April 2010

FoEME is deeply saddened to report that on Sunday, March 7th a terrible car accident killed former FoEME staff member Efrat Gamliel, her two very young children and her mother.

Efrat was the first Israeli project coordinator for the Good Water Neighbors project, from 2001 to 2003. She played an instrumental role in creating the framework for the success of the project.
The FoEME family mourns this tragic loss of life.

On April 21, 2010 from 9:00-15:00, Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) and the Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem will hold a conference on “Israeli Preparedness for the Climate Crisis – Impacts on the Water System”.

The conference will focus on the subject of water conservation policy in Israel, and will include discussions on the topic as well as exposure to relevant Israeli technologies. Click here for more information and for the conference program. (Conference language – Hebrew)

The conference is open to the public. Interested teachers and scientists are particularly encouraged to attend. However, spaces are limited. Please RSVP by contacting talk@mada.org.il.

FoEME’s Climate Change efforts are supported by the Heinrich Boell Stiftung.

From March 3-5, 2010, the Israeli Tamar Regional Council (Dead Sea area) hosted their Jordanian Good Water Neighbors partnering communities of Safi and Fifa in a cross-border women’s gathering.

The women first visited ecotourism initiatives operated by Arab women in the North of Israel, and then visited ecotourism and eco-agriculture initiatives in the Tamar Regional Council area. They also participated in a handicraft workshop in the ‘Date House’ adjacent to Kibbutz Ein Gedi, visited FoEME’s EcoCenter and enjoyed a social evening with residents of the Tamar Regional Council and other guests at the Ein Gedi Club.

Read our blog page for a more detailed description of the visit, written by FoEME field staff in Ein Gedi, Gundi Shachal, and view many more photos from this successful cross border visit on our website’s photo album.

In honor of World Water Day, March 22, 2010, FoEME gathered Palestinian youth from 8 participating Good Water Neighbors communities throughout the West Bank for a 2 day “on-site” learning experience about water related issues and their environment.

The youth met at the newly established Jordan Valley Environmental Education Center in Auja in Palestine, where each group first introduced their community and their local environmental issues. Additional presentations were given on the use of GIS software and environmental hazard idenification, ending with Water Trustees from Wadi Fukin performing a small play about domestic water conservation, highlighting strategies to reduce household water consumption.

The 2nd day included an exciting nature walk down Wadi Qelt, with lessons describing the valley’s formation, ecology and current hydrological status, and a visit to a solid waste site near Jericho to put into practice what was learned the night before.

Read more about this 2-day gathering on our blog page.

Visit our Good Water Neighbors press coverage page for recent articles from Woodrow Wilson’s New Security Beat, the Epoch Times and others.
The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by USAID, SIDA and the Belgium Foreign Ministry’s Peace Building Desk.

During this second year of our Community GIS project, 36 youth from 7 communities in Israel underwent a course on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in order to map the location of potential groundwater and stream pollutants which were reported by their fellow classmates.

During the course the students learned about the different uses of GIS, how to use the many tools the software has to offer and by the end of the sessions, created their own hazard layer. At the end of the course the motivation to continue gathering data and mapping was high.

The CGIS project is supported by the EU Partnerships for Peace program.

This month FoEME met with Vice President of the European Parliament Ms. Rodi Kratsa of the European People’s Party to advance support for a European Parliamentary resolution concerning regional efforts to rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River. FoEME will be traveling to Brussels in June together with a delegation of Jordan River Valley Mayors to participate in Parliamentary events to raise awareness about the state of the Lower Jordan River and show support for legislative action in the EU Parliament currently being advanced by the S&D Group and other EU Parliamentary Parties.

The Jordan River Rehabilitation Project also held a Palestinian National Advisory Committee meeting, involving key stakeholders from Palestine, to review final drafts of both the Environmental Flows Study and the Transboundary Diagnosis Analysis, a cost benefit analysis of the potential opportunities and trade offs to return water to the Jordan River. Both of these FoEME studies will be released in May 2010.

The FoEME’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project was featured this month in an 18-page article in National Geographic Magazine. The article focuses on the fine line between hostility and cooperation involving shared water resources and highlights FoEME’s unique regional approach.
Visit our Jordan River press coverage page for recent articles from Frontlines and National Geographic Magazine.

FoEME staff participated in the 13th Living Lakes conference held at Lake Chapala in Mexico. Living Lakes is an international network and partnership whose mission is to enhance the protection, restoration and rehabilitation of lakes, wetlands and other freshwater bodies of the world. FoEME is a member of this international network with the Dead Sea registered as the partner Lake.

During the conference, a Declaration acknowledging FoEME’s efforts on the rehabilitation of the Jordan River and Dead Sea was signed by all members, and will be sent to key persons in the three Governments – Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian – urging them to take swift action to revive both sites. FoEME is grateful for the support shown by the Living Lakes Network of our work.
The Jordan River Rehabilitation Project is supported by USAID, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Green Environment Fund and the Global Nature Fund / Ursula Merz Foundation.