March 14, 2011 – International Day of Action for Rivers

Amman / Bethlehem / Tel Aviv

The International Day of Action for Rivers, Water, and Life was launched in 1997. It aims to raise awareness about destructive water development projects, reclaim the health of rivers and watersheds, and demand the equitable and sustainable management of waterways.

The Lower Jordan River is arguably the most famous River in the world, of international significance to more than half of humanity due to its rich natural and cultural heritage and its symbolic value and importance to three of the world’s major religions. FoEME’s recently released Environmental Flows Study and complementary economic analysis of policy opportunities to conserve fresh water indicate that today, over 98% of the Jordan River’s historical flow is being diverted by Israel, Syria and Jordan for domestic and agricultural use, but at the same time nearly a billion cubic meters of water could be saved in the region by enacting conservation strategies.

“FoEME’s grassroots environmental education efforts, including hundreds of youth throughout the region, have created a new generation of advocates. In their creative campaign song they call on our national leaders for change” said Gidon Bromberg, FoEME’s Israeli Director.

“History has shown us that unilateral actions and competition over the shared water of the Jordan River basin only led to the destruction of its unique ecosystem. FoEME’s youth activities raise awareness about the importance of thinking and acting ‘regionally’ including equal water rights and fair share allocations to create a sustainable future for the Jordan River,” described Nader Khateeb, FoEME’s Palestinian Director.

Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) has joined this year’s International Day of Action for Rivers by releasing a song, composed by Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli youth, under the direction of Ishay Oz, at a recent FoEME youth camp, describing the hope for the rehabilitation of region’s shared water systems.

The poignant words of youth from communities along both sides of the Jordan River remind our governments to meet their commitments to rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River. Article II of the 1994 Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan specifically commits the Israeli and Jordanian governments to do so. “Young people from both sides of the Jordan Valley understand that a clean and safe environment is part of a sound future. This international day of action is an opportunity to remind our governments of peace treaty commitments made over a decade ago that sadly remain unfulfilled” said Munqeth Mehyar, FoEME’s Jordanian Director.

For more information on FoEME’s cross-border environmental peacemaking efforts including the Good Water Neighbors Project and the Jordan River Rehabilitation Project please visit and contact:

∙ Nader Al Khateeb, Palestinian Director of Friends of the Earth Middle East
Tel: 972 522875022, (spoken languages: English and Arabic)

∙ Munqeth Mehyar, Jordanian Director of Friends of the Earth Middle East
Tel 962 777548477, (spoken languages: English and Arabic)

∙ Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director of Friends of the Earth Middle East
Tel: 972 52 4532597, (spoken languages: English and Hebrew)