our new address will be www.ecopeaceme.org and will go online sometime in February.
EcoPeace will be an exhibitor at the annual J-Street Conference, Feb. 25th-27th in Washington DC.