International Development

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Water as a Source of Regional Cooperation in the Middle East: The Work of EcoPeace Middle East in Jordan, Israel, and Palestine

Water is at the core of sustaining all life on earth, and the people who have inhabited the arid and semi-arid lands of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region throughout the centuries know this very well. Scarcity of water in the region has shaped its history and geopolitics, including into the present day, with climate change and population growth putting more pressure on already scarce water resources (World Bank 2018).

A view of St. Paul, with the Wabasha Bridge over the Mississippi River in the foreground. At left is Harriet Island Regional Park and at top right is the Smith Avenue High Bridge. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

St. Paul Mayor, Others Set Clean Mississippi River goals

Mayors from the United States, including several associated with the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, were in Paris for the deliberations at COP21. As Mayor of St. Paul Chris Coleman wrote before the trip, “the stakes [connecting climate change to river health] could not be higher”. In Paris, the mayors from the Mississippi River valley found common cause with mayors from other river cities across the world, arguing that river basins merited increased attention as food-producing regions supporting billions of people worldwide.