October 2010

FoEME congratulates the European Parliament for passing an historic resolution on September 9th, bringing attention to the critical state of the Lower Jordan River and calling upon the governments of Israel, Jordan and Palestine to work together to rehabilitate the Jordan River.

Initiated by leaders of the Group of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) with strong support from all major parties in the EU Parliament, this resolution marks the first time that the EU Parliament has directly called upon leaders in the region to address the state of the Jordan River and calling on the European Commission to consider allocation of financial resources to help rehabilitate the river.

Read more in FoEME’s September 9th press release on the issue. Click here for the historic resolution.

FoEME is proud to report that the US Environmental Protection Agency launched a new toolkit to support best practices in integrating public participation into environmental projects, and that our Jordan River Rehabilitation Project was selected as a model for this toolkit.

They cited that our public participation process greatly improved relationships, trust, and credibility among the regional stakeholders, and that the Regional Advisory Committee that was formed as part of the project is unique in that it is the only regional forum actively working to find solutions for the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River.

Based on our previously released ‘Towards a Living Jordan: An Economic Analysis of Policy Options for Water Conservation in Jordan, Israel and Palestine” report, FoEME published an in-depth study on the Israeli water economy entitled “An Economic Analysis of Policy Options for Water Conservation in Israel” attempting to identify opportunities to conserve freshwater within Israel.

It estimates the water savings from a range of different policies with each one being considered a “wedge” or a piece of a pie towards a given conservation goal. The report is also available in Hebrew.

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.

‘Clean Up the World’ is a community based environmental campaign that inspires and empowers communities from every corner of the globe to clean up, fix up and conserve their environment.

On September 18th, FoEME’s Amman office, in collaboration with the Australian Embassy in Amman and the Marriott Hotel, celebrated the ‘Clean Up the World’ campaign at the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan. Participants, including 20 girls from the Sheikh Hussein “Good Water Neighbors” community, collected large amounts of garbage, and then enjoyed lunch prepared by the local community.

Read more on our blog page and view photos on our Flickr page.

The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by USAID, SIDA and the Belgium Foreign Ministry’s Peace Building Desk.

FoEME is organizing a bicycling event on October 9th, to call attention to the threatening impacts of climate change on the Lower Jordan River. The ride will be part of the Global Work Party, 10/10/10 organized with 350.org.

Many enthusiastic cyclists have already signed up for the event. There is still place for more participants. For details and to sign up, click on the following link: Jordan River bicycle ride.

FoEME’s Climate Change project is supported by Heinrich Böll Stiftung.

This month, the Transboundary Advocacy to Parliamentarians over shared water issues (“TAP”) project, held 2 cross border meetings with active residents of several Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian communities; one meeting was held in Jordan and one in Israel & Palestine.

The group toured sites that exemplify the water and environment issues facing the Jordan Valley, including a visit to the Jordan Valley Authority Water Control Center in Jordan, and while in Israel, the Director of the Regional Water Association in the Beit She’an Regional Council explained about the water distribution system in the Jordan Valley.

Residents are learning how to advocate (1) better sustainable practices in water management to each of their governments and (2) the need for a fair share of water allocation in the region, both between the people in the region and with nature.

The “Transboundary Advocacy to Parliamentarians” project is supported by the European Union’s Partnerships for Peace program.

America’s PBS News Hour featured FoEME in an important Middle East Water Story entitled “In Middle East, Coalition Aims to Ease Tension over Water Resources”.

Our message of the need for more equitable water sharing between the people in the region, the benefits gained by working together to protect our water resources, as well as filming our “Big Jump” event on the Lower Jordan River in August, are all seen and heard in this 8+ minute long item.

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