Global Citizens Project

CGN 4122 – Spring 2024 Global Citizens Project Water scarcity affects roughly 40% of the world’s population, and according to predictions by the United Nations and the World Bank, by 2025, two-thirds of the world will live in water-stressed areas. Drought, bad management of pumping, leaky pipes in big-city municipal water systems, aging infrastructure, inadequate technology, population growth, flood irrigation, and the demand for more food production all increase water demand. By 2030, one billion people will face outright water scarcity. The Middle East and North Africa are the world’s most water-scarce regions. This region is home to 15 out of the 20 of the world’s most water-scarce countries. Due to population growth, unsustainable water management, rapid economic growth, and ongoing conflicts, water scarcity in the region is likely to worsen. The water scarcity challenge in the Middle East requires a comprehensive approach to address. Since neighboring nations share water resources, transboundary water management and diplomacy will continue to be key considerations for a more water-secure future. United Nations agencies warn the Gaza Strip is slipping into an ever more disastrous situation as the Israel-Hamas war continues unabated, and hundreds of thousands of people are suffering from a chronic lack of food and water and face an acute risk of famine. Food security is a crucial step for Palestinian self-determination. While Palestinians were once self-sufficient, the Israeli government’s seizure of land to allocate space for more settlers resulted in Palestinian dependence on Israeli food systems and severe food insecurity. The United Nations Committee on World Food Security has defined food security as “all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.” In the United States, for example, food insecurity especially affects poorer people and disproportionately people of color. According to the Economic Research Service, 10.5 percent of American households are food insecure. In Palestine, the working class is similarly suffering from food insecurity, and according to the World Food Program (WFP), food insecurity currently affects 40 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and 60 percent of Palestinians in Gaza, not including refugees. Due to barriers established to separate Israeli and Palestinian land, many Palestinianowned farms have been lost to the Israeli side of the borders, and they are forced to try to obtain a permit to use their own land. Despite the high number of food-insecure Palestinians, the agricultural sector only made up one percent of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) annual budget in 2015. Contrastingly, 26 percent was allocated to the security sector. The Palestinian Reform and Development Plan of 2007, developed in collaboration with the PA and the UN, resulted in significant cuts to public spending, including the budget allocated towards agriculture. This plan hit the Palestinian working class especially hard, who face agricultural barriers both internally and externally. Further, due to the Trump Administration’s drastic policy changes regarding US aid to Palestinians, international aid for agriculture currently accounts for a mere 0.7 percent of international assistance to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a significant drop in recent years. Palestinians are now prevented from being able to plant the food they need to survive. 82.5 percent of Palestinian imports and 55 percent of Palestinian exports come from Israel, forcing Palestinian markets to rely on them. The area known as the buffer zone between Israel and the Gaza Strip extends to around 1,000 kilometers, taking away 29 percent of Gazan farming land. This barrier has severely affected Gazan food security, forcing citizens to rely on Israeli products and international aid. Dating prior to the establishment of the Israeli state, farming has been an integral driver of the Palestinian economy, particularly their production of plums, olives, olive oil, dates, and grapes, even producing more than Israel. In 1967, the West Bank exported 80 percent of their crops, as well as 45 percent of the fruits produced. Today, farming only accounts for 4.8 percent of Gaza’s GDP and 2.6 percent of the West Bank’s, according to a 2018 study by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Additionally, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), “an estimated 40 percent of rural Palestinian women at working age carry out unpaid work” in the agricultural and farming sectors specifically, and most of their work is considered informal. Their labor is thus not included in Palestine’s GDP. Unpaid agricultural labor increases women’s food insecurity by further preventing them from obtaining food and forcing them to rely on other methods. Palestinians are forced to rely on privatized Israeli water that is often unaffordable. A lack of access to water also obstructs Palestinian food security, as the Israeli West Bank Barrier isolates 95 percent of Palestinians from the water sources they historically used. This dependency on water is a result of the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, also known as the Oslo II Accord. The agreement between Israel and the PA included several environmental protection segments, including Article 40 on Water and Sewage. In the agreement, Israel recognized Palestinian rights to water and granted the PA limited control over resources. The Joint Water Committee (JWC) was established to divide control over water resources between Israel and the PA. This was the last major negotiation over water rights in Palestine, and the JWC has yet to be implemented, resulting in 85 percent of Palestinian water sources being controlled by Israeli forces in the West Bank. According to the World Bank, The JWC does not function as a ‘joint’ water resource governance institution because of fundamental asymmetries – of power, of capacity, of information, of interests – that prevent the development of a consensual approach to resolving water management conflicts.″ As Palestinian agriculture is dependent on irrigation, this is a major issue. In addition to the water used for irrigation, the vast majority (95 percent) of water in Palestinian homes is nonpotable, affecting over two million Palestinians in Gaza. Finally, water that was previously free for Palestinians is now inaccessible, further harming Palestinian farming. Another obstacle facing Palestinian farmers today is the lack of access to markets, both locally and externally. Israel requires Palestinians to obtain a permit in order to transport goods; this has become increasingly difficult due to Israel’s closure of East Jerusalem as well as the many checkpoints Palestinians must go through. Additionally, admission through checkpoints is not guaranteed. The Protocol on Economic Relations, a 1994 agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, also known as the Paris Protocol, allowed the Palestinian economy to integrate into Israel, giving Israel control over what goes in and out of its borders. This enables Israel to label and export products made in the occupied Palestinian Territories as Israeli products, with Palestinian farmers receiving little to none of the profits. The inability to brand Palestinian produce reduces its marketability, especially elsewhere in the Middle East. Palestinian NGOs are stepping up to provide funding for communal food projects, as well as supporting farmers in the fight against land grabs. INSTRUCTIONS • • • • • • • • • • A Global Citizens Assignment (GCA) will count for about 20% of your semester grade. Most stages of the GCA will be conducted and submitted by groups. This is for three reasons. First, engineers need to work in groups, which is good practice. Second, if your group works together well, each student’s workload should be reduced by working in a group. Third, it makes grading more manageable for a class of this size. Groups will consist of three or four students (not one, not two, not five) All students are collectively responsible for what is submitted by the group. This means, for instance, that students are responsible for making sure that their group members do not commit plagiarism. All students in the group will receive the same grade on any group assignment. If the grade is penalized for any reason (plagiarism, late penalty, etc.), then all members of the group will receive the same punishment. Your group may discuss the project with students in other groups. However, any work your group submits for a grade should have been completed only by your group. Therefore, an acceptable procedure would be to discuss an assignment with another group but then complete the project within your group. An unacceptable approach would be for students in two (or more) groups to complete an assignment side-by-side and then submit work that is essentially the same. If two groups submit similar assignments to indicate that each group’s work was not completed individually, then all members of both groups will be penalized. At the end of the semester, you will be allowed to evaluate the other group members based on the effort they put forth on the group’s behalf. I will take these evaluations into account when assigning semester grades. Students who do not contribute fairly to their groups’ GCA will be penalized in those areas of the semester grading formula. Students who go “above and beyond the call of duty” on their group’s behalf may be given bonus points in the appropriate areas. Penalties and bonuses will be up to the instructor’s discretion but will be based on the evaluations submitted by the group members. Teams of three or four students will prepare final reports, each representing one of the topics identified above. These reports must be no less than 15 and no more than 20 pages, and the page count excludes any title page, references page(s), and full-page figures. The text shall be in 12-point font and single-spaced. They are to consist of a detailed description of the case study, the role that engineering practitioners play in providing a solution (design and strategy) to the case or contributing to the identified problem, and a list of stakeholders that includes the Palestinian plight IN DETAIL, For instance. o How do you propose the achievement of Palestinians’ food security o How can barriers be removed to allow all access to potable water o How do the Palestinians regain control over the produce that they sell o What would an equitable land-sharing agreement look like o How can women regain their status in the region o What would a two-state solution look like o What sort of support would be required by the international community I am also looking for a “lessons learned” section that may change the students’ original understanding of the case study, reflections on the conduct of professionals (politicians, engineers, scientists, business owners, etc.) in the case study, and thoughts on actions students, themselves, would want to have taken if they were themselves involved. Calendar March 1 – Have a Group or be assigned to one. March 8 – Have an executed contract. April 5 – Submit your final report April 12 – Peer Review Due

Global Citizens Project

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