November 28, 2008 – Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian Mayors meet to discuss the Regional Water Crisis

Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian Mayors meet to discuss the Regional Water Crisis
The meeting will take place in Baka Gharbia, at Al Kasemi College, in the framework of the ‘Good Water Neighbors’ project and the ‘Pro-Aquifer’ project, November 25-26, 2008

“The Water Crisis – Community Leadership”

November 23, 2008

Against the backdrop of the severe water crisis in our region, EcoPeace Middle East is convening its fifth annual conference of Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian mayors. The purpose of this year’s meeting and panel discussion is to deepen understanding of the different implications of the crisis on the three peoples. The mayors will share their different experiences and the efforts undertaken in their local community to address the crisis.

“While in Israel they are reducing agricultural water quotas, in the Palestinian village of Auja, the entire agricultural sector has come to a complete halt, due to the drying of the Auja Stream. As a result, residents are left without any source of income,” states Nader Khateeb, Palestinian Director of EcoPeace Earth Middle East.

In light of the failures in water management on the national level, the ability of the mayors and local leaders to find solutions to the water crisis takes on a greater sense of urgency.

Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director of EcoPeace Middle East, says that “while the national leadership seeks supply-side solutions such as desalination of sea water and various canals, the local leadership which experiences the impact directly, is focused on demand-side management; conservation and wise water use.”

The conference is being organized by EcoPeace Middle East, with the participation of the Ambassador of the EU delegation to the State of Israel, the Director of the United States Agency for International Development, diplomats, mayors, community leaders and residents from the participating communities of the ‘Good Water Neighbors’ project.

The conference will present creative ideas for community empowerment, including the use of the latest GIS technology and will release a publication on ways to alleviate groundwater pollution to the shared Israeli and Palestinian water resource of the Mountain Aquifer.

Participating Communities:

Israeli GWN communities: Jordan Valley RC, Beit She’an City & Beit She’an Valley RC, Tamar RC, Emek Hefer RC, Eshkol RC, Tsur Hadassah, Baka el Gharbiya – Jat

Palestinian GWN communities: Auja, Jericho, Wadi Fukin, Tulkarm, Baka el Sharkiya, Abassan

Jordanian GWN communities: Muaz bin Jabal, Tabket Fahel, Deir Allah, South Ghors

The conference is being supported by USAID, the EU Life Third Countries program, Green Cross France and the Goldman Fund.

For more information: Mira Edelstein, EcoPeace foreign media officer, 054-6392937