This blog post was contributed by Jessica Marx and Yedida Wolfe from FoEME’s Tel Aviv office.
From November 2, 2010 through November 3, 2010, FoEME hosted the “7th Annual Good Water Neighbors Conference: One Basin, Conflicting Visions” in Amman, Jordan. Over 150 people attended the conference, including representatives of government from Jordan, Israel, and Palestine, as well as academics and activists. The purpose of the event was to share visions of various development plans in the region of the Lower Jordan River including the Dead Sea. The two-day conference allowed decision-makers and planners to present their projects in order to provide a space for the riparian countries to share their visions. Additionally, the aim of the conference was to promote transboundary dialogue about sustainable development and environmental awareness relating to the development projects presented.
Attendees presented their development projects on the first day, which included a presentation by Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli youth who participated in the Community GIS Project. The two topics presented included “Development Plans for the Lower Jordan River” and “Development Plans for the Dead Sea,” followed by a panel of government officials, decision-makers, and planners moderated by Munqeth Mehyar, Jordanian Director of FoEME. This day provided a much-needed opportunity for planners to learn about other development projects in the region, as these projects have been developing unilaterally without any collaboration.
The second day highlighted the proposed Red Sea to Dead Sea conduit. Additionally, the attendees were split into three working groups, asking the following questions: “1.What are the conflicting visions?; 2.What is our interest in a shared vision? Pros? Cons?; and 3. How do we move forward?” The working groups allowed attendees to delve further into the conflicting visions concerning development of the Dead Sea and Jordan River regions.
The “One Basin, Conflicting Visions Conference” provided a platform for dialogue among developers in the region, while simultaneously promoting crossborder dialogue about joint efforts for sustainable development. Most importantly, personal relationships were forged among attendees that will form the basis of future transboundary cooperation.
Related blog posts:
A Conference to Bring Back the Jordan River Rapids, Rapidly