Chicago - March 10, 2015 (Investorideas.com Water Stocks Newswire) With global floods, droughts, and compromised water sources as a backdrop, water experts and visionaries will gather for Water after Borders: Global Stakes, Local Politics, a historic two-day summit at the University of Illinois at Chicago, April 23rd-24th, 2015 to focus on strategies for sharing water across political, geographical, and cultural boundaries.
Among the summit's dialogue around controversial issues: Palestinian, Israeli, and Jordanian officials will highlight how water sharing can form the basis for peacemaking and political reconciliation.
Water after Borders focuses on two regions: the Great Lakes and the Jordan River Valley. The Great Lakes are a site of abundance spanning peaceful borders between the U.S. and Canada; the Jordan River marks a demilitarized border between Israel and Jordan, and a border contested by Palestine and Israel. The Jordan, famous for associations with heaven, today flows mostly as a toxic trickle.
"Despite their differences, residents and community leaders in both regions have much to learn from one another," said Rachel Havrelock, associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an organizer of the conference. "Residents of the Jordan Valley can learn from the long-standing treaties and binational cooperation of the US and Canada. The example of cross-border water planning in the Middle East can inspire the Great Lakes region to connect cultural communities and empower diverse groups to manage shared waters." Havrelock is also a founder of Freshwater Lab, a new thinktank on water issues based at UIC-Chicago.
A highlight of the summit: Mayors from Jordan River Valley cities and cities around the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River will convene a panel about the centrality of water in their cities and shared strategies for protecting, restoring, and distributing water equitably across borders.
The directors of EcoPeace Middle East - a Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli NGO - will showcase their work bridging communities separated by protracted conflict through water sharing programs.
Rather than waiting for peace in order to address inequality and toxicity, EcoPeace Middle East engages local residents in resource sharing as a mode of peace building. Undeterred by conflict, EcoPeace Middle East continues to move forward with their grand vision of a healthy Jordan flowing through the sustainable Eden of the transboundary Jordan River Peace Park.
Among those addressing the Great Lakes at Water after Borders, Dr. Susan Hedman, director of EPA Region 5; Michael Goffin, Regional Director from Environment Canada; and Commissioner Lana Pollack, Chair of the U.S. Section of the binational International Joint Commission will discuss how the U.S. and Canada negotiate water issues and outline recommendations to face current challenges including algae blooms, oil spills, and pressures to export water from the region.
The summit will also include expert panels, interactive working groups, and a gallery reception featuring “Water in Art,” a breathtaking exhibition of works inspired by this essential element. Representatives from peaceful cities with abundant water and municipal leaders from contested cities facing freshwater scarcity will pledge to learn from one another and to ensure that water flows no matter how future boundaries might align.
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