The Good Water Neighbors methodology is going global!
EcoPeace has recently set up a Center for Water Security which will offer its services to facilitate effective program development in organizations located in shared water basins. It will disseminate best practices developed in the Middle East by advising on how to best adopt ‘bottom-up’ & ‘top-down’ programming and strategies to the specific circumstances in a given location.
The following are conflict areas that have already expressed interest, or are already implementing components of our program:
A delegation of 3 EcoPeace staff traveled to Bosnia Herzegovina during the last week of March 2014; this was the last of 4 exchange visits that aimed to explore the possibility of adapting EcoPeace’s environmental peacemaking methodology, especially our “Good Water Neighbors” program, in the conflict-ridden area of the Balkans. The Center for Ecology and Energy (CEE), a Bosnian environmental NGO, themselves comprised of the different ethnic factions in the area, organized meetings with different stakeholders; local ministries, academia, and mayors, centered around the Spreca River Basin in northern Bosnia. All were anxious to learn about our grassroots work and how community involvement can raise awareness about shared water resources, shared responsibilities, and the need to work together to find solutions.
September 2014 – an exciting pilot project in the Balkans began – supported by the Bosch Foundation.
A delegation of EcoPeace staff from Jordan, Israel and Palestine went on a 5 day mission to Kosovo, in August 2012, hosted by the local NGO – Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ). Meetings were held with local communities from different ethnic backgrounds (Albanian / Serb / Bosniak) who have encountered disputes over water & environmental issues. [Read more in this blog]. And then in November 2012, a delegation from diverse communities in Kosovo traveled to the Middle East to see, compare and discuss south-south learning with EcoPeace’s experiences in the GWN project. They visited several GWN communities – in Jordan, Palestine and Israel – and met with youth, residents, mayors and other stakeholders involved in the project. [Read more in this blog]. And in November 2013, a delegation from Kosovo and Bosnia took part in EcoPeace’s annual Regional Mayor’s conference to see the regional cooperation over water issues.
TAG ID Foundation hosted EcoPeace in February 2012 to see the work of Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka’s largest people’s organization, including a site visit to the previously embattled Eastern Districts of Sri Lanka. And then in May 2012, a reciprocal visit to the region was held, also supported by the UK TAG Foundation, where the group visited the GWN project ‘on the ground‘, to study the feasibility of adapting the project’s methodology to Sri Lankan communities in conflict.
India – Pakistan
EcoPeace was invited to present our ‘Good Water Neighbors’ methodology as a model for the Indus Basin at a Young Global Leaders Initiative on India-Pakistan Cooperation in Lahore Pakistan in July 2011. And later that year, in October, a group from the Young Global Leaders came to the Middle East for a reciprocal visit at EcoPeace’s Sharhabil ben Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan to further study the GWN program.
In December 2012, Dr. Ahmad Rafay Alam – a Pakistani lawyer and environmental activist, advocate of the High Court and Vice President of the Pakistan Environmental Law Association – gave a well-received lecture on the Indus Water Treaty and possible Pakistani / Indian water cooperation, at Tel Aviv University in association with FoEME, The Porter School of Environmental Studies and TAU’s Legal Education Clinic, Faculty of Law. [Read more on this blog].
EcoPeace is one of the only organizations that has put environmental peacemaking theory into practice. The following books talk about our environmental peacemaking methodology:
– Green Planet Blues: Critical Perspectives on Global Environmental Politics
– USAID’s Water, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Toolkit
– US Environmental Protection Agency – Toolkit that supports best practices in integrating public participation