Conference on Environmental Conflict and Cooperation (CECC) March 3, 2021 | University of California, Davis
Environmental concerns and natural resources can be a cause for conflict between ethnic, religious, national, and political groups, but they can also be a reason for cooperation between countries, organizations, communities, and individuals. Such cooperation could include ecological goals such as enhancing ecosystem health and preventing species or habitat loss, but also goals such as strengthening community resilience, protection of cultural values, scientific discovery, and peacebuilding. The Conference on Environmental Conflict and Cooperation (CECC) focuses on two main issues: 1. inter-group environmental conflicts, and the ways to resolve, mitigate, or prevent them; and 2. cross-border environmental cooperation on all levels, including international, inter-governmental, regional, and local levels. The conference aims to inform participants of case studies from around the world, as well as allow them to share insights, both academic and from the field, and develop real-world, practical knowledge and tools.
8:15 am: Yael Teff-Seker - Cross-Border Environmental Conflict and Cooperation
Session A: 8:30 – 10:00 am (Chair: Miri Lavi-Neeman)
1. Maya Negev, et. al. (University of Haifa) “Environment, COVID, and Cooperation between Israel, Palestine, and Jordan”
2. Suleiman Halasah and Rina Kedem (Hebrew University) “Community Capacity and Development Policy”
3. Gidon Bromberg (EcoPeace Middle East) “The Need for a Middle East Green Blue Deal to Respond to the Climate Crisis”
4. David Lehrer (Arava Institute for Environmental Studies) “Track II and Environmental Diplomacy”
5. Maoz Fine (Bar-Ilan University) “Coral Reef Refuge in the Gulf of Aqaba”
Session B: 10:00 – 11:30 am (Chair: Tareq Abu Hamed)
1. Haim Koren (Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya) “Sudan and South Sudan: Environment as a Tool in a Peace Building?”
2. Tareq Abu Hamed (Arava Institute for Environmental Studies) “Renewable Energy Diplomacy in a Time of Energy Transition”
3. Michal Bitterman, et. al. (Ben Gurion University) “Peace Parks as a Mechanisms Enhancing Strategic Sustainable Development and Conflict Resolution in the Israel-Jordanian-Palestinian Context”
4. Eran Amichai, et. al. (Dartmouth College) “Jordan Valley Bunker Bats”
5. Giovanna Chavez-Miguel, et. al. (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research) “Agroecology Peasant Schools as a Pathway to Strengthening Social Cohesion and Resilience in Post-Conflict Colombia”
1. Katharina Löhr, et. al. (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research) “Social Cohesion as the Missing Link between Peace-Building and Natural Resource Management”
2. Meirav Aharon-Gutman and Ronit Piso (Technion—Israel Institute of Technology) “Circular Urbanism: How Can Technological Innovation in the Realm of Food Help both Supply-Chain Optimization and Moderate Social Inequality?”
3. Tomás Vega Fernández (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn) “Entering of a Third Party Promotes Cooperation in a Long-Standing Territorial Dispute”
4. David Goldsborough (Van Hall Larenstein University) “Challenges of Transboundary Boundary Marine Conservation: Observations From the North Sea Dogger Bank”
5. Emily Celeste Vazquez Enriquez (University of California, Davis) “Border Biomes: The River and the Desert in the Mexico-US Limits”
1. Maya Negev (University of Haifa), Yara Dahdal (Nature Palestine Society), Haneen Khreis, (Texas A&M Transportation Institute), Assaf Hochman (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) Mohammed Shaheen (Damour for Community Development—Palestine), Madi T.A. Jaghbir, (University of Jordan), Pinhas Alpert (Tel Aviv University), Hagai Levine (Hebrew University-Hadasdah), Nadav Davidovitch (Ben Gurion University)
“Environment, COVID, and Cooperation between Israel, Palestine, and Jordan”
Global health threats including epidemics and climate change, know no political borders and require regional collaboration if they are to be dealt with effectively. This paper starts with a review of the COVID-19 outbreak in Israel, Palestine and Jordan, in the context of the regional health systems, demography and politics. We suggest that Israel and Palestine function as one epidemiological unit, due to extensive border crossing of inhabitants and tourists, resulting in cross-border infections and potential for outbreaks' transmission. Indeed, there is a correlation between the numbers of confirmed cases with a 2-3 weeks lag. In contrast, Jordan has the ability to seal its borders and better contain the spread of the virus. We then discuss comparative public health aspects in relation to the management of COVID-19 and long-term adaptation to climate change. We suggest that lessons from the current crisis can inform regional adaptation to climate change. There is an urgent need for better health surveillance, data sharing across borders, and more resilient health systems that are prepared and equipped for emergencies. Another essential and currently missing prerequisite is close cooperation within and across countries amidst political conflict, in order to protect the public health of all inhabitants of the region.
2. Suleiman Halasah and Rina Kedem (Hebrew University)
“Community Capacity and Development Policy”
Environmental cooperation became essential and dominant in global environmental governance strategies since the second half of the 20th century. The effectiveness and implementation of international environmental regimes has been vastly researched. Yet there is very little or no specific reference to the environmental regime between countries in post-conflict relations. The southern border communities in Israel and Jordan are under constant threats of desertification and climate change. Environmental and scientific cooperation efforts have been practiced since the signing of the Peace Treaty in 1994. International agencies, universities and local NGO’s have been involved in such cooperation which produced rich experiences and conceptual frameworks. This session will discuss how cooperation improves the wellbeing of communities and their specific resilience in facing environmental challenges, and what challenges are affiliated with it.
3. Gidon Bromberg (EcoPeace Middle East)
“The Need for a Middle East Green Blue Deal to Respond to the Climate Crisis”
In late 2020 EcoPeace published a bold new report calling for a Green Blue Deal for the Middle East. The report proposes harnessing the sun and the sea to power region-wide desalinated water and energy security for all. It highlights the need and opportunity to solve Israeli/Palestinian natural water allocations today to achieve water equity. And it proposes climate smart investments and green job development around the Jordan Valley. This sweeping initiative, supported by public awareness and education programs, will engage the public, especially younger generations, to understand the importance of diplomacy in the water and climate debate and as an example of effective conflict resolution and peace building. The report’s recommendations build on the programs and concepts developed and implemented by EcoPeace over the last 26 years.
4. David Lehrer (Arava Institute for Environmental Studies)
“Track II and Environmental Diplomacy”
In response to the absence of official peace negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, as well as the region's deteriorating environmental situation; the Arava Institute created the Track II Environmental Forum as a means to resolve critical environmental issues. It achieves this through the implementation of cross-border pilot projects that lay the foundation of environmentally sound principles for cross border policies, peace, and just and lasting solution to the conflict. The Track II team has been tirelessly engaged with Israeli, Palestinian, and International decision makers, and with our network of partners, in order to expand joint cross-border projects over the past year. The sensitive nature of this work and the risks that our Palestinian partners take cannot be underestimated. The relationships based on complete trust, transparency and joint decision-making has resulted in cross-border bottom-up high-impact solutions and notable successes.
5. Maoz Fine (Bar-Ilan University)
“A Joint Coral Reef Refuge in the Gulf of Aqaba”
Rapid ocean warming due to climate change poses a serious risk to the survival of coral reefs. It is estimated that only 10 percent of all reefs will survive past mid-century. However, one coral reef ecosystem seems to be more resilient to rising sea temperatures than most others. The Red Sea’s reef ecosystem is one of the longest continuous living reef in the world, and its northernmost section extends into the Gulf of Aqaba where corals have an unusually high tolerance for the rapidly warming seawater. These corals withstand water temperature anomalies that cause severe bleaching or mortality in most hard corals elsewhere. The Gulf of Aqaba (GoA) could potentially be one of the planet’s largest marine refuges from climate change. However, GoA reefs will only survive and flourish if serious regional environmental challenges are addressed. Localized anthropogenic stressors compound the effects of warming seawater to damage corals and should be mitigated immediately. The countries bordering the entire Red Sea will need to cooperate to enable effective scientific research and conservation. The newly established Transnational Red Sea Center, based at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), can serve as the regionally inclusive, neutral organization to foster crucial regional scientific collaboration.
1. Haim Koren (Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya)
“Sudan and South Sudan: Environment as a Tool in a Peace Building?”
Sudan got its Independence as a Nation State at 1956. Its heterogeneous society-from various origins, different religions, identities and races-was in a constant tension. A civil war from the Northern part of the Country to the Southern one broke out in 1955 (still under the British Condominium-before the independence) and ended after a long and painful process by the CPA agreement from 2006 to 2011-which yield to separation of the South from the motherland-Sudan and getting its own Independence in 9/7/2011.The long civil war(out of many conflicts in the Country) had taken more than two Millions lives. The reasons and consequences of that war have been given attention research-but not the issues that are emerging between those two states which are on sharing a common border and Identities-specifically environmental issues. It was clear during the CPA that the area on the border contains oil(mostly on the side of south Sudan) in it is vital to the interest of both economies(the shipment is through Port Sudan). Along the border there are nature jewels such as near Mallakal on the Upper Nile and those should be protected and developed under the rules of using Green energy. The hostility tradition did not enable it, but after the overthrown of Umar al Bashir at 2019-the cooperation between the two Sudans had improved and there are understanding of working together with a growing careful attention to environment in order to gain a win-win situation. The lecture will elaborate on those efforts.
2. Tareq Abu Hamed (Arava Institute for Environmental Studies)
“Renewable Energy Diplomacy in a Time of Energy Transition”
A global energy transition from fossils to renewables is an essential to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and to limit the global temperature increase to below 2oC. Accelerated use of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in the sectors of energy production, distribution, and consumption are the key elements of the energy transition. Energy efficiency measures and use of affordable renewable resources can potentially achieve 90% of required carbon reductions. Jordan, Israel, and Palestine rely on fossil fuels as their primary energy source. The energy demand in these countries is expected to grow due to the expansion of the local economy, population growth, urbanization and improved energy access. The share of renewable energy in the energy mix of these countries is less than 5%. The three countries use fossil fuels mainly for power production and transportation, and these two sectors are responsible for the vast majority of carbon dioxide emissions. On the other hand, these countries are blessed with one of the highest levels of solar radiations in the world. Thus renewable energy, specifically solar, can play a crucial role in the transition to a carbon-free economy in the three countries. It is obvious that solar energy is a highly promising field and it deserves to be prioritized by the three countries when it comes to resource allocation. Renewable energy diplomacy must be one of the key pillars of the three countries’ energy diplomacy. This diplomacy can catalyze combating climate change, solving trans-boundary environmental challenges, achieving sustainable development, and it will have a positive impact on the geopolitical landscape. Trilateral collaboration in achieving energy transition using renewable energy sources can be an effective way to develop clean energy pathways to reduce the price of power and to increase the interdependence among the three nations. In this study, examples of joint Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian collaborations in the field of renewable energy will be analyzed to highlight the diplomatic role environmental research and renewable energy can play in our region.
3. Michal Bitterman, Alon Tal, Yodan Rofe (Ben Gurion University; Tel Aviv University)
“Peace Parks as a Mechanisms Enhancing Strategic Sustainable Development and Conflict Resolution in the Israel-Jordanian-Palestinian Context”
Our world may be reaching a critical juncture with depleting resources on the one hand and increasing demands for these resources on the other. As the capacity of the ecosystem to provide basic services and resources is systematically degraded, relations among people dependent on these resources will become strained. This will increase the potential for conflict, exacerbating negative factors like health, safety, hunger and uneven allocation of resources. Just as environmental issues can be the cause of major conflicts, they can equally present opportunities, encouraging cooperation between current and post conflicting sides. The environment ignores political boundaries, governments or religious and as such intrinsically requires a high level of cooperation by nations that share these resources. Could it be that both challenges with high relevance to the region, of sustainability and conflict resolution could be accommodated in a single mechanism? One model which has proved successful in promoting both objectives is Peace Parks. The lecture will assess the feasibility of a trilateral peace park between Israel-Palestine-Jordan based on the results of the first trilateral public opinion survey conducted on this topic in the region.
4. Eran Amichai, Shmulik Yedvab, Aviam Atar, Amit Dolev, Eran Levin (Tel Aviv University; The Society for Protection of Nature in Israel; Israel Nature and Parks Authority; Dartmouth College)
“Jordan Valley Bunker Bats”
In 1994 the state of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan signed a historic peace treaty. Most of the bunkers that guarded the border–the Jordan River Valley –were abandoned in the following years, and many of them have been colonized by more than 10 species of bats. These bats suffered from a lack of natural roosts due to anthropogenic effects and the newly abandoned bunkers presented a valuable resource. However, the smooth concrete and metal walls and ceilings provide only few appropriate hanging spots for the bats, limiting the use of this resource. Over the past 15 years a collaborative long-term project to better adapt the bunkers for bats, as well as documenting and preserving them, is conducted by researchers, NGOs, government authorities and the military, and has recently been joined by a Jordanian NGO. The healthy bat populations contribute to the ecosystem, benefitting Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians.
5. Giovanna Chavez-Miguel, Katharina Löhr, Álvaro Ácevedo-Osorio, Michelle Bonatti, and Stefan Sieber (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research; Humboldt University, Berlin; Universidad Nacional de Colombia)
“Agroecology Peasant Schools as a Pathway to Strengthening Social Cohesion and Resilience in Post-Conflict Colombia”
Natural resource-based approaches to peacebuilding acknowledge that the collective management of the commons can serve as an incentive for collaboration and trust, rather than competition and violence. Agroecology has gained momentum, particularly in Latin America, as a viable paradigm for post-conflict reconstruction in regards of its potential to mitigate climate change, improve rural livelihoods and reorganize territories in harmony with the environment. Peasant schools emerge as farmer-led mechanisms that advance agroecology as a grassroot strategy for sustainable peace as they carry out agroecological transition processes. Following a qualitative approach, we evaluate their contribution to peace based on indicators of social cohesion and resilience, regarded here as key components of peacebuilding. Results show how their approaches enhance peasants’ capacities to develop their territories alternatively through farmer-to-farmer trainings and extension, solidary economies and political mobilization. Based on this, we argue that agroecological transition processes foster social cohesion and resilience among farmers by encouraging multi-stakeholder involvement in advancing self-defined development agendas.
1. Katharina Löhr, et. al. (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research)
“Social Cohesion as the Missing Link Between Peace-Building and Natural Resource Management”
The concept of environmental peacebuilding is emerging as a promising approach to linking natural resource management and conflict transformation. This contribution explores the nexus between natural resource management, social cohesion, and peacebuilding. We do so by (1) reviewing literature on the three concepts and (2) studying approaches of cocoa production that can contribute to strengthening social cohesion. Cocoa production in two post-conflict countries, Côte d’Ivoire and Colombia, is studied in relation to four approaches:(a) agroforestry; (b) cooperatives; (c) certification schemes, and (d) trade policies. By fostering environmentally sustainable agricultural practices and social cohesion, these approaches provide a valuable contribution to post-conflict peacebuilding in both countries. However, as the focus in implementation tends to be on increasing agricultural productivity and not directly on fostering social wellbeing, a shift towards social objectives is needed in order to strengthen these approaches as a part of overall peacebuilding strategies.
2. Meirav Aharon-Gutman and Ronit Piso (Technion—Israel Institute of Technology)
“Circular Urbanism: How can Technological Innovation in the Realm of Food Help Both Supply-Chain Optimization and Moderate Social Inequality?”
One of the major challenges of our time is the social inequality, the unequal distribution of nutritional goods, and the environmental crisis stemming from unsustainable linear food production. The main purpose of the project “Circular Urbanism” is to “close the loop” Based on Big Data, AI Algorithms, and sharing technologies, our system will promote circular food systems on an urban scale with the aim of reducing social and spatial inequalities. Theoretically, this conception crystalizes at the meeting point among the circular city, the eco-city, and the equal city. The research includes: Creating a coalition of stakeholders to serve as a team working in the digital food simulation theatre (simulation room that supports data-based 3D models via advance visualization device); Developing a system for food distribution, based on web services and Android operating system; Writing cloud service-based software that analyzes daily information and anticipates future behavior; Identification of a "Transport Channels Network" between “suppliers” and “customers.”
3. Tomas Vega Fernandez (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn)
“Entering of a Third Party Promotes Cooperation in a Long-Standing Territorial Dispute”
The so-called fish-war between Italy and Tunisia regards the access to some fishing grounds located on the African shelf of the Strait of Sicily. The conflict goes back to nearly a century. Since then, numerous Italian ships were seized by Tunisian authorities, Italian warships surveil the area, and some fishermen died by fire from patrolling boats. The conflict is rooted in the Tunisian sovereignty over an off-shore bank, and the right of the Italian fleet to fish there. Both countries engaged in shared patrolling some years ago with little success until worldwide financial crisis and political instability in Libya prompted the exploitation of the area by Egyptian vessels. The presence of oil and gas fields, and the need to secure the EU southern border from illegal immigration, contributed to change the context setting.
4. David Goldsborough (Van Hall Larenstein University)
“Challenges of Transboundary Boundary Marine Conservation: Observations From the North Sea Dogger Bank”
The Dogger Bank is a large submerged sand bank in the middle of the North Sea and is shared by the United Kingdom, the Netherland, Germany and Denmark. In 2010 an intergovernmental steering group was formed to develop a cross border conservation plan for the sand bank. One of the first steps was to ask stakeholders to propose spatial plans for conservation purposes. As a result NGOs and the fishing industry collaborated for 18 months to develop these plans. Although they did not reach consensus the collaboration did provide a vast amount of new information and a strong content based collaboration between the participants. In hindsight the process also uncovered several limitations and problems linked to transboundary marine conservation. Important issues are related to funding, available capacity, representation, and the legitimacy of the process.
5. Emily Celeste Vazquez Enriquez (University of California, Davis)
“Border Biomes: The River and the Desert in the Mexico-US Limits”
The lecture examines how 21st-century Mexican, Mexican American, and Chicanx literature and art portray borders as both living ecosystems and geopolitical articulations. With a focus on the Mexico-United States borderlands, this talk thinks through border rivers and deserts to argue that they are central figures of representation through which literature and art challenge rigid categorizations of territorial boundaries, memorialize and expose the intense relationships between human and nonhuman entities against the backdrop of border demarcations, and defy and reimagine normative ways of coexistence with nonhuman worlds.
1. Sandra Barberino (Humboldt University, Berlin), Luca Eufemia, Katharina Löhr, Custodio Efraim Matavel, Michele Carducci, Stefan Sieber (Humboldt University, Berlin; Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research; Università del Salento, Lecce; Centro Di Ricerca EuroAmericano Sulle Politiche Costituzionali)
“Re-thinking Local Socio-Environmental Conflict in the EU”
Natural resources and environment-related challenges have the potential to be drivers for conflicts, but common interests in and benefits of natural resources management can also provide potential for cooperation as advocated by the concept of environmental peacebuilding. Traditionally, the research and practice of environmental peacebuilding have focused on interstate relations and countries affected by formal conflict. This study argues that the concept is transferable to other contexts where environmental issues and competing interests are present and applies it to the case of a local socio-environmental conflict surrounding the construction of a gas pipeline (TAP) in southern Italy. A community-based approach is applied to study social dynamics as trust building and political inclusion, being a case of spontaneous collective action involving state agencies at different scales. The aim of the study is to show how the environmental peacebuilding approach can be applied to countries not affected by formal conflict and deliver knowledge and empirical findings for improvement in governance strategies for conflict prevention, mitigation and resolution when natural resource use competition occurs.
2. Sofia Kosel, Yael Teff-Seker, Daniel Orenstein, Elli Groner (Ruhr University, Bochum; University of California, Davis; Technion—Israel Institute of Technology; ADSSC)
“Science Diplomacy in the Desert: The Case of Israeli and Jordanian Desert Ecologists”
As ecosystems do not follow human-made borders, cross-border environmental cooperation can be highly effective, perhaps even necessary, for both scientific insight and conservation efforts. The study presented discusses Allport’s (1954) “contact theory”, and its derivatives in the context of how personal contact between members of different groups leads to less intergroup prejudice and decreases inter-group hostility. It concludes with proposing a model that describes group-identity factors, as well as other factors, contributing to the success and failure of cross-border scientific environmental initiatives in areas of regional conflict. Current research interests include cross-border environmental cooperation on renewable energy certificates (RECs) in the Middle East and the role which sport and community gardening can play in the protection and well-being of refugees and internally displaced people through the creation of bridging networks.
The transboundary area in the Western Sea of the Korean Peninsula has long been disputed in terms of maritime demarcation between the two Koreas. Recognizing that settling the boundary issue was pivotal in terms of peace-building in the peninsula, the leaders of the two Koreas held Inter-Korean summit talk and signed joint declarations in 2007 and 2018. These summit talks provided a momentum to bring peace to the area. Some actions in the declarations have already been implemented, including a joint survey of the Han River estuary, and closure of DPRK artillery position doors. Following the recognition of the NLL in the Panmunjom declaration in April, 2018, implied that the DRPK would acquiesce to the NLL as a provisional boundary in inter-Korean cooperation and peace-building process. Reflecting the changed political circumstance, the 2018 Panmunjom declaration has more hopeful commitments for peace, prosperity and re-unification of two Koreas; establishment of Maritime Peace Zone, joint fishing grounds, joint economic special district; joint patrol to prevent the third party’s illegal fishing; joint utilization of Han River estuary; halting of military hostile conduct; navigation route development for the DPRK, etc. A stronger conservation element for the transboundary area was incorporated into the 2018 agreement. In 2007, sand dredging was the most interesting agreement on Han River, but very controversial in ROK society. Interestingly, joint MPAs or conservation areas have become a hot issue in the ROK, mainly raised by environmental action organizations and scientists. The transboundary area could not be accessed and economically utilized due to inter-Korean military confrontation, and consequently, the two governments have unilaterally designated over 70 PAs in total along the NLL within their jurisdictions.
3. Jen Holzer (Brock University)
“Cooperation and Conflict in Cross-Boundary Environmental Research Networks”
In 2019, the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council funded “NSERC ResNet: A network for monitoring, modelling, and managing Canadian ecosystem services for sustainability and resilience”. Over the past year, as the challenges of starting up a new environmental research network have been magnified by the challenges of the global pandemic, ResNet administrators and scientists have often reflected on the actions needed to effectively facilitate comparative, place-based research. Using examples from different networks, this talk will illuminate some key challenges of building successful environmental research networks. I will then propose a conceptual framework for setting priorities for the start-up phase of their development, with the aim of preventing challenges before they take hold.
1. John McManus (University of Miami)
“Potential Role for Environmental and Fishery Cooperation in Keeping the Peace in the South China Sea”
Amid increasing tensions in the South China Sea, it is important to step up efforts to develop environmental and fishery cooperative planning for the area. A Spratly Island Peace Park Proposal developed in the early 1990’s was supported by regional scientists and some national leaders. Various real and imagined issues led to delays. Subsequently, a race for claims has resulted in nearly 80 military outposts belonging to five claimants. These and unregulated, rampant fisheries have led to serious declines in valuable coral reefs and fishing grounds. Unusually high levels of population connectivity make cooperative management vital. A handful of active efforts are underway to provide cooperation mechanisms, including a Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO). They have been reduced during the Covid epidemic. As this crisis subsides, efforts must be redoubled to protect remaining resources, provide vital income to regional fishers, and to ease regional tensions.
2. Mirali Shukla (University of London)
“Conflict and Conservation in Indigenous and Marginalized Communities”
Community resilience in the face of drastic environmental changes requires a deeper understanding of the struggles being felt most dramatically, at a local level. More and more, international organizations and government institutions are recognizing the importance of indigenous inclusion in both the mitigation of environmental problems and consideration in how they are affected. Indigenous peoples have a vital role to play in environmental conservation yet face human rights abuses, civil conflict, land stakeholder issues, and many other problems directly related to environmental disruption. They comprise roughly one third of the world’s poor and due to socioeconomic circumstance, many are often disproportionately affected by global issues like climate change. Many indigenous communities live in some of the most biodiverse geographical regions and are frontline agents of change for biodiversity conservation. Moreover, the strengths of indigenous communities as conservation and development partners include their diversity, self-organizing abilities, knowledge, their internal accountability, and their locally-adapted cultures. Interviewing members of indigenous communities globally enables policymakers to further understand how to integrate indigenous, local, and marginalized communities into the environmental discourse.
“Peace Building Across the Israeli-Palestinian Border Through Environmental Education”
Limited access to sufficient, safe water is a major cause of conflict in the Middle East. In Israel and Palestine, environmental education can play an important role in peacebuilding by finding a common ground to solve environmental issues that affect all people in the region. This talk will describe activities organized by the Water Resources Action Project (WRAP) in a network of 14 schools in 4 areas in Israel and Palestine. These include Jerusalem, the Galill (Northern Israel), Rechovot-Lod municipalities, and areas adjacent to the Green Line near Bethlehem in Palestine. WRAP has supported environmental projects relevant to cross-border issues including 1) maximizing water collection and use with rainwater harvesting systems, 2) grey water testing and utilization, and 3) virtual/digital activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The activities supported by WRAP and its partners are an important part of the schools’ science literacy programs as described in this talk.
The Water Resources Action Project is in final testing of a student focused, mobile-friendly Tri-Lingual (Arabic, Hebrew, English) Environmental website designed to support cross-cultural learning and relationships. The WRAPapp is in final testing. The presentation will include: An overview of the WRAPapp. Using the App platform to facilitate short and long-term cross-cultural relationships between individuals. Using the WRAP-app water harvesting feature for data collection, system monitoring, & cross-cultural information sharing. The Water Harvesting feature was designed in collaboration with Amir Yechieli, aka “Israel’s Rain Man”. How the app provides opportunities for Alumni of student cross-cultural environmental programs to maintain their relationships and mentor cross-cultural program participants; How the WRAPapp provides a robust, on-line cross-cultural program evaluation tool. These concepts were developed by Dr. Gonen Sagy.