EcoPeace International Advisory Committee Member Presents at the Vatican

Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith, a member of EcoPeace’s International Advisory Committee (IAC), recently represented EcoPeace Middle East at the March 7-9, 2019, Vatican conference in Rome on “Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals: Listening to the cry of the earth and of the poor.” Rabbi Dabba Smith spoke about how he expresses his faith through his affiliation with EcoPeace and our regional cooperative work to rehabilitate the Jordan River and Dead Sea. The invitation to speak came through the recommendation of another IAC member, Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp.

EcoPeace Speaks in Jordan and Australia

EcoPeace’s Israeli Director Mr. Gidon Bromberg has been in Australia recently and delivered talks on the work of EcoPeace and the issue of water and climate security to full houses at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Melbourne University and the Parliament of New South Wales. Check out the links for coverage of his talks from ABC National Radio and +61J.

Abdelrahman Sultan, EcoPeace Projects Manager in Jordan, took part in the 5th Arab Water Week from the 3rd to the 5th of March. The conference focused on moving towards sustainable development in the water and sanitation sector. Abdelrahman presented EcoPeace’s Water-Energy Nexus concept, which stirred a lot of debate and discussion about its implications from both a technical and political perspective. Most of the participants agreed with the technical information but there was a strong debate on the political aspects of the concept.
EcoPeace Palestinian Director Meetings with World Bank Vice-President and German Members of Parliament

On March 11th, EcoPeace staff and Director from the Ramallah Office met for a briefing with Ms. Laura Tuck, Vice-President for Sustainable Development of the World Bank Group. The meeting came as part of the World Bank support to the water sector in Palestine on multiple dimensions. EcoPeace highlighted the impact of its educational program and its cross-border cooperation and advocacy efforts. During the meeting the World Bank Group spoke highly of EcoPeace efforts on advancing the operation of the NGEST project in Gaza Strip.
On March 26th, a delegation from the German Bundestag (Parliament) visited the EcoPeace office in Ramallah, the delegation included Mr. Thomas Westphal and Dr. Gesine Lotzsh, as well as Ms. Mirjam Rosentein Director of NAFFO a think tank specialized in Middle East Peace. The delegation was briefed on EcoPeace programs and the findings and recommendations of our latest publication on Climate Change and regional security funded by the German Government.

Neighbor Path Tours in Jordan and Palestine

On March 16th, EcoPeace in Jordan conducted its first tour of the Jordan valley with a public high school located near the Dead Sea. The tour was led by Mohammad Al Nawasra and included the Jordan Valley Authority’s Control Unit, the Shrine of Abu Obaidah, a pumping station for the King Abdullah Canal, the Peace Island (Al Baqoora), and SHE Park. The participants learned about water treatment, water reuse, the link between water and energy, and water diplomacy.
EcoPeace in Palestine conducted their second and third Neighbor Path Tours on March 6th and 19th. The tours included visits to the agriculture areas of Al- Auja, Qasr el Yahud (the baptism site near Jericho), a waste water treatment plant near Ramallah and Ledo Junction with a view point of the Dead Sea. The participants learned about the regional division of the Jordan River and its impact on the communities of the Jordan Valley and ultimately The Dead Sea. They also heard about the work of EcoPeace and opportunities for youth involvement and activism.
Teacher Focus Group in Jordan

On March 23rd, 13 teachers and an educational consultant met to discuss geography and environmental science curricula developed by the consultant. They commented on the applicability of the material in their classrooms and made modifications on the developed lessons plans. Furthermore, the teachers gave suggestions on how to conduct the national teacher training sessions that will be held in the future.
Water Diplomacy Focus Groups in Jordan and Palestine

On March 24th and 25th, in Jordan, EcoPeace conducted two focus groups, one in cooperation with All Jordan Youth Commission and the other with employees from the Ministries of Water, Energy, Agriculture, and External Affairs. The participants were introduced to the young professionals water diplomacy program, and discussed the materials and tools that will be developed to empower youth and guide them to become water diplomats. The tools developed through these discussions will be used for next year’s national training seminars.
On March 13th EcoPeace in Palestine held their first focus group meeting to test the content developed by EcoPeace staff and create visibility for the training material.
EcoPeace Tours with International Groups

EcoPeace in Palestine and Israel held tours for several international groups this month. The groups included; Temple Emanuel of Winston-Salem (North Carolina, USA), NSW Jewish Board of Deputies with the Uniting Church in Australia, Notre Dame University professors and an interfaith group of staff and students from Augsburg University. The tours focused on EcoPeace’s work in the Jordan Valley, the regional effects of the degradation of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea and the need for rehabilitation.

The above activities are part of the Good Water Neighbors (GWN) project which is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency.
Round Table Discussion of the Water and Sanitation Situation in the Hebron, Negev, Gaza Area

On March 24th in cooperation with the Hebron Governorate, EcoPeace Middle East Ramallah office held a workshop at the Hebron Governorate to discuss the water and sanitation situation in the Hebron, Negev, Gaza area. EcoPeace presented the highlights of the new Hebron Basin sanitation report “Cost Benefit Analysis” in addition to the highlights of the Media Campaign including the EcoPeace Documentary: “Water Shortage in Hebron from a gender perspective”. The workshop was attended by representatives from different ministries, municipalities and experts in the sectors of environment, engineering and development. The participants had a very rich discussion concerning Wadi-Alsamen Polluted stream in addition to discussing the side effects of the Hebron industrial zone.
EcoPeace in Tel Aviv Participates in Climate Change March

On March 29th EcoPeace was represented at Israel’s largest annual environmental event, a climate change march in Tel Aviv that rounded off a month of sustainability events throughout the city. Staff highlighted the relationship between climate change, water security and national security. The water and sanitation crisis in Gaza was presented as an example where broader human security considerations need to take priority if we are to avoid further disaster in Gaza and at the regional level.

Activities conducted in the Hebron/Negev/Basin are supported by the Government of Canada.
Ceremony with Italian Embassy in Jordan to Honor Work with Refugees

On March 28th, EcoPeace and the Italian Embassy organized a ceremony to honor two activists from Jordan and Italy for their work supporting Syrian refugees. The ceremony took place at SHE Park, where the activists had their names inscribed in stone in a square at the park, created by the Italian embassy, to honor people with significant contributions to the region. Check out our blog for a full article on the event.