January 18, 2007 – Jordanian / Israeli Cooperation at Southern Dead Sea

Mayor of Tamar Regional Council, Israel and Governor of South Ghores, Jordan Sign on MoU to Advance Sustainable Development in the Southern Dead Sea Basin

January 18, 2007

Yesterday, at the initiation of EcoPeace Middle East, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Mayor of the Tamar Regional Council in Israel, Mr. Dov Litvinoff and the Governor of South Ghores in Jordan, Mr. Ghaleb Al-Shamayleh.

The MoU was signed with the understanding that cooperation is necessary in order to promote sustainable development in the Southern Dead Sea Basin.

According to Dov Litvinoff, Mayor of the Tamar Regional Council, “the signing on the MoU is a breakthrough in regional cooperation between us and the Jordanians on issues of environment, quality of life and raising awareness of the general environmental issues at the Dead Sea”. Mr. Litvinoff added that “the Regional Council has declared 2007 as the year of environmental protection and regional cooperation.”

The Dead Sea Basin is suffering from severe environmental degradation:
– The dramatic decline of the Dead Sea causes the formation of sinkholes to appear, endangering lives of those in the area.
– Use of fertilizers that have not been properly composted, mainly on the Jordanian side of the border, creates a significant fly problem.
– Without a border crossing in the area, tourism development and cross border trade is being delayed.

The mayors, in signing the MoU, have identified the social and ecological importance of the Dead Sea area, and see its inscription for a UNESCO World Heritage Site as an important mechanism to rehabilitate the area.

In addition, they promise to work towards finding sustainable solutions to the economic and environmental issues at hand, through the building of a compost station, the building of an ecological cross border Peace Park at the Southern end of the Dead Sea, and call for the opening of an additional border crossing to promote tourism and trade crossing.

Gidon Bromberg, Israeli director of EcoPeace Middle East, says “this MoU confirms the need to solve the environmental problems at the Dead Sea and proves the ability of the communities in the area to rise above political difficulties and work together.”

For more information, please contact Ofra Gazit, Tamar Regional Council, 050-7276080 or
Mira Edelstein, EcoPeace Middle East, 054-6392937, mira@ecopeaceme.org

This activity is part of EcoPeace’s “Good Water Neighbors” project, funded by the EU Partnerships for Peace program, the British Government’s Global Conflict Prevention Pool and the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund