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August 2015

EcoPeace Selected as Finalist for the Thiess International Riverprize 
EcoPeace was named a finalist for the 2015 Theiss International Riverprize, one of the world's most prestigious environmental awards! The prize is given to organizations that have demonstrated their outstanding achievement and commitment to restoring and protecting the world's rivers. We will present our achievements along with the two other finalists at the International Riversymposium in Brisbane, Australia. The winner will be announced in front of an international audience of river practitioners at the Riverprize Gala Dinner on September 22nd. We are honored to receive this recognition and will continue to work towards rehabilitating this vital River!
Read more about our achievements rehabilitating the Jordan River.

International Media Tour Showcasing our NGO Masterplan for the Jordan Valley
On July 9th EcoPeace organized a tour of the Jordan Valley for International Media representatives, starting in Jericho and winding our way along the western side of the Jordan River to the Sea of Galilee. The tour focused on concrete interventions and projects that can move forward today, highlighted in our recently released Regional NGO Master Plan. Stations included the Qasr El Yehud Baptism Site, the EcoCenter in Auja, different springs in the Jordan Valley, the newly operational Bitunya Waste Water Treatment Plant, water being released into the Jordan River at the Alumot Dam, and progress on the Jordan River Peace Park. Media representatives had a chance to meet with Yossi Vardi, Head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council and EU Ambassador H.E. Lars Faaborg-Andersen.
The NGO Master Plan was prepared by the Dutch consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV, together with local experts, and with the financial support of the European Union’s Sustainable Water Integrated Management (SWIM) Program.

EcoPeace’s Amman Office hosts a Jordan River Advocacy Symposium 
EcoPeace’s Amman office hosted an Advocacy Symposium on July 29th presenting our National Jordanian Master Plan Interventions. Participants included Jordanian Mayors, Members of Parliament, and relevant ministry representatives and concluded with a presentation of an Investment Strategy Analysis illustrating the financing mechanisms of prioritized interventions from the plan. A representative from the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC) presented the priorities of MoPIC, its 2025 strategy initiative, and synergies with the Master Plan. A discussion followed where MPs, Mayors and local residents expressed their concerns, fears, and hopes for sustainable economic and environmental development of the Jordan Valley in line with the Master Plan. They discussed issues of immediate concern and indicated their desire to help revive the valley.

EcoPeace’s Regional NGO Master Plan (SWIM-JR) is supported by the European Union’s Sustainable Water Integrated Management (SWIM) Programme.
EcoPeace’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

Water & Energy Nexus Roundtable Events 
The first two national roundtable discussion events of the Water Energy Nexus prefeasibility study were held in Israel and Jordan at the end of July, following advocacy efforts in Brussels and Berlin. The round tables aimed at introducing the water energy nexus approach and the pre-feasibility study to raise national interest and buy-in within the relevant government, NGO, and international agencies. Many recommendations, suggestions and lessons learnt from similar actions were raised and will be incorporated into the study. An additional roundtable session will be held in early August in Palestine. Both roundtables concluded with a clearer understanding of the project objectives while most participants expressed a willingness to work towards achieving its goal and create healthy inter-dependencies that could be the pillar for peaceful coexistence between our neighboring countries.

The Water & Energy Nexus is part of the Water Cannot Wait campaign of EcoPeace Middle East. This project is supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

Good Water Neighbors Delegation of 8 Participates in the Big Jump Challenge in Brussels 
Our Good Water Neighbors (GWN) project sent 8 Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian youth river ambassadors for a week of events surrounding the Big Jump Challenge in Brussels. The EcoPeace delegation was selected, along with other young activists, from over 120 youth campaign groups in 28 countries, to bring their ideas and demands on water protection to the attention of policymakers in Brussels. On July 13th, after the Big Jump into the Senne River, these young activists presented their Youth Manifesto for Water Protection at the European Rivers Parliament. Additionally, each young activist group presented their river’s water issues and their methods to promote awareness of better water management. Our delegation was the only presentation that included a joint regional effort. One of the organizers stated “One of the inspiring aspects of EcoPeace’s attendance in the event was the very presence of Jordanians, Israelis and Palestinians all together. It made a great impact on the other participants…and sent a strong message of: if it is possible in the Middle East, certainly the whole of Europe can cooperate in the management of joint river watershed management.
Read more in this blog, see photos from our album, and watch a video of our “Youth Water Trustees” message.

Directors Participate in Berlin Roundtable on Sustainability and Peace
The Palestinian and Israeli EcoPeace Directors participated in a roundtable at the Free University Berlin, sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, on sustainability and peace building within the Middle East. One of the highlights of the roundtable was a presentation by researchers, Tobias Ide and Christiane Fröhlich, regarding the Good Water Neighbors project. The study compared the Israeli and Palestinian national water debate between the general population and those involved in the GWN project. The research found that participants in GWN conceive each other more positively than non-participants and largely agree about the nature of and reasons for shared water problems. By contrast, within the general population, Israelis and Palestinians blame each other for water problems facing the region. Additionally, GWN activists perceive the importance of water due to its importance for life rather than as a nationalistic perspective, which is a far more inclusive understanding of water as a resource.

EcoPeace Presents at a Workshop of the International Association for Mediterranean Forests 
Mr. Abdel Rahman Sultan, Assistant Director of our Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark, participated in a workshop organized by The International Association for Mediterranean Forests. The workshop focused on the MEDFORVAL project (Network of forested areas of High ecological value) which aims to create collaboration between practitioners and decision-makers from different sectors in the Mediterranean on concrete action to protect, manage or restore the ecological values to forested areas. The MEDFORVAL project will last for three years and promotes forests as important ecosystems to be protected while engaging decision makers, public participation, and scientific collaboration.

EcoPeace Participates in World Leaders' Conservation Forum on Jeju Island, Korea
Jordanian Director, Munqeth Mehyar, participated in a World Leaders' Conservation Forum aimed at finding a path to lead people to peace, coexistence and sustainable development. Mr Mehyar gave a keynote presentation on the proposed Jordan River Peace-Park. The three-day forum included 43 experts and leaders from around the world to discuss the importance of nature conservation and to brainstorm ways to create a better balance between nature and humans. The location of the forum was on a Korean island known for its rich biodiversity and has been a great benefactor of green policy initiatives. A relevant example to the rest of the world; almost 600,000 islanders live off tourism which made sustainable development a priority for the island's leaders.

Water Water Everywhere Traveling Media Exhibit 
New viewings have been announced for the traveling media exhibition Water, Water Everywhere, Paean to a Vanishing Resource which includes our Good Water Neighbors film. If you will be in the cities below, please feel free to visit the exhibition.
• Alexei von Schlippe Gallery at the University of Connecticut, Avery Point, September 11 to October 26, 2015
• Huntington Museum of Art, West Virginia, September 19 to June 19, 2015

The Good Water Neighbors project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

To find out more about our projects please visit our website or to make a donation to EcoPeace Middle East, please click here.

This new website was made possible by a grant generously
donated to FoEME from the Apte Family Fund.

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