The role of
Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information(IPCRI)
IPCRI has been working to promote cooperation and understanding in a
variety of fields since 1989. Its environment and water program has been
in existence for over fifteen years. During that time IPCRI has sought
through joint research projects involving scientists and professionals
from all three countries, through conferences and seminars, and through
publications, to bring those concerned with the environment together in
a creative context.
This work, and comparable efforts by NGOs such as Friends of the Earth
and the Arava Institute, has had an impact but it has become clear that
since 2000 when the Second Intifada broke out cooperation at all levels
has much diminished. This is true both at governmental level and with
regard to contacts between civil society organizations in the three
Through its active involvement with environmental organizations,
academia, and government, IPCRI has become aware that the need to
promote more joint activity is generally recognized. IPCRI wishes to
take the lead in stimulating a more positive effort to promote greater
and more effective cooperation.
What are the aims
of the Conference?
The Conference will have four main aims:
a.To give participants the opportunity to look at past cooperative
ventures and learn from their successes and failures
b.To hear from government representatives what is the extent of current
cooperation at an official level and how best universities, research
institutes, NGOs and business interests can combine to augment these
government to government contacts.
c.To allow participants to consider what are the most significant areas
of concern where cooperation at all levels is most needed.
d.To create a community of those active in the field and develop new
Who will be
invited to the Conference?
The Conference will be addressed by speakers from Government in the
three countries and by representatives of major donors. These invited
speakers will give an account of what cooperation is currently going
forward and what they think could be the contribution of the
The remaining participants in the Conference will be of two kinds –
those invited to take part because of their previous involvement in
cooperation and those who respond to a call for papers which is linked
to the Conference.
The ultimate aim of the conference organizers is to bring together about
150 individuals representing all the major stakeholders involved in
fashioning the environmental future of the region for detailed
discussion of what action is needed if the long term sustainability of
the region is to be secured.
How will the
Conference be organized?
The first morning of the Conference will be devoted to contributions by
official representatives of Government and major donors who will review
the present state of cooperation and indicate what they think might be
the contribution of non-governmental organizations and interests.
The afternoon of the first day will be devoted to papers on the extent
to which past cooperation can be said to have succeeded and where
results were less than satisfactory.
IPCRI will contribute to this session based on a survey made earlier of
cooperative projects in the water sector. There will an opportunity for
detailed discussion in small groups of the factors which lead to success
or to failure of joint projects.
In the second day the participants will divide into groups in order to
consider where the need for cooperation is most evident and what can be
done to stimulate it. Among the topics will be:
Water supply, distribution and quality
Solid waste management (in particular the problem posed by the disposal
of hazardous waste)
Private sector’s role in preserving a sustainable environment
Developments in recycling
Preservation of open space
Long term future of biodiversity
The future of the Dead Sea and the proposed Red Sea/Dead Sea Conduit
Promoting public awareness
Papers on the value of cooperation in these specific areas and the form
it could take will be requested in the call for papers for the
The final morning of the Conference will be devoted to considering what
mechanisms can be developed to see that cooperation is effective, what
resources are available to promote it and what the potential effect of
cooperative action can be on the long term future of the region.
The Location of
The Conference will be held at Aqaba, Jordan. Aqaba provides an
excellent location and easy access for participants from Israel, Jordan,
Palestine and elsewhere who wish to meet in a supportive environment.
The Length and Date of the Conference
The conference will last two and a half days.
What are the
anticipated results of the Conference?
It is expected that as a result of the presentations made at the
Conference and discussions among those present, a new impetus will be
given to cooperative efforts. All proposals put forward at the
Conference, whether for joint research or participatory action, will be
careful recorded. IPCRI will not, of course, be solely responsible for
follow up. A conference committee will be created for which IPCRI will
provide a secretariat in an effort to see that good ideas and proposals
for projects are not lost sight of, following up them up. It is intended
that the Conference will have a variety of practical results while at
the same time promoting closer professional and personal ties between
the participants. The principal presentations made at the conference and
a summary of the discussions will be published and widely distributed by
It is anticipated that subsidies will be available for participants
whose abstracts are accepted and who are not sponsored by a specific
governmental or non-governmental source.
In addition to seeking support from the international community, the
sponsors will look for commercial sponsorships from companies engaged in
environmental technology. Commercial sponsors will have their logos on
conference materials displayed and will be invited to provide materials
about their products to conference participants.
It anticipated that the budget for a meeting of this kind, given that
there will 30 invited speakers all of whose costs will be carried by
IPCRI and that all the costs of Palestinian participants and half the
costs of Israeli and Jordanian participants wil also be paid, is
Note – the proposal for a conference of this kind has been discussed
with the following organizations all of which have indicated that they
support its aims:
Al Quds University, Jerusalem
Among Palestinian institutions of higher education Al Quds has been
foremost in promoting the necessity for regional cooperation over
environmental issues and undertaking joint research projects with
universities from Israel and Jordan.
The Arava Institute, Ketura
The Arava Institute offers diploma and degree level courses in the
environment to citizens from Israel, Palestine, Jordan and elsewhere.
Over 500 Arava graduates are now working on environmental concerns in
ACCF, Tel Aviv
ACCF is an active NGO which seeks to encourage industry to give full
recognition to environmental concerns and devote resources to guarding
against pollution and other hazards.
ANERA(American Near East Refugee Aid), Jerusalem
ANERA is a non-profit organizing which has for decades been working to
help meet the development needs of the Palestinian people and promote
peace in the region.
Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Ben Gurion University has been active, particularly at its Sde Boker
campus, in promoting joint research between scientists from Israel,
Palestine, Jordan on issues of regional concern.
ECOTEC is a leading environmental consultancy based in Amman and
specializing in environmental impact assessement, strategic planning for
the environment and environmental management.
Friends of the Earth Middle East, Israel, Palestine and Jordan
Friends of the Earth (which has offices in all three countries) has for
over a decade played a prominent role in promoting regional
environmental cooperation. It has been especially active in seeking to
save the Dead Sea and in promoting cooperation among communities in the
region with regard to water management.
The Water and Development Organisation(WEDO) Bethlehem
WEDO was founded in 1996 and has worked consistently to promote joint
research and environmental awareness in Israel and Palestine. It has
obtained support from a variety of international agencies.
The House for Water and Environment, Ramallah
The House for Water and Environment is a partner in several major
projects funded by the international community in the water sector and
is actively promoting environmental awareness in the region