Today, June 5, 2011 is World Environment Day (WED) and all over the planet people and organizations are taking action and spreading awareness about environmental related issues. On this WED, FoEME will reflect on a year of activism and highlight the need for trans boundary cooperation, based on a fair share of water resources to solve one of our planets most severe environmental dilemmas, water.
Here at FoEME, a focal point of our work is dedicated to spreading awareness and resolving trans boundary environmental issues between Israel, Jordan, and Palestine. Over the past year, FoEME has led the effort to ensure that water not be held hostage for the lack of progress in Israeli Palestinian peace talks and has shared our story and fought for cooperation to secure our environmental heritage by:
- Publicizing a model water agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.
- Leading awareness trips on shared water issues including European Union (EU) parliamentarians, human rights activists, Rotarians, and journalists.
- Securing support from the European Parliament to help revitalize the Jordan River.
- Leading 1,200 Youth “Water Trustees” participants on weekly or biweekly environmental education and activities.
- Supporting cross border cooperation and a healthy environment by carrying out more than 300 “Neighbors Paths” tours.
- Opening the Auja ecofacility in Palestine with PA Minister of Tourism, Ms. Kholoud Deibes,
- Celebrating the success of the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark under the patronage of HRH Prince Hassan Bin Talal.
- Conducting 242 meetings with mayors, entrepreneurs and potential investors in our Good Water Neighbors communities.
It is easy to understand why FoEME stresses the need for trans boundary cooperation particularly with water. According to UN – Water, 176 nations share a water basin with at least one other nation. One fifth of the world’s population lives with physical conditions of water scarcity (1000 cubic meters per year) and another fifth of the population is effected by economic water shortages (the country has the water, but lacks the infrastructure to deliver it to its people). Without serious and sustainable action, two thirds of the worlds population by 2025 will be living under water stressed conditions (1700 cubic meters per person annually).
There is enough fresh water on this planet for everyone, however water is too often distributed unfairly, polluted, or just unsustainably managed. On this World Environment Day, let us be reminded of the urgency to more fairly share water between Israelis and Palestinians and between people and nature. Happy World Environment Day from FoEME.