BLOG: Meeting with Parliamentary Group by Rainer Nõlvak

Hi everyone,

I'm returning from meeting this parliamentary group as per request of Austrian Parliament, they are presiding Mediterranean effort by EU. Formally the meeting was called UNION FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND WATER, Salzburg, 1 – 2 July 2011. Here's the report.

Interestingly, this Committee is the only official body where Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel are sitting next to each other behind the same table. The state of natural environment binds them and forces them to cooperate, despite insurmountable political problems in Gaza and in whole region.

There was obviously some tension in the air of a conference as this ispolitically sensitive region. On top of that, you can't get any more formal than international Parliamentary Conference. Black cars, roomful of translators, different cultures, official reception dinner and everything. That means boring at times, too. During some presentations at few people were sleeping. So I had to loosen them up with our story. Got them well awaken and luckily the reaction was overwhelmingly positive, more below by each contact. It is likely that Committee will adopt a resolution whereby Let's Do It Day will be formally agreed upon to be actively supported by Mediterranean Countries for coming years.
Mr. Stefan SCHENNACH, Chair of the Committee
Stefan is the instrumental here. He is MP of Austria with influence in Vienna and Mediterranean countries, he runs this committee well. He truly wants thisMediterranean Cleanup effort to succeed longtime. They have meeting in Morocco July 11 where LDIW Mediterranean proposal needs to be officially adopted by countries.

Ms. Orit ZUARETZ, MP, Israel
Very positive lady who came and thanked us. Funnily enough, while I was speaking she and Iyad from Palestinian Friends of the Earth Middle East looked at each other and exchanged big smiles (remember, Palestine and Israel). Theycame to me together to talk later and said they feel it might be possible to organize WC2012 as a healing event for a region.

Ms. Rodi KRATSA, Deputy Speaker, EU Parlament, Greece
She is a Vice President of EU, very positive and very interested in pullingWC12 in Greece. Took me into some good questioning about details. Definitely aperson willing to help in Athens but also perhaps in Brussels.

Ms. Antonyia PARVANOVA, EU Parliament,Vice-Chair of the Committee, Bulgaria - very supportive and open. She alsosigned EU written declaration.
Ms. Stefka ALEXANDROVA, Parlament Staff,Bulgaria - she was filling up for someone, participates in Sofia cleanupsand perhaps can help if something specific comes up in Bulgaria.
Mr. Iyad Usama George ABU RUDAINEH, Friendsof the Earth Middle East, Palestine. He had presentation about Jordan river anddead sea which are dying due to overuse. He organizes cleanups in Palestinewith local schools as well. He was really motivated as the idea of cleaning upall Palestine stroke to him as a longtime dream he had not yet vocalized. He is connected and in my view well capable of doing it.

If we could help Israelis and Palestinians have simultaneous cleanup then perhaps Gaza sector can join, too. This opportunity could be used to convey Clean World message to many nations. It is a tiny piece of land which is sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims, half of World population! Perhaps this could be an opportunity to have religious leaders take joint care of organizing cleanup. 

All in all, the day in Salzburg, home of Mozart, was well worth it. The politicians can be good, too - it just depends whom and when and why you connect to. If we can cooperate with this Committee without loosing our spirit then we can make life of WC12 organizers in many countries much easier.
Greetings from Frankfurt airport!