ECO PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

EcoPeace Middle East is a unique organization that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists. Our primary objective is the promotion of cooperative efforts to protect our shared environmental heritage. In so doing, we seek to advance both sustainable regional development and the creation of necessary conditions for lasting peace in our region. EcoPeace has offices in Amman, Bethlehem, and Tel-Aviv.

Big jump in the River Jordan

Big jump in the River Jordan

Eco Peace Middle East – environmentalists for peace in the region

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi

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How was Eco Peace Middle East founded and with which aims?
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“EcoPeace” was  founded on December 7, 1994 at an historic meeting held in Taba, Egypt.  We came about as environmental non-governmental organizations from the Middle East met with the common goal of furthering sustainable development and peace in their region. For the first time ever, Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian environmentalists agreed to join forces in an effort to promote the integration of environmental considerations into the regional development agenda.
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How do you advocate environmental issues at a political level?
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EcoPeace’s “top-down” (advocacy) programs are based on research, on the publication of policy briefs, and on the holding of events that highlight the national self-interest of each side in advancing our policy recommendations.  Mutual gain is the focus and goal of our advocacy work vis-a-vis decision makers at the regional and international levels.
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What  bottom-up strategies do you undertake?
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Our bottom-up approach is about educating local constituencies to call for, and lead, necessary cross-border solutions to regional water issues. Despite the ongoing conflict, bottom-up programing facilitates the advancement of community interests in cross-border environmental solutions

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How has civil society been responsive so far to your initiatives?
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Yes, very much so, and that is due to our “bottom up” approach, where we work with community members in our “Good Water Neighbors” (GWN) project.  This is what an external evaluator said about this project: “The GWN’s strategy of long-term deep work in the communities, sustaining a cross-border communication network, and insisting on addressing practical tangible results and interests, rather than just peace or cooperation in general, bears fruits.  It changes the discourse of those involved with the project and many have adopted the narrative of environmental peacebuilding / cross-border cooperation that the GWN project advances into their professional and personal lives.”

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Do you cooperate with local authorities and institutions? If yes, how?
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Yes.  Again, local authorities and institutions are all part of our community project “Good Water Neighbors”.  We convene meetings with mayors and municipal representatives from both sides of the border, Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian, to discuss shared environmental challenges and work with them to develop and propose solutions that would benefit them both (all).  Sometimes these meetings are small, if it’s about a more local (but still cross border) problem, but we also have annual regional meetings, much larger, that focus on the larger issue of water in the region.

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2 Comments

  1. January 19, 2017 at 01:14

    […] DESERTPEACE: ECO PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. EcoPeace Middle East is a unique organization that bring… […]


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