Celebrating Earth Day 2015 on the Lower Jordan River
EcoPeace Middle East celebrated Earth Day this year with events along both sides of the Jordan River.
In Israel, U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro, U.S. government representatives, local mayors and government authorities, and a whole lot of kids participated in the event along the Lower Jordan River! Ambassador Shapiro joined students from the local elementary school in a clean-up activity; he paddled a canoe down a short stretch of the still-clean section of the River with us, and was then guided by the local authorities to see present, and future, rehabilitation projects. Click here for more photos in this Facebook album, and here for media coverage from the event.
Across the river in Jordan, Good Water Neighbors alumni reunited at the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark. The alumni youth organized and led discussions on topics such as their role as environmental ambassadors, held a clean-up activity throughout the EcoPark, and shared their future vision of the Jordan River and their roles leaders in this effort with EcoPeace and fellow alumni participants.
For more information on the Earth Day events in Israel and Jordan, please read our blog and click here for more photos in Jordan! A meaningful and productive Earth Day celebration all around!
Good Water Neighbors Youth Representatives visit South Korea!
This month, EcoPeace Middle East sent three youth representatives -one from Jordan, one from Palestine, and one from Israel—to South Korea for the World Water Forum and for two adjoining youth summits. The youth summits – the World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW) and the Asia-Pacific Youth Parliament for Water (APYPW) – bring together youth leaders and future water professionals (ages 17-30) from around the world to set a vision for the future of water and to plan concrete actions to achieve those goals. Mahmoud Dreaat, EcoPeace’s Palestinian representative, was elected Vice President of APYPW and received an award for Exemplary Participation at the APYPW conference. Look out for a blog post soon!
Cross Border "Watershed Forums" site tours and meetings
Back at home, our team hosted a series of tours and site visits as part of our regional efforts to create cross border watershed forums within our Good Water Neighbors cross-border communities.
This month we held a tour for olive mill owners to visit olive mills in the Galilee of Israel to learn how to manage the pollutant olive mill waste, whose substances can damage Waste Water Treatment Facilities. Eight Palestinian olive mill owners mainly from the Tulkarm area and eight local environmental activists from Emek Hefer participated in a tour guided by experts from the Israeli Ministry of Environment and the head of Israel Olive Farmers Association. Participants came to learn and share knowledge of the current best practices to dispose of this waste. After a full day, all participants expressed their will to continue in cooperation and find both short term and long term solutions to the shared problem.
Earlier this month, a delegation from Salt and Balqa governorates in Jordan were hosted by our local watershed forum in Auja, Palestine. Governor of Jericho, Mr. Majed Al Fitiani, welcomed the delegation before they continued on their site visit to the Auja EcoCenter, Auja spring and its dam, the Qasr el Yehud baptism site, a local Palestinian farm, and the Arab Al Ka’abneh School in order to better understand the water reality on the Palestinian side of the Jordan River.
At the end of April, the Jordanian forum members hosted a reciprocal visit for the Palestinian delegation for a tour of their community. After a warm welcome from the Mayor of Salt, participants visited the Bakoura and Hazeer Springs, pumping stations in the Shaib Valley, and Waste Water Treatment Plants in Salt and Azraq to learn about the water realities in the cities. These two visits served as the first step in cross border cooperation efforts, as delegations discussed shared water problems in the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea in particular.
EcoPeace hosted a cross border site visit to Battir in Palestine, with local stakeholders and members of the Springs Rehabilitation Forum in Mate Yehuda. They toured along the ancient terraces of Battir, met with local activists of the Battir 2020 forum, and together discussed the challenges of preserving the unique landscape.
The "Good Water Neighbors" project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).