Water Cannot Wait campaign launch

EcoPeace/ Friends of the Earth Middle East, together with the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) held a conference in Tel Aviv as part of the launch of our “Water Cannot Wait” campaign. The conference, entitled “Cross Border Environmental Issues and Water Resources in the Context of the Peace Process”, featured Israeli Justice Minister & Chief Israeli negotiator Ms. Tzipi Livni, renowned NY Times journalist Thomas Friedman, and a panel of water experts, who discussed the need for joint management of cross-border environmental issues, with a particular focus on the urgency of dealing with water as one of the final status issues of the peace process.

The campaign calls on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and US Secretary of State John Kerry to urgently move forward on environment and water issues in the current negotiations.

Click here to read the 10 reasons – for Israelis – why water and environment solutions can no longer wait. Read more in our media release, and many articles, including from the Guardian, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and more on the project’s press coverage webpage.

FoEME’s Water Cannot Wait Campaign is supported by the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Jordan River “Faith-Based” Advocacy Program
FoEME staff gave a presentation on the bridge between faith and environmental activism as part of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD) Women’s Interfaith Ecology Project seminar series. The unique seminar brought together a group of 30 Muslim, Christian and Jewish women in Israel between the ages of 19 and 26 to promote a more sustainable and peaceful future. FoEME’s Jordan River Faith Based Advocacy Program was presented as an example of how faith based communities can come together in partnership on environmental issues in the region. To learn more about this seminar please read the ICSD’s blog.

FoEME’s Jordan River Faith Based Advocacy Program, part of the Jordan River Rehabilitation Project, is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Osprey Foundation.

Battir – Israeli High Court Hearing
On January 29th, the High Court of Israel held another Hearing on the petition submitted by FoEME and the Village of Battir regarding our objection to the building of the Separation Barrier in this sensitive landscape.

Although we thought that this was to be the Final Hearing, the issue is complex and the court has now requested further clarifications from the respondents (mainly the Israeli Ministry of Defense) and ordered that both the Israel Railway and the Ministry of Transport join as additional respondents to the petitions. More details in our latest press release following the Hearing.

Read articles by Sky News, The Telegraph, Middle East Online and more, published ahead of the Hearing, on our Good Water Neighbors / press coverage page.

5 Cross Border Youth Camps
January was another month packed full of cross border youth camps. 5 cross border camps were held during 2 weekends, involving 180 youth “Water Trustees”, from more than 20 “Good Water Neighbors” communities.

As always, the camps begin with introductory “ice breaking” games, and then later, a hike or visit to the nearby water source, learning about the community’s water and environmental story. Fun games, such as scavenger-hunt type missions, tracking down specific sites and at each point discussing a different environmental issue, and circle games requiring cooperation and teamwork, were also part of each camp experience. Read more about the specific youth camp held in Beit Alpha in this blog.

The Good Water Neighbors project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the European Union’s Partnership for Peace Program, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark goes bird watching!
Further to last month’s item about building a “bird hide” in the Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark; we have almost completed the structure, made out of different colored plastic bottles filled with sand. This environmental education activity was carried out by a group of students from the Kings Academy in Jordan over several days, where they learned about the importance of recycling and the contribution of bird watching to a “green” economy.

Looking for something to do this weekend? You are invited to come bird watching at the EcoPark and see the variety of birds that have returned to the area!

FoEME’s new “Green Economy Initiatives” project is funded by USAID’s Conflict Management and Mitigation Program.

Cloud Seeding
FoEME’s Jordanian Director Mr. Munqeth Mehyar met with the Ambassador of Thailand Mr. Piriya Khemponr in Amman Thursday January 30th. The two discussed the water situation in the region and looked into “Cloud Seeding”, a program successfully developed and used in Thailand to enhance rainfall. Once implemented, the program is expected to help Jordan in managing its atmospheric and water resources. Click here for more information about Thailand’s Royal Rainmaking Program.