Israel and Jordan sign joint declaration to preserve the Jordan River

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Nov. 17 (UPI) — Israel and Jordan have agreed to cooperate on restoration, ecological rehabilitation and sustainable development of the Jordan River.

The nations signed a joint declaration at the COP27 environmental conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where they recognized that the Jordan River restoration requires transnational action as the water flow declines.

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“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,” Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection Tamar Zandberg said in a statement. “Cleaning up the pollutants and hazards, restoring water flow and strengthening the natural ecosystems will help us prepare and adapt to the climate crisis.”

The countries will work to remove pollution sources by building wastewater treatment facilities and connecting communities along the river to advanced sewage infrastructure as they work to improve freshwater flows in the river.

Mohammad Najjar, Minister of Water and Irrigation, signed the joint declaration on behalf of the Jordanian Government. Both Israel and Jordan acknowledge the rich cultural heritage of the Jordan River and its high ecological value.

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For years the Jordan River has lost water flow. According to the Century Foundation, the Jordan River Basin “suffers from acute water scarcity” caused by regional population growth and climate change reducing the flow today to just 10% of its historical average.

The peace treaty between Jordan and Israel also includes a provision for joint cooperation on the Jordan River.

Article D of that treaty, according to Israel, includes 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.