PUBLIC RELEASE OF FIRST EVER REGIONAL INTEGRATED MASTER PLAN FOR THE JORDAN VALLEY, FROM THE SEA OF GALILEE TO THE DEAD SEA
A MARSHAL PLAN THAT CONVERTS A POLLUTED RIVER AND HIGHLY DEPRESSED ECONOMIC AREA TO A MODEL FOR RIVER REHABILITATION, ECONOMIC GROWTH AND REGIONAL STABILITY
June 9, 2015
Dead Sea, Jordan
At a conference today on the Jordanian shores of the Dead Sea, EcoPeace Middle East, together with consortium partners at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and Global Nature Fund (GNF), and lead consultant Royal HaskoningDHV, released the first ever Regional NGO Master Plan for Sustainable Development in the Jordan Valley.
Under the patronage of the Jordanian Minister of Water, Dr. Hazim al Nasser, the conference marked the conclusion of a European Union (SWIM) funded program and brought together an impressive number of high-level government officials from Jordan, Palestine and Israel, international diplomatic representatives, international development agency representatives, and basin experts to discuss the advancement of the program from planning to implementation.
“The Master Plan highlights how the current ecological and economic demise of the valley is a lose/lose situation for all sides concerned. Through the Marshal Plan type investments, undertaken in a manner that supports regional integration and a healthy Jordan River, stability and security can be achieved, a key concern of the Israeli public”, said Gidon Bromberg, EcoPeace Middle East Israeli co-director.
“From a Palestinian perspective the Master Plan helps advance a two state solution with an independent Palestine prospering in the West Bank of the Jordan Valley due to full access and riparian rights to both water and land resources in the valley. All sides will gain when independence and integration lead to economic prosperity”, said Nader Khateeb, EcoPeace Middle East Palestinian co-director.
EcoPeace will continue to use the Master Plan to advocate for regional integration in the Jordan Valley and for increasing political will for the adoption in full, or in part, of the study’s recommendations by the national authorities in the region.
“I am proud that the Kingdom of Jordan is the first to have endorsed the Jordanian interventions of the master plan. Facing 40% unemployment in the valley and an influx of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to the valley, Jordan well understands that only regional integration will bring the needed prosperity and stability to the region. A healthy Jordan River on which the Kingdom is named better reflects our broader aspirations as Jordanians”, said Munqeth Mehyar, EcoPeace Middle East Jordanian co-director.
127 specific regional and national projects (“interventions“) have been identified in the framework of the Master Plan, with a total investment value of 4.58 billion USD until the year 2050. Many projects are “no regret actions” that can move forward immediately to help build confidence in the broader political situation. The interventions are grouped around the strategic planning objectives: Pollution Control, Sustainable Water Management and River Rehabilitation, Sustainable Agriculture, Jordan River Basin Governance, Ecological Rehabilitation, Sustainable Tourism and Cultural Heritage Development, and Urban and Infrastructure Development.
No less importantly, financial experts, Levant Consultancy, gave an overview today of capital market funding opportunities that will serve to finance the projects together with donor states.
Dr. Therese Sjömander-Magnusson, SIWI Transboundary Water Management Unit Director, had this to add: “The basin states now face a unique opportunity to support sustainable socio-economic development in their region by turning their cooperation into concrete investment. SIWI has been commissioned to produce a policy tool outlining potential options for a governance structure for the Jordan Basin. We remain committed to supporting regional efforts in the Jordan River Basin, both by identifying innovative funding frameworks and helping to advance governance issues”.
Link to Master Plan: http://ecopeaceme.org/uploads/Regional_NGO_Master_Plan_Final.pdf
Link to the Annexes / Interventions: http://ecopeaceme.org/uploads/Annexes_Regional_NGO_Master_Plan_Final.pdf