In late October, the Track II Environmental Forum held a 5-day workshop on Infrastructure and Social Development for Gazan professionals, funded by the European Union. The workshop focused on delivering a comprehensive understanding and approach for regional sustainable development, which included a look at multiple sustainable green technologies; how to understand and approach the development needs of one’s own community from a grassroots local perspective; and how to integrate municipal stakeholders and influencers as the main promoters of scalable policies and practical projects; as well as exposing participants to different models of scientific research, and how they can be applied both in the framework of pilot projects, and within local and regional governance schemes.
During the workshop held in Palestine and Israel, participants met with various Track II partners and other stakeholders and professionals to learn about different technologies and strategies for energy and water management, and their implementation in communities. They also had an opportunity to visit relevant sites in the West Bank in the Arava, and speak with local officials and residents.
In addition to the professional aspects of the training, the human experience of cooperation, partnership, and the power of a shared vision was very meaningful for both participants and organizers. Over the five days, the feeling of trust and being at ease visibly increased, as the group understood that they were sincerely welcomed by the whole team and other individuals they met, regardless of political conflict in the region.