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A Memorandum of Understanding signed between Israel, Jordan, and UAE to Swap Solar Energy for Desalinated Water

The United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Jordan signed a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 8th November 2022. The MOU concerned a UAE-brokered deal signed a year ago to have Jordan provide solar energy to Israel and Israel channel desalinated water to the Hashemite Kingdom. The present MOU was signed in the presence of the US climate envoy John Kerry at the climate conference of the United Nations (UN) COP27 which is held in the Sharm el-Sheikh resort in Egypt. 

UAE Climate Change and Environment Minister Mariam Almheiri signed on behalf of the Gulf nations, while the Jordanian Minister of water and irrigation, Mohammad Al Najjar signed for Amman. The MOU is pledged to continue its engagement to develop the necessary implements in plans for COP28 as well which will be held in the UAE next year. Israel’s outgoing Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej expressed his views that they are leaving the next government with a legacy of cross-border regional cooperation that creates hope for the entire region. He also stressed the importance of coming together to promote the optimal utilization of natural resources. He further added that it is a legacy of action that proves the power of peace. 

The MOU is aimed at projecting the message that the parties move forward with the agreement and that there will be ‘something to see’ at the conference next year. The MOU which was signed at the last expo in Dubai Expo last November was one of ‘intent’. The latest document states that each projects feasibility study has been ongoing and the parties affirm that both Prosperity Green (a solar plant of 600 MW capacity with storage to be built in Jordan) and Prosperity Blue (the export to Jordan of 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water per year) have been showcased to have “positive potential prospects”. 

The agreement will witness the purchase of solar power by Israel from the Jordan-based facility, which will be constructed by an Emirati firm, and Jordan purchase water from a site in Israel to be constructed along the Mediterranean coast. The deal also represented the latest by-product of the Abraham Accords normalization agreement which was signed between Israel with the UAE in 2020 under the auspices of the Trump Administration. The Biden administration has promised to construct those agreements and also be adamant that they are not the replacement for Israel-Palestinian peace. 

Jordan is one of the most water-deficient nations in the world and its cooperation on the water with Israel goes back to before the two nations established formal relations. The country is nearly landlocked, facing dire water prospects as its population expands and temperatures increases. Israel also faces hot and dry weather but with its advanced desalination technology has opened opportunities for selling freshwater. The COP27 Climate summit of the United Nations kicked off on Sunday with warnings against backsliding on efforts to cut carbon emissions and calls for rich nations to compensate poor countries after a year of extreme weather calamities.