An EJWP group’s journey took them outside of Europe for the first time this month. Groups 2-3 were in Tel Aviv from 11-15 June for a Training Week hosted by EcoPeace Middle East in which they explored transboundary water issues, trained in negotiation and consultancy skills, presented results of a project, and launched a new project.
The week also featured the New Waves Workshop 2023 on 14 June to exchange knowledge and work together toward future collaborations. EJWP participants interacted with representatives from EcoPeace and partner organizations to tackle how to approach collaboration on water issues from a regional and cross boundary perspective. This was the third EJWP New Waves event, which brings together diverse stakeholders also from different disciplines to brainstorm not only on solutions, but how to structure an inclusive workplace to implement new approaches to future water challenges.
Director Naomi Timmer said, “It was truly an intense and great training week. Extra special for me was bringing the connection between EJWP in the water sector with my own background perspective in religion and politics, especially in this region. To solve water issues, we need to create safe spaces to share knowledge, create better connections, and learn with each other as people sharing one planet. In this is lies the hope!”
The week kicked off with a field trip to the Jordan Valley and River with the EJWP group, EcoPeace staff and alumni of their young professional programme. Participants were able to get their feet wet in seeing up close the water and geographic features of the region in exploring from “holy water in tropical paradise,” to sewage systems, to transboundary challenges.
EJWP Trainer Jennifer Cronick reflected during the field trip, “History is fed by narratives. Each culture has their own perspective on these stories. In order to work and live together we must learn to listen to each other’s narratives and see where share responsibilities, needs and opportunities. Water creates a pathway to do this.”
Training sessions during the week, also in cooperation with EcoPeace staff, highlighted exercises and role playing in sessions on consultancy and negotiations in the water and environmental sectors. Jennifer Cronick led the sessions in which participants confronted potential situations outside of their comfort zones and how to apply helpful techniques toward desired outcomes.
Exercises within a consultancy framework dealt with how get work accomplished with less frustration with daily-use skills, and understanding how to deal with external factors that may pose barriers. On negotiating skills, participants worked on ways of creating and building trust. Part of this process was knowing how to bring tense subjects to negotiations, and then actually finding something better than a middle ground of agreement. Paying attention to which “battles” to engage in was another way approach, while recognizing issues around of management, hierarchy protocol, and strategic compromises.
During the week, EJWP launched the collaborative WatNex project (Water-Energy-Biodiversity-Climate-Food Nexus) aiming at highlighting the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem functions in climate change, including focus on underrepresented stakeholders such as junior and/or female experts on biodiversity and climate. Skills development for future leaders is another aspect of this project, which is supported through the Fund for Bilateral Relations of EEA Grants and Norway Grants. Stay tuned to the EJWP website and social media for updates on the project!
Participants also presented the results of the “Mapping Water Pollutants in Jordan Valley” collaborative project with EcoPeace. The results of this project which began in January were geared toward a map with a visualization of water pollutants in the Jordan Valley with the larger aim to support the funding request for the creation of joined Waste Water Treatment Plants. More information about the project and EcoPeace can be found on the EJWP website.