The context of complexity in the middle east where four countries collapsed due to recent revolutions, where ISIS has taken control and destroyed development throughout the MENA region. With bad water management practices and lack of political will in Palestine/Israel where the occupation is taking place is a good reason to justify conflict, clashes, and tensions between both sides.
Water knows no borders, between Palestine and Israel it can be used as a tool to enrich people’s lives with projects for good economic growth leading to a tremendous decrease in unemployment provided both sides agree to promote development projects in water, sanitation, solid waste, agroindustry, cultural heritage, and optimizing tourism in the Jordan Valley.
In 2015, EcoPeace succeeded to publish the first ever Regional NGO Master Plan for sustainable development in the Jordan Valley, with 127 projects and an investment cost of 4.6 billion USD . The Plan can bring prosperity and sustainability for all residents of the three countries and create more than 1M job opportunities, playing an important role in decreasing unemployment and increasing GDP from an estimated $10 billion annually to $72 billion.
These accomplishments will never be achieved by improving military technology or by promoting conflict, but by a good willingness to achieve and improve the performance of dialogue and negotiations from all governments in the region and support of the international community.
People ask me “Is there hope for peace in this area where Israel is occupying a majority of the Jordan Valley?” My answer is “Yes, It is the hope”. We can contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in our region and end poverty when all partnering countries play a role in the development of agro industrial projects that will employ many Palestinians and Jordanians. It will take the region to a more stable situation and develop people’s confidence that the land belongs to them. We want to develop our land for the sake of our next generation.
Our people can cooperate over water, sanitation, and other vital components of development in the Jordan Valley. We can all cooperate to achieve and implement what is needed.
EcoPeace ME success to create the base and guidelines for the government to restore the Jordan River and protect water quality and quantity sustainably while developing viable livelihoods, human well-being, and socio-economic development in a climate of peace and political stability for current and future generations. Now, the ball is in the government’s court to lead in the implementation to a more prosperous and peaceful future.
Written By: Malek Abualfailat – EcoPeace – Bethlehem