GNF - Gardens for Peace

Ecological Peace Project at the Dead Sea


In autumn 2006, our Living Lakes partner organisation Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) asked us to support the initiative “Gardens for Peace” at the Dead Sea. Two communities provided areas for the realisation of ecological gardens.

Young volunteers from Israeli, Palestine and Jordan communities at the Dead Sea jointly designed concepts for the establishment of ecological gardens. Workshops were organised by FoEME staff to convey basis knowledge about the use of recycled materials as well as suitable plants. Thanks to the donations received until 2006, ecological building materials, seedlings, irrigation tubes and pipes, gardening tools were purchased and meals provided to the volunteers.


In the Israeli municipality Tamar Regional Council, first trees were planted and the area started to flourish as, unfortunately, the regional government planned to construct a road in this area. So the trees and other materials were relocated to the zoo and park of the Kibbutz Ein Gedi and planted respectively used there.  


A mud house was built using recycled natural materials (hay for insulation, soil,  compost generated locally). Thanks to planting native seedlings and the installation of water-saving irrigation systems green areas developed. Boards were established providing information about the garden and donors. 

On the plot of land in the Jordan municipality of Safi, first of all, the soil quality had to be improved through the application of organic compost. Additionally to the trees and irrigations systems, a network of roads and trails as well as shady areas for the visitors were created. The municipality of Safi is absolutely delighted with the new garden and agreed to provide FoEME another plot of land near the shore of the Dead Sea for the redesign of the area.


The regular care and maintenance of both gardens will be realised by local FoEME staff members and the Water Trustees Organisation. In the Ein Gedi Kibbutz, it is planned to promote the use alternative energies, to establish wetlands in the large area as well as recyclable toilets. In Safi, the second garden is nearing completion.

 Children cultivate native plant species.
 Ecological garden in Ein Gedi.
 Ecological building in Ein Gedi.
 Planned garden in Safi.

Despite or because of the persistent Middle East crisis, this initiative provides an opportunity to foster conservation and good neighbourhood between municipalities of different nations and religions at the Dead Sea. 


In the long run, this project is intended to strengthen the awareness for the precious and rare resource water and to generate consciousness of sustainable development. The common realisation of the pre-planned concepts, the cultivation of autochthonous plants  as well as the use of environment-friendly components acknowledge the idea of sustainability.   


In spite of the difficult political situation peace can be based on water in Middle East provided that this rare resource is used sustainably and equitably”, said Munqeth Meyar, Jordan Director of FoEME, at the launch of the project in autumn 2006. “Over the past years, also in periods of crisis, the cooperation has been fruitful at the local level. The project “Gardens for Peace” is another step towards strengthening the mutual understanding of the importance of an intact nature and implementing concrete measures for the protection of the precious local resources.”