Diplomat Tour “Gaza on the Edge”

On October 24th, EcoPeace staff led a group of representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations on a study tour of the Israeli areas neighboring the Gaza Strip. The tour “Gaza on the Edge” showed the transboundary implications of the Gaza water and sanitation crisis on the Israeli communities, proving that political borders do not apply to the environment. The participants had the chance to meet with Mayor Alon Shuster, one of the Israeli mayor signatories of a letter addressed to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Lieberman demanding that Israel takes action to solve Gaza’s water, energy and sanitation crisis.

This event was undertaken in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Israel office.

EcoPeace at “One Young World” Summit – Bogota, Columbia

Rotem Weizman, EcoPeace’s Community Coordinator, was chosen to represent Israel at the One Young World Summit in Bogota, Colombia. Rotem was chosen as one of the five delegates to present their work during the conference at the Peace & Reconciliation Plenary Session. She was introduced by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, who also spoke about the importance of Environment and Peace Building and praised EcoPeace’s work both on stage and on Twitter. Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan and other young delegates spoke about their efforts to promote peace around the world. This is a speech you must listen to.

“Dead Sea Guardians” team in a Sundance Film Institute Lab – Utah, USA

EcoPeace was honored to receive an invitation, together with two Israeli filmmakers working on a documentary called “Dead Sea Guardians”, based on our last year’s Dead Sea Swim event, to participate in a 4-day “Stories of Change” Lab by the renowned Sundance Film Institute. The “Dead Sea Guardians” were 1 of 4 teams from around the world chosen to attend the workshop, held in the beautiful Sundance Resort in Utah. Each team was comprised of filmmakers and social entrepreneurs, with each one at a different phase of film development. Stay tuned for the full length feature!

Water & Climate: Meeting of the Great Rivers of the Word, International Summit – Rome, Italy

EcoPeace’s Jordan River Project Coordinator, Mira Edelstein, was invited to present the organization’s efforts on the rehabilitation of the Jordan River at the “Water & Climate: Meeting of the Great Rivers of the World” International summit, that took place from October 23-25 in Rome. Along with other great rivers around the world, including the Amazon, Mississippi, Yangtze, Danube, Rhine, Murray-Darling and many more, this conference aimed at raising the importance of including climate change mitigation into river management. The declaration of the conference will be presented at the upcoming Climate Conference in Bonn.
New Halhul Environmental Course Opens with EcoPeace

EcoPeace’s Palestinian staff was contacted by the Halhul Municipality and its Youth Council to present our work in the field of environment and water at the opening of their new environmental course in Halhul City. The course began with a 6 kilometer nature hike with a number of institutions and representatives from the Hebron Governorate in attendance. We look forward to continued cooperation in this important course and applaud those that helped in its development.
EcoPeace teaches sustainability at YOCOPAS

On October 27th, as part of the Eastern Mediterranean International School YOCOPAS conference, Rotem Weizman, ‘Good Water Neighbors’ project’s Community Coordinator of the Yarkon Basin, led a workshop for students from around the world about community activism. The students built a drip irrigation bottle garden and learned about how these activities can break language barriers, bring people together and make sustainability accessible to all. In two hours the students changed their school’s entrance from a boring fence to a recycled blooming garden.

Sapir Academic College – EcoPeace’s 1st Academic Course

This summer, a joint course was held by the Sapir Academic College and EcoPeace Middle East, the first of its kind, led by Dr. Shlomit Tamari, ‘Good Water Neighbors’ project’s Community Coordinator of the Hebron-Besor Basin, and lecturer in environmental education at Sapir College. 37 students took part in the course on ‘Environmental Activism and Peace-Building’. One student, a Bedouin resident of the town of Rahat, wrote in the final paper of the course: “I was never interested enough to delve into environmental and water issues, but this course made me start thinking about them”.
Hands of Peace alumni – EcoPeace tour and workshop in P’ki’in

As part of our efforts to build partnerships with like-minded organizations and create a collective impact, Adam Waddell, our Good Water Neighbor’s project Community Coordinator in the Jordan Valley presented EcoPeace’s vision of cross-border environmental dialogue and regional cooperation to a group of Hands of Peace alumni, which held a retreat in P’ki’in, a village located in a mixed Arab-Jewish area where coexistence is a way of life. We both hope to foster continued cooperation between the two organizations.
Cross Border Jordanian/Palestinian Municipal Visit

EcoPeace sees a major development between the two Good Water Neighbor’s municipalities of Madaba (Jordan) and Obadieh (Palestine). They organized a regional visit, exchanged ideas and promoted more cooperation on tourism and sanitation. On the 17th of October, ten participants from the Obadieh City headed by the Mayor, visited Madaba. The visit included discussion on continuing the ‘twinning’ between the two municipalities, finding common solutions to a number of environmental and tourism problems, and continuing general information exchange. The Palestinian group was welcomed by the Mayor Eng. Ahmad Salameh Al Azaidah.

The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and USAID CMM West Bank / Gaza.

EcoPeace gets briefed on Hebron issues

EcoPeace’s Palestinian Director and senior staff conducted a series of visits to the Hebron district municipalities to discuss water, sanitation, and infrastructure challenges and opportunities in the region. The visits included Hebron, Dura, and Yatta municipalities where discussions stressed the importance of civic engagement, women’s participation, and the promotion of the Hebron Waste Water Treatment Plant. Also included was a site visit to Sussiya, where the team met the Head of the Council and witnessed the harsh reality of residents not having proper access to water, sanitation, and energy.

This project is supported by the Government of Canada
MEDFORVAL annual meeting – Lebanon

EcoPeace Amman staff Abed Sultan participated in the 3rd annual MEDFORVAL meeting held from October 23rd – 25th at the Shouf Biosphere Reserve in Lebanon. Members from 19 Mediterranean Sites (our Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark is a proud member site) gathered to discuss the ecological values of Mediterranean Forests. Participants brought up ideas for future projects and the prospects of expanding to other sites in the Mediterranean region. The meeting included additional topics such as active community participation, authentic local food diets, best nurseries practices, seedling strength and adaptation to climate change in relation to forests. Click on this video for a good summary of the annual meeting.
Activities, groups and events at our SHE EcoPark

We had a very busy and exciting month at our Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark. Some of the highlights:
Seeds of Peace youth from Amman engaged in several activities including geodesic dome building, a hiking tour, the Zipline and the Giant Swing;
Poetry and writers evening with many poets and writers from Jordan, including a tour of the EcoPark led by Munqeth Mehyar, Jordanian Director, who showed them the facilities and gave an introduction about the Park’s objectives;
Rotary Club brought the Prince Aliah School from Amman to visit the EcoPark, hearing lectures about hygiene and water, and toured the EcoPark with all its different environmental education stations;
50 orphans were hosted at the EcoPark who came via the Local Charity Foundation; seeing their faces on the Giant Swing at the Park made us very happy;
“Garden of Good” – the Italian Embassy in Jordan, “Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide (Gariwo)”, a non-profit organization that deals with culture, education and memory, and EcoPeace, inaugurated a “Garden of Good” at the EcoPark this month. 7 memorials were erected for 7 Jordanian personalities who have made notable efforts and sacrifices for humanity. In attendance were Mayors, the Governor, as well as family members of the fallen who planted 7 trees near the park’s Deluxe Cabins area. (read more in this Jordan Times article or in this Gariwo article).