On the occasion of the first visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land and Jordan starting on the 24th of May, Friends of the Earth Middle East “FoEME” would like to bring attention to the shared significance of the Jordan River to all faiths in the region, and the need to garner support to rehabilitate the river from its current polluted state. The importance of environmental protection and sustainable water use is an integral component of FoEME’s Faithbased campaign launched in 2013 to encourage religious groups to educate and advocate for the rehabilitation of the Jordan River in their congregations and communities.
The seriousness of the decline of the Jordan River, the result of diversion and pollution by the countries that lie on its shores, requires coordinated and comprehensive action. A rehabilitated Jordan River would support sustainable livelihoods and encourage tourism in the region, and as a holy site in all Abrahamic faiths its restoration and protection should be of the upmost importance.
As he celebrates Mass and visits the Baptismal Site at Bethany beyond the Jordan, FoEME looks to the support of His Holiness Pope Francis, and other religious and political leaders throughout the world, to encourage cooperation in the region and promote peace between neighbours. As the Holy Father visits Jordan, Israel, and Palestine, three countries that share rights and responsibilities for the Jordan River, FoEME hopes that efforts to develop a healthy and living river will provide an opportunity that communities across the region can rally around.
This post is contributed by Amity Bacon FoEMEs intern and Samar M. Salma FoEMEs Media Officer at Amman Office.