Peacebuilding Through Joint Water ManagementApril 28, 2008 By Liat Racin
The news is filled with stories of how natural resources—including water—can lead to resentment, unrest, and even violent conflict. But the Good Water Neighbors project, launched by Friends of the Earth Middle East (FOEME) in 2001, seeks to use transboundary water resources as a means to build peace. According to a recently published analysis, the ongoing project, which brings Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian communities together to protect their shared water resources, has significantly improved the local water sector and helped build peace at the local level. For instance, two communities, Tulkarem in the West Bank and Emek Hefer in Israel, are now cooperating over olive mill waste issues. Until recently, waste from the Tulkarem olive mills was dumped into the Alexander River, which flows through Emek Hefer to the Mediterranean Sea. Today, thanks to cooperative transboundary management, “the waste from the mills is placed in a truck and taken to Israel for treatment, reducing to a big extent the pollution of the shared water resource.”
The Good Water Neighbors project, which has expanded from 11 communities to 17, pairs one community with another on the other side of the border to promote cooperative solutions to water management problems. The project strengthens the relationship between the two communities—or, in some instances, creates a relationship—and helps establish a shared collective identity.
FOEME is using the environment to build peace in other ways, as well. In 2007, partially due to FOEME’s efforts, Jordanian and Israeli municipalities affirmed their commitment to building a peace park where the Jordan and Yarmuk Rivers meet. The park, which will include nature and cultural heritage trails, a bird sanctuary, and eco-lodges, will represent the first significant cooperative step toward rehabilitating the Jordan valley region. It is hoped that the park will also attract tourism, promote sustainable development, and improve the strained relationship between the communities.
Join the Conversation
- 12 ways to mobilise the money needed to stop climate change | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian
- United Nations News Centre - After 30 years of conflict, Sri Lanka still in 'early stages of renewal' – UN rights chief
- Ban Ki-moon: ‘Close the gap between the world that is and the world that should be’ | Global development | The Guardian
- Sharing the Land: Using Mapping Technology to Resolve Disputes | USAID Impact
- Brazil: an Emerging Southern Drone Actor – PRIO Blogs