March 14, 2009 – EcoPeace Calls Upon Our Governments to Meet Their Commitments to Rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River

EcoPeace Calls Upon Our Governments to Meet Their Commitments to Rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River

Amman/ Bethlehem/ Tel Aviv
March 14, 2009 – International Day of Action for Rivers

The International Day of Action for Rivers, Water, and Life was launched in 1997. It aims to raise awareness about destructive water development projects, reclaim the health of rivers and watersheds and demand the equitable and sustainable management of waterways.

The Lower Jordan River is arguably the most famous River in the world, of international significance to more than half of humanity due to its rich natural and cultural heritage and its symbolic value and importance to three of the world’s major religions. Today, over 90% of the River’s historical flow is being diverted by Israel, Jordan and Syria for domestic and agricultural use.

EcoPeace Middle East has joined this year’s International Day of Action for Rivers by calling upon our governments to meet their commitments to rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River. Article II of the 1994 Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan specifically commits the Israeli and Jordanian governments to do so.

“The rehabilitation of the Jordan River is being held hostage to the failure of the parties to move forward in the Israeli Palestinian peace process” said Gidon Bromberg, EcoPeace’s Israeli Director.

In response to the degradation of the Lower Jordan River, EcoPeace has launched a new campaign which aims to both identify the means by which water transfers to the Lower Jordan River can take place and help create the political will to make them happen. The campaign is currently undertaking research to identify the range of water flow necessary to rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River as well as a cost-benefit analysis to identity existing and possible opportunities to transfer water resources to the River from the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian water economies. The Jordan River Rehabilitation Project is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Goldman Fund, the Global Nature Fund and the Green Environment Fund.

Every year thousands of people around the world take action to raise awareness about the Rivers in their lives – this year we call upon our governments to bring the Lower Jordan River back into the lives of communities alongside its banks through a cooperative regional rehabilitation plan.

“The 300,000 residents of the Jordan Valley are losing livelihood opportunities due to the poor state of the river. This international day of action is an opportunity to remind our governments of peace treaty commitments made over a decade ago that sadly remain unfulfilled” said Munqeth Mehyar, EcoPeace’s Jordanian Director.

For more information on EcoPeace’s cross-border environmental peacemaking efforts and the Jordan River Rehabilitation Project please visit www.ecopeaceme.org and contact:

– Nader Al Khateeb, Palestinian Director of EcoPeace Middle East
Tel: 972 522875022, [email protected]
(spoken languages: English and Arabic)

– Munqeth Mehyar, Jordanian Director of EcoPeace Middle East
Tel 962 777548477, [email protected]
(spoken languages: English and Arabic)

– Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director of EcoPeace Middle East
Tel: 972 52 4532597, [email protected]
(spoken languages: English and Hebrew)

– Mira Edelstein, Foreign Media Officer, EcoPeace Middle East
Tel: 972 54 6392937, [email protected]
(spoken languages: English and Hebrew)