Israel Environment & Nature: The Environment Working Group
The Environment Working Group endeavors to enhance the ability of the regional parties to deal with maritime pollution, wastewater treatment, environmental management and desertification. The seventh meeting met in Amman, Jordan on June 19-21, 1995, in conjunction with the Water Working Group. Forty-seven delegations participated and continued discussion on the following projects initiated in previous meetings:
- Upper Gulf of Aqaba Oil Spill Contingency Project: Significant progress has been made in implementing the project on fighting pollution in the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba. In the framework of this project, three stations have been set up in Aqaba, Eilat and Nuweiba, to be linked by a joint communications network. The project is being financed by the European Union and the Japanese government. Joint teams from Israel, Egypt and Jordan will go to Norway for intensive training.
- Desertification: The World Bank is overseeing a project to address natural resource degradation of arid lands in the Middle East, which was discussed and launched at the working group meeting in Cairo. This project includes the establishment of grazing lands, wildlife, forestation and planting of orchards, introducing varieties of vegetation appropriate for arid climates, and the purification of brackish water, to be implemented through five regional centers, each dealing with a specific aspect.
- Environmental Management: At the informal consultation meeting held in Oman in June 1996, it was agreed to establish a regional training center on environmental management in Amman, Jordan. In November 1998 the regional parties convened there to establish an agreed-upon work plan for the center, which included the formulation of a cooperative training program to meet regional human resource requirements. The parties have called upon the international donor community to support the implementation of the training program in the framework of the regional training center.
- Effective Use of Pesticides Project: The object of this project is to reduce the hazards to the population as a result of the use of pesticides. The projects deals with monitoring levels of pesticides being used in identified areas and checking the effects on the health of the communities in the vicinity. In addition, it aims at improving techniques for administering pesticides by reducing the quantity of pesticides used, supplementing them with environmentally friendly methods. The project is led by the U.S.D.A. with the participation of Jordan, Israel, and the PA.
This document was endorsed by the Middle East Peace Process Environmental Working Group on October 25th, 1994, in Bahrain. In the Bahrain Code of Conduct, the following principles were agreed upon by all the regional parties:
- Natural resources of region must be preserved and all activities that would have an adverse effect must be avoided.
- A comprehensive peace in the region and environment protection are interdependent, and the regional parties will cooperate on environmental issues.
- The parties will facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by training and education
- The regional parties will join forces for environmental protection and conservation and begin working in the following fields: water, marine and coastal environment, air, waste management, and desertification.
Sources: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs