On March 22, 2006, EcoPeace, together with Miami University and Florida International University, held a Jordan Valley / Dead Sea “Mayors Forum” meeting at the Jordan Valley / Kinneret College. This was the 3rd such meeting where mayors and municipal representatives from the Lower Jordan Valley and Dead Sea Basin met together to discuss cross border projects. This time, the focus was on potential cross border tourism projects, as it came on the heels of participation in the Tiberias Tourism Border conference.
Many ideas were presented and are now being pursued for further actions:
– A proposed Transboundary Peace Park to straddle both sides of the Jordan River in the area of the Gesher (Old Bridges) site. A tour of the proposed site followed the meeting, with other relevant stakeholders also present.
– Linking the Wadi Harod rehabilitation and restoration project to its opposite Jordanian Wadi Zagleb. Exchange visits will soon take place.
– Creating a common statement for all Jordan Valley festivals, to raise awareness of the common history and culture of the area. A statement has been proposed and is awaiting agreement from all participating municipalities.
– To promote the opening to the public of the baptism site near Jericho. Pressure from the local churches and tourism sectors are now being actively pursued.
– To find common solutions to the fly problem in the lower Dead Sea region. Composting solutions will be looked into in the coming weeks.
We are all very excited about these cross border projects; they have come directly out of the communities themselves, while promoting sustainable development and peace building issues together.