EcoPeace at EBRD 27th Annual meeting

EcoPeace Middle East, represented by its Jordanian co-director Mr. Munqeth Mehyar, Deputy Director Ms. Yana Abu Taleb and the Water Energy Nexus project coordinator Mr. Mohammad Bundokji attended the 27th annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) held in Jordan on the 9th and the 10th of May 2018. The main theme of the meeting was “Energizing Economies” and EcoPeace was present to promote its Water Renewable Energy Nexus Project as an example of an initiative that can energize the economies of the region as a whole, in a manner that creates healthy interdependencies.

Diplomat Tour “Gaza on the Edge”

On May 28th, EcoPeace in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung held the “Gaza on the Edge” study tour of the Israeli areas neighboring the Gaza Strip for representatives from the diplomatic and international community. The tour aimed to see first hand the cross border water and sanitation issues and better understand the challenges faced by all sides. Participants had the opportunity to hear from experts, such as Professor Shaul Mishal talk about Hamas, and the Mayor of Hof Ashkelon, Yair Farjun, speak from the community perspective. Take home messages included the urgency to solve the Gaza water and sanitation crisis and a clear understanding that it is impossible to disengage from a shared environment.
Hebron Basin Town Hall Meeting

On the 10th of May, EcoPeace organized a town hall meeting under the Auspices of Halhul Municipality discussing ‘Water and Sanitation in Halhul: between Reality and Challenges’, which was attended by 100 residents and representatives of associations. Mr. Hijazi Mereb, Mayor of Halhul, presented the current status of water and sanitation issues in Halhul, plans for establishing the Water Sector Regulatory Joint Council for the area, and potential cooperation with EcoPeace. Nada Majdalani, EcoPeace’s Palestinian Director, spoke about EcoPeace’s objectives of improving the lives of residents through water and sanitation solutions. Technical presentations were provided by the Halhul municipality, Ministry of Health, and on gender issues related to water and sanitation. The conclusion was that more discussions were needed.

Exhibit: “Lighthouse to the Consciousness of Gaza”

Every time Gaza is in the headlines, dozens of Israelis come together to strengthen the residents of the Gaza Envelope and to call for the end of violence. In cooperation with Sapir College, EcoPeace is involved in preparing an exhibit called “The Lighthouse to the Consciousness of Gaza” (Ha’Migdalor). EcoPeace’s part of this exhibit will explain the collapse of the water and sewage systems in Gaza and the implications for public health and water security, region wide.

EcoPeace in Chicago and New York

At the invitation of Northwestern University in the United States, EcoPeace co-Directors Munqeth Mehyar and Gidon Bromberg held a set of events and meetings in Chicago and New York City. The highlight was the Third Annual Symposium on “Water in Israel and the Middle East” organized by Northwestern Center for Water Research and the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies, where presentations were made on our water and renewable energy exchange and water diplomacy issues with a focus on the crises of Gaza. Other meetings were held with our International Advisory Committee and organizations interested in partnering with EcoPeace to solve our critical water and environment issues.
Youth Water Trustee Tours Take Place Across the Region

Wadi Qana Nature Reserve
Three educational tours this month took place to Wadi Qana nature reserve highlighting the challenges faced by Palestinian local farmers and residents due to political restrictions placed on them and a drying environment. Youth water trustees from Baqa Al-Sharqya, Jericho, Auja, and Dirstia visited the reserve and the Direstia old town. EcoPeace community coordinators led the tours accompanied by the mayor of the Dirstia municipality.

Yarkon and Jordan River Basins

Youth water trustees from high schools in Tel Aviv toured the Yarkon River Basin Neighbor’s Path. They witnessed the serious water quality and quantity issues facing the river and discussed the crossborder issues of the basin including the state of water shortage and pollution issues on the Palestinian side of the basin. Another group of Youth Water Trustees from the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee ended their school year with a tour and discussion on the real-time impacts of climate change on the drying lake and the reversal of Israel’s national water carrier as a response.
Cross Border Camp – Jordanian/Israeli

Early in May, Youth water trustees from Jordan and Israel participated in a cross border camp at Sharhabil Bin Hasnah EcoPark in Jordan. Youth were divided into mixed groups and taken to the North Shouneh, Sheikh Hussein, and Al Mashara’a districts where they saw first hand the water supply and sanitation challenges faced by residents. Upon returning to the park, the students engaged in discussions on the difficulties Jordan in particular faces, but also the common challenges faced across the region and their role as water trustees to help solve these challenges.

The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and USAID CMM West Bank / Gaza. Activities conducted in Hebron/Negev/Basin additionally are supported by the Government of Canada.