EcoPeace Middle East Environmental NGO Forum

Good Water Partners

Lead Organization

EcoPeace Middle East Environmental NGO Forum

Washington, D.C., United States

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Project Summary

EcoPeace Middle East recognizes that water insecurity can lead to conflict but equally to cooperation. In the Middle East and other water-scarce regions of the world, where old mindsets have led us down a path of conflict and competition over water resources, EcoPeace fosters an understanding of the need for cross-border cooperation to address the global water crisis. Good Water Partners will provide 1.35 million hours of classroom teaching, hotspot tours and project support to over 20,000 Palestinan, Israeli, and Jordanian youth; accelerate and scale innovative solutions developed by young professionals and green social entrepreneurs in regional hubs; and connect EcoPeace’s experience in the Middle East with the capacity building needs of civil society organizations coping with climate-induced water stress and conflict over shared water resources worldwide.

Problem Statement

Climate-induced water stress—in the form of drought or flooding—is one of the most significant threats facing the planet in the coming decades. In the Middle East, where water demand already exceeds natural supply and climate change is predicted to be even more extreme than global averages, the results are especially devastating. The past 20 years have brought historic droughts, contributing to political and humanitarian crises, including the Syrian civil war. In the Middle East, climate-induced water insecurity is already resulting in hardships for vulnerable populations. This scarcity can become a direct catalyst for conflict and further destabilize already-volatile situations. It can equally become a powerful incentive for cooperation. Albert Einstein famously said that no problem can be solved from the same mindset that created it. The global water crisis makes it clear that all of us are in the same boat, sinking or swimming together, and old assumptions no longer serve us. In fact, it was those very assumptions that led us down the path of conflict and competition over water that we see today. This project, while ambitious, does not set out to solve the problem of climate change. Nor does it propose a revolutionary new approach to climate change adaptation and mitigation (though we have some good ideas). It does, however, propose that the challenges posed by climate change can serve as a powerful leverage point for cooperation across national, ethnic, and religious borders, in the Middle East and around the world.

Solution Overview

For over two decades, EcoPeace Middle East has served as a living laboratory, continuously fine-tuning strategies for environmental cooperation in one of the most water-scarce, conflict-prone regions of the world. This proposed project will take the best of these strategies, integrate entrepreneurial initiative and digital technologies, and grow them regionally and globally. Over 5 years the project will:EDUCATION: Train 20,000 Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli youth in water diplomacy and integrate climate change programming into national school curriculums in each country. 300 young leaders in the region will be trained to develop and implement solutions to regional and global water-related challenges. REGIONAL INNOVATION HUBS: Create digital and physical innovation spaces in Jordan, Palestine and Israel (regional hubs, community-based demonstration and training sites, and ecological centers) where youth, young professionals, and green social entrepreneurs can come together to plan and design initiatives for water security and sustainable development; and where dozens of effective initiatives are rapidly accelerated and scaled. GLOBAL CAPACITY: Connect EcoPeace’s experience, tools and best practices with the capacity building needs of at least 85 civil society organizations coping with water insecurity and conflict worldwide. Rigorous evidence-based evaluation, comprehensive materials, digital tools, and other resources will be made open-source and shared in online and in-person peer-to-peer trainings. The cumulative impact of these activities will create a critical mass of young people and practitioners with greater awareness of the interdependent nature of water and conflict, forging the collective capacity, tools, and vibrant networks needed to meet the water challenges ahead.

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Project Funders

  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) 2019 - 2022
  • Rothschild Family Foundation 2019 - 2022
  • Crown Family Foundation 2019

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