Israel and Jordan to Cooperate on Jordan River Restoration
Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan signed yesterday a Joint Declaration of Intent on cooperation in the ecological rehabilitation and sustainable development of the Jordan River
The Declaration was signed at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh by Minister of Environmental Protection Tamar Zandberg on behalf of the Israeli Government and by Eng. Mohammad Najjar, Minister of Water and Irrigation, on behalf of the Jordanian Government.
Rehabilitation of the Jordan River is an important goal for both countries due to its rich historical heritage, its importance as a main tourism site, as well as its high ecological value. Rehabilitation and protection of the Jordan River against pollution is especially important due the connection between the climate crisis and the ecological crisis. The Jordan River area is suffering from a decrease in precipitation and the amount of available natural water, phenomena that are expected to worsen due to the climate crisis.
In the Declaration, the two sides recognize that restoration of the Jordan River requires transboundary action. They acknowledge that restoration of the river is expected to create new opportunities for cooperation between them and contribute to improving the quality of life of populations on both sides of the river, as well as additional employment potential.
As part of the measures laid out in the Declaration, Israel and Jordan will endeavor to remove pollution sources in their respective territories by constructing wastewater treatment facilities and connecting communities along the river to advanced sewage infrastructure, as well as treating other sources of pollution. Moreover, they will endeavor to improve the quality of freshwater flows in the river in accordance with their respective plans. The two countries will also aspire to promote regional tourism with the view of generating additional employment opportunities in the region, and to promote sustainable agriculture, including the control of agricultural drainage and reduction the use of chemical pesticides. The sides also recognize the importance of scientific and academic cooperation and will promote the establishment of a Regional Research Center for River Rehabilitation along the Jordan River.
The Treaty of Peace Between Israel and Jordan on Environment contains provisions for cooperation on the Jordan River, including on the ecological rehabilitation of the river, environmental protection of water resources, agricultural pollution control, liquid waste, pest control, nature reserves and protected areas, and tourism and historical heritage.
“The signing of this joint Declaration is an expression of the close relationship between man and nature. A river free from hazards, clean and healthy, will provide health and prosperity for all the populations surrounding it and for all those who visit it. Cleaning up the pollutants and hazards, restoring water flow and strengthening the natural ecosystems will help us prepare and adapt to the climate crisis”, Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection Tamar Zandberg said in her Statement. “It is also an expression of the connection between Israel and Jordan, neighboring countries with a river flowing between them, and is of great importance for our shared future in the region, especially in an era of global and regional changes that endanger us all. Only together we will succeed”, she added.