A symposium coming to Los Angeles Sept. 9 will explore these critically important questions and showcase ground-breaking efforts for trans-boundary environmental cooperation in the Middle East. The seminar is presented by the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and features a keynote address from Dr. Peter Gleick, co-founder and president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security.
Securing trans-boundary cooperation is critical as Israel and many areas of the Middle East are in the midst of historic water shortages. Similarly, a drought has been declared in California, adding to recent complications from court-ordered reductions in water deliveries to Southern California to protect endangered species. In addition, the Colorado River Basin is experiencing historic drought conditions.
Research director of the Arava Institute Clive Lipchin comments,
California’s history can and has been written as successive battles over water waged both within the state and with surrounding states and Mexico. Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority are waging similar battles, attempting to resolve their problems of scarcity, drought and allocation in the middle of a politically tense region.
In many ways, these two regions that are on opposite ends of the planet have very similar problems. Yet, it seems, there are distinct differences in how California and the Middle East attempt to find solutions. Our hope is that our experiences from the Middle East may have relevance to similar issues in the Western United States.
We are finding that time and time again, the cooperation that emerges during our studies is a much more effective means to reduce tensions and secure meaningful environmental gains than are more formal approaches.