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Capacity Building for Sustainable Treatment and Valorization of Olive Mill Waste in Palestine

Final Report Summary - OLITREVA (Capacity Building for Sustainable Treatment and Valorization of Olive Mill Waste in Palestine)

Executive Summary:
Olive tree is the most important tree in Palestine due to its historical, cultural, religious, economic and political values. Besides that, the Olive sub-sector contributes to the national economy and enjoys high potential for development. Palestinian olive press economic activity 2013, compared to worldwide olive oil exports, Palestinian exports are only a small share, ranking 25th in the world . Nevertheless, the industry creates income for around 100 000 families and creates thousand additional jobs. Olive farming is responsible for up to 25% of agricultural income . Despite the significant contributions of the olive oil sector in the economic and social development of Palestine, it is becoming a source of serious environmental problems to which urgent solutions have to be addressed. Olive Mill Waste (OMW) is disposed untreated into the environment without any consideration to its impact on the groundwater, surface water or land. Unfortunately, the extend of negative effects produced by OMW in Palestine is still unknown to public authorities and to the local scientific community.

Against this situation, the OLITREVA project was developed within the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission to reinforce scientific and technologi¬cal (S&T) capacities of the Palestinian research institutions working in the field of Olive Mill Waste Treatment and Valorization (OMWTV), by increasing networking and cooperation with European centres of scientific excellence. This multilateral context thought join initiatives approach at international, regional and national level focused on developing the RTD and management capacities of the Palestinian researchers to respond to the environmental threats posed by the olive oil industry.

The project was successfully implemented. It resulted in: providing a deep assessment of the existing RTD capacities of the Palestinian research institutions dealing with OMW treatment; facilitating the exchange of information and expertise between the European and Palestinian partners; boosting professional growth of young Palestinian scientist by training certain junior researchers on technical OMWTV processes and on European project’s management related-issues; raising public awareness on the necessity of sustainable and environmentally sound technologies for OMWTV; enhancing S&T and cooperation capacities of Palestinian research institutions; developing a feasible research and cooperation strategy on the short and long term basis for the ARIJ; increasing the participation of ARIJ in regional and international projects; and fostering long term partnerships among the project partners through the development of specific joint activities. Moreover, the project will serve as a demonstration model for other Palestinian research institutes as it will show examples of good practices of implementing OMW treatment technologies, and therefore it can help to chart the course of future research in the addressed field. The project has brought about several environmental benefits. Practical solutions to respond to the environmental problems were designed in an integrating approach that involved different aspects influencing sustainable OMV treatment including the knowledge transfer, cooperation and network activities.

The OLITREVA project was a three year EU FP7 project and it brought together 4 partners from research and development centres from EU and Palestine. The OLITREVA project is coordinated by ARIJ and brings together three partners namely Verein Zur Foerderung des Technologietransfers an der Hochschule Bremerhaven e.V. ttz –Germany, the Institute on Membrane Technology ITM-CNR-Italy, and the University of Extremadura UEX-Spain.

Project Context and Objectives:
Treatment of Olive Mill Waste (OMW) is a major challenge for the Mediterranean region. It has been largely demonstrated that incorrect OMW management leads to soil, surface and groundwater pollution and deterioration of the landscape. As for the whole Mediterranean, Olive Trees have designed the Palestinians landscape for thousands of years; the olive tree is an important symbol of Palestinian identity and culture. The importance of the olive tree and its products are well recognized by the Palestinian people, which make olive tree distributed over the valleys, plains, mountains and hills. The area of olive groves covers around 436.883 dunum (43.668,3 hectares) of the Palestinian territory, containing 7.105.770 olive bearing trees and 490.779 non-bearing olive trees. In total 65,829.4 tons of olives were produced in the year 2013 in Palestine out of which 17,143.9 tons of olive oil was extracted. A total of 264 olive presses were in operation in Palestine, of which 230 were fully automatic presses and 34 were half automatic and traditional presses (Map 1).

The industry creates income for around 100 000 families (constituting of 20 000 waged workers employed during the olive harvest and 80 000 land-owning households). Olive farming is responsible for up to 25% of agricultural income. The added value of olive pressing activities totalled around USD 6.5 million in 2013, and intermediate consumption and output of olive presses totalled around USD 2.1 million and USD 8.6 million, respectively.

Despite the significant contributions of the olive oil sector in the economic and social development of Palestine, it is becoming a source of serious environmental problems to which urgent solutions have to be addressed. Management of OMW is one of the key problems in Palestine, where there is no applied regulations to prevent disposing OMW into the environment without any treatment. Olive Mill Waste Water is disposed untreated into the sewage network, cesspits or dumped in open areas without any consideration to its environmental impact on the groundwater, surface water or land. Similarly, large amounts of Olive Mill Solid Waste are accumulated during harvest season, discarded on neighbouring lands or dumpsites or used as a fuel. The majority of olive presses used a tight cesspit to dispose of the waste water generated, without any treatment. The waste generated by olive oil processing is estimated at 98,744.10 m3 which is disposed improperly to the environment .

Given the multifunctional research and human capacities available at the Palestinian research centres, overcoming the environmental threats posed by Olive oil production residues in Palestine and narrowing science and technology gaps requires further investments and improvements. Indeed, some small-scale projects have been carried out, mainly by Palestinian research organizations with support of international donors. However, they have not sufficiently contributed to substantial improvement of environmental conditions. The random dumping of untreated wastewater and solid waste into wadies and watercourses is still the most common practice across Palestine. Such environmental degradation do not respect national borders and must therefore be addressed in a multilateral context through join initiatives at international, regional and national level.

Against this situation, the OLITREVA project set out towards strengthening Research and Technological Development (RTD) and cooperation capacities of the Palestinian researchers in knowledge management and advanced research goals. Therefore, the OLITREVA project aimed to enhance the technical and research capacities in the field of OMWTV and the strength the role of ARIJ through capacity building and training of ARIJ staff and Palestinian researchers to improve and contribute better to the management of OMW and to support sustainable development in the Palestine, in a time when Palestine is particularly facing not only economic crises, but also environmental crises. Moreover and while addressing capacity building to increase research excellence in an important field such as environmental protection, OLITREVA strengthen the networking, cooperation and partnership between Palestinian and the European centres of top level research scientific excellence working in the field of OMWTV.

More specifically, the project aimed at: assisting ARIJ in enhancing its competences and fund rising skills for a successful participation in international joint activities; building and reinforce scientific research cooperation between ARIJ and European centres of top-level research and scientific excellence working in the same field; increasing the participation of Palestinian researcher centres in international projects by increasing awareness about available cooperation instruments for promotion of R&D with developing countries and particularly the European Framework Programmes; promoting innovations on OMWTV by promoting cross fertilization of ideas; And raising public awareness on environmental threats engendered by improper disposal of OMW and to encourage active participation of citizens and stakeholders in finding sustainable solutions.

The content and the structure of the work plan of OLITREVA amid at tackling the project objectives as efficiently as possible, and within a period of three years. Moreover, several activities within the work plan had been conceived as a platform to attract international attention to the work of Palestinian research institutions and to promote networking activities and transfer of knowledge and best practices.

The technical content of OLITREVA was structured in 6 Work Packages which represents a fully operational system including activities such as: Identification of the Palestinian research performers working on OMW treatment and valorization and identification of the S&T capacities and needs; identification of the challenges, opportunities and potential on OMW treatment and valorization research in Palestine; Development of research & cooperation strategy for ARIJ; development of a practical guide on cross-border cooperation; implementation of joint-experiments and training activities among OLITREVA partner to facilitate knowledge transfer; development of two proposal drafts to set up the basis for future cooperation; and Creation of a platform to networking activities, transfer and exploitation of knowledge and best practices. The first stage of the project covered the assessment of the actual state of RTD capacities in the field of OMW treatment and valorization (OMWTV). Based on the assessment results, the partners evaluated challenges, opportunities and potential of this research area in Palestine. In turn, the second stage of the project devoted to strengthen RTD capacities of ARIJ by means of a tailor-made strategy for research and cooperation improvement and activities for capacity building. Finally, the dissemination activities which increased international visibility of Palestinian researchers and research institutions, while fostering networking with peer organizations abroad in the frame of OLITREVA International Conference. Dissemination of information, findings and outputs generated while accomplishing OLITREVA activities has been achieved by several means; including the project website that was created to serve as an information centre, the data base platform, the press releases prepared by Palestinian local media, and the meetings with stakeholders, the leaflets and posters, social media, training session for the student, and the international conference, among others.

All these perfumed activities aimed at providing a strong human and institutional basis for the RTD collaboration by means of exchanging and sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices between EU and Palestinian research organizations in the long-term. Through this bath, OLITREVA project succeed in creating a coordination and dynamic instrument that led to enhance the RTD management capacities, and increase and improve cross border cooperation between the EU and the Palestinian research organizations.

The Mediterranean Partner Countries have developed diversified technologies and know-how specialising in certain fields dictated by peculiar local conditions. Some countries have thus built up knowledge and expertise on specific problems, gaining a wealth of experience that could benefit those countries faced with similar problems. Therefore, the successful cooperation between the EU and the Palestinian research organizations through OLITREVA project resulted in strengthening and adding critical mass to the Palestinian national effort to respond to the environmental threats posed by the OMW through enhancing the exchange of scientific and technological knowledge as well as the developing of the future research road in OMW treatment and valorization which represents a great step forward in the development of cost-effective technology for the special conditions of Palestine and increase the visibility of AIRIJ among regional and European research organizations devoted to OMW and thus, raises its participation in international cooperation activities.

Besides the scientific aspects of OLITREVA project, it served as an informative platform to showcase EU cooperation instruments. Indeed, OLITREVA project familiarized Palestinian research institutions with the most important EU cooperation instruments on an attempted to reinforce their cooperation capacities with European research centres and give them the opportunity to improve their research activities on the targeted field.

Project Results:
The main objective of the OLITREVA project was to reinforce scientific and technological (S&T) capacities of Palestinian research institutions, notably by increasing their participation in the Framework Programme, and to create a coordination instrument between activities of different EU institutions.

1. RTD Capacity

During the first year of OLITREVA project, a thorough assessment of the actual state of Research and Technological Development (RTD) capacity for OMWTV in Palestine was carried out to identify the science and technological capacities and needs of Palestinian institution as well as to evaluate the technical and non-technical barrier hindering RTD in the field of OMW ( Figure 1) . Along with this assessment, a deep identification of OMW treatment and valorization technologies in the Mediterranean region was also carried out. Based on the result obtained from assessment of RTD capacity for was used as the primary source of information to identified Challenges, opportunities and potential of research on OMW treatment and valorization.

The Mid-term meeting was designed for being an opportunity for project team and international experts to debate main issues relating to future research in the field of OMWTV, and they focused on gaps in knowledge and the opportunities of common interest to the EU and Palestine, capitalizing on previous experiences and research results (Figure 2).

The project team gathered the information in a report highlighting the state actual state of RTD in Palestine focusing on OMW treatment and valorization with critical analyses on the S&T capacities and needs; Barriers to research and technological development, and OMWTM technology in the Mediterranean countries As well the recommendations identifying gaps and the gaps in knowledge and the opportunities to overcome them by improving synergies between research performers at national and international level and building local RTD capacities by means of networking and development of cooperation activities. This report allowed the project team to define the future research road map that provides future directions and guidance for the Palestinian researcher on OMW treatment and valorization in Palestine.

2. Research & Cooperation Strategy for ARIJ beyond OLITREVA project

Towards strengthen the role of the ARIJ to improve excellence in OMWTV and relevant research area, and within OLTREVA project, a research and cooperation strategy was developed to reinforce and consolidate S&T and cooperation capacities of ARIJ.

The first step towards the accomplishment of the research and cooperation strategy was the definition of ARIJ’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats by means of a SWOT analysis. The results of SWOT analysis gave an overall overview of the substantial base of financial and technical supports that ARIJ could receive Afterwards, a feasible strategy with well- defined goals and realistic timelines was set up in a roadmap.

The 10- year strategic action plan that was developed strives toward the modernization of ARIJ toward increasing its scope and visibility among regional and European research organizations devoted to OMW and thus, raises its participation in international cooperation activities. Also the strategic plan aims as well to assure continued follow- up and implementations of the road map even after the lifetime of OLITREVA project.

The Strategic Action Plan suggests several means of action to be applied and the procedure to be conducted in short, medium and long term, in order to achieve specific goals of the road map as well as the list of milestones to verify the effectiveness of the strategy during its application was provided. Moreover, the plan include some recommendations for future research in Palestine and steps to be taken prior to the application of the suggested technologies in order to ensure their effectiveness and to reduce the gap between the capacity of Palestine and of other Mediterranean countries to respond to the problems raised by olive oil production namely a) create a favourable social environment, b) increase expertise, and c) increase networking. In order to increase access to funding opportunities and cooperation programmes as well as to have a solid and long term partnerships with local and international institutions, the action plan also includes a list of funding institutions and programmes that can support research projects in Palestine, a list of programmes and partnerships for capacity building to which Palestine is eligible and could be advantageous considering knowledge transfer and sharing of resources, and a list of Potential partners at the local and international level that could foster quality research and can be accomplished through joint research activities, funding, or local support.

3. Practical Guide on cross-border cooperation

International cooperation activities are increasing with the expansion of globalization. Therefore, all countries of the world have not the same level of involvement and some developing countries such as Palestinian Territory lag behind in cooperating with foreign institutions. This lack of involvement is either due to the lack of information regarding the available instruments or the inegibility of the Palestinian institutions to funding programmes. With regard to the European, Palestine has one of the lowest participation rates among the ENPI countries. Against this situation, a guide to European & international cooperation programmes was developed aiming to encourage closer cooperation and increase the participation of Palestinian researcher centres in international projects. Therefore, the guideline will serves as an initiative that will contribute to give to Palestinian institutions the opportunity to know the available programmes in order to help the Palestinian research institutions to work and establish long- term partnerships with organizations abroad.

The document “Practical Guide on cross-border cooperation” targeted to Palestinian research institutions and it gives valuable information to Palestinian research institutions regarding the structure, the sub-programmes, the general principles, and the key information sources of the FP (Horizon 2020) and other European and international cooperation instruments. The guideline is divided in three different parts namely: the first part: the reader will find necessary information about the available EU programmes for which Palestinian institutions are eligible; the Second part, the reader will find the different international programmes and cooperation instruments; and third Part, the reader will find the different steps that have to be considered in order to apply for Horizon 2020 funding programmes. Therefore, the guideline drew up a non- exhaustive list of European and international programmes that could increase their international cooperation capacity. In addition, the preparation steps of a proposal described how to prepare an application in order to encourage the Palestinian institutions to apply for the European funding programmes.

4. S&T and Cooperation Capacity

One of the main objectives of OLITREVA project is to enhance and raise the capacity of the Palestinian Researcher with respect to the OMW treatment and valorization processes. This implies addressing capacity build on a long term and strategic level to ensure that ARIJ will be adequately equipped to response to the environmental threats posed by the OMW beyond the project life. Throughout the OLITREVA project, the improvement of ARIJ capacity building was assessed through the transfer of knowledge which is a key activity done. Therefore and towards reinforcing long-term cooperation between the project partners and enhancing the sharing of experience and know how as well as set up the basis for future collaboration beyond the project duration, Four short visits were organized in Italy and SPAIN. OLITREVA project give the opportunity for 2 Palestinian researchers to join the research team at the ITM-CNR and at the UEX University in order to improve scientific knowledge and technological know-how in the field of OMWTV (Figure 3).

The researchers exchange activities between the OLITREVA project partners aimed to raise and improve the capacity of the Palestinian researcher with respect to the OMW treatment and valorization processes as well as to facilitate the knowledge transfer of researchers working in OMWTV area by sharing knowledge, building network, exchanging latest research results and experience and participating international collaboration activities. The joint experiments developed gave the opportunity to involve Palestinian Researchers in the research activities in progress at the European Institutions. During these visits, the project researchers developed two joint experiments in the field of OMWTV namely: the application of membrane distillation for water purification and the evaluation of the effects of olive mill wastes application. During they stay at ITM-CNR and UEC , the Palestinian researchers acquired knowledge on 1) an innovative membrane technology, 2) the membrane distillation, whose potential for the OMWW purification has been not totally explored yet 3) evaluate the effect of raw and composted two-phase olive mill waste on soils characteristics and on the Sorption- Desorption and Leaching of MCPA herbicide when applied to soils, 4) evaluate of the MCPA distribution in the leaching columns , 5 ) evaluate the effect of raw and composted two-phase olive mill waste on the dissipation of MCPA applied to soils. Based on the obtained results of the joint experiences, it can be concluded that the main objectives like the knowledge transfer and the building of scientific cooperation between ARIJ and European centres working in the field of OMWTV that will facilitate the creation of long-term cooperation between the project partners and set up the basis for future collaboration beyond the project duration was achieved.


One the other hand, OLITREVA aimed at enhancing the capacity of ARIJ to plan and management of the environment as well as to increase Palestinian participation in EU project. In this framework, the Palestinian researchers from ARIJ staff participated in several training programs and conferences at national and international level where they have the opportunity to increase their network and to introduce ARIJ as Palestinian research center, working on the field of environment, research and sustainable development. Researchers were eager to share and exchange experience and know-how and disseminate the output of OLITREVA project. Moreover, OLIETRVA project team at ARIJ participated in a workshop on the EU Opportunities in Research, Development and Innovation as well as on Proposal Writing and International Fundraising. During these workshops, researcher were trained on proposal writing, design, engineering, and best practices in fund raising as well as exposed the experience of the EU in the MENA region.

All the training conducted could strengthen the required technical and management capacities which will allow the Palestinian researchers to develop and provide more comprehensive scientific solutions to the environmental challenges caused by the improper disposal of the Olive Mill waste. Moreover, these training give them the opportunity to improve their cooperation capacities and their research activities on the targeted filed.


5. Boost professional growth of young Palestinian scientists

Towards raising interest and reinforcing the capacities of Palestinian students in respect to Olive mill waste (OMW) treatment and valorization of its ingredients, a OLITREVA training session was organized. Moreover, the training was supposed to enable the students to have a better understanding of the cleaner production processes and eco-innovative policies for the olive oil sector. The training was attended by postgraduate master students from the Palestinian universities. The training sessions were in the form of theoretical sessions in order to introduce the students to the OMW treatment and valorization of residues’ ingredients. In these sessions, the basic concept of OMW production and characterization was introduced with special focus on the impact of the OMW on the Palestinian environment and the potential and technologies for treatment and valorization of residues from olive oil production. different OMW treatment and valorization technologies were presented to the student namely: 1) Composting: a great alternative for Olive mill waste valorization in Mediterranean countries; 2) Effect of Fresh Two Phase Olive Mill Waste on the Sorption Desorption and Leaching of MCPA Applied to Three Mediterranean Soils, 3) Membrane contactors, and 4) Biogas for the Olive Oil Sector and Use of Digestate as Fertilizer/Soil Conditioner Sludge as Agricultural Compost.

The training session was a valuable opportunity for young Palestinian researchers to exchange ideas and share best practices with fellow partners in 3 leading European institutions. This experience increased the visibility of the work developed by these young student in an international level and will significantly contribute to their career development.


6. OLITREVA international Conference

The most important event related to mass dissemination of OLITREVA was the International Conference. OLITREVA international Conference was held in Bethlehem, Palestine with the participation of the project partners on the 19th and 20th of November, 2014 with the aims not only to disseminate project results, but also to provide a common platform for scientific exchanges on new ideas and latest research works in the field of Olive Mill Waste Treatment and Valorisation in the Mediterranean Region and other parts of the world. In parallel the conference acts a platform of networking for young Palestinian.

The conference was successfully organized under the auspices of Ministry of Education and Higher Education and marked by the participation of Dr. Fahoum Shalabi Assistant Deputy for Higher Education, Tanya DIMITROVA Project officer-European Commission DG Research & Innovation, Mr. Jameel Mtour the Deputy Chairman of the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority, and Palestinian Water Authority. Almost 170 researchers attended the conference from, representatives of local and national authorities as well as representatives of local, national and international non-governmental organizations, Universities, olive-oil associations, and Palestinian Researchers.

The two days of the conference were divided in different session namely: The environmental impact of OMW; The assessment of the Palestinian scenario including 1) Palestinian legislations regarding Olive Mill Waste, 2) Reducing the environmental impact of Olive Mill Waste in Palestine, 3) Effect of Olive Mill Wastewater land-spreading on Soil Properties and Olive Tree Performance, 4) Olive Mill Waste and Wastewater in the Middle East Region: Treatment and Management , 5) Characterization of the Crusts That Created by Land Spreading of Olive Oil Mill Wastewater, 6) Effect of Fresh and Composted Two-phase Olive Mill Waste on the Sorption- Desorption and Leaching of MCPA Applied to the Three Mediterranean Soils, 7) Persistence of MCPA in Three Mediterranean Soils Amended with Fresh Two-Phase Olive Mill Waste. the technologies to treat OMW including: 1) Removal of Polyphenols from Olive Mill Wastewater using Activated Olive Stones,2) Preparation and Characterization of Hydrophobic PVDF Hollow Fibers for Wastewater Treatment, 3) Valorisation of Olive Mill Wastewaters by Pressure-driven Membrane Operations, 4) Olive Mill Wastewater Treatment by Direct Contact Membrane Distillation, 5) Preliminary Study on the Performance of Commercial Polypropylene Capillary Membranes for the Olive Mill Wastewater Treatment by Direct Contact Membrane Distillation, 6) Energetic Valorization of Residues from Olive Oil Production, 7) Alternative treatment methods for OMWW. Other projects: including 1) Feasibility and Economic value of the Palestinian olives production, 2) Assessment of Olive Oil Mills Efficiency and Olive Oil Quality in West Bank for the Years 2012 and 2013, 3) REDINN Presentations project. During the conference, the cooperation OMW treatment and valorization between the Palestinian researchers and the EU were also discussed. Additional issues were also presented and discussed during the workshop such as the role of the funding issue and the role of the Palestinian scientific council in supporting the research and innovation in Palestine. Also the participates stressed the need to increase the participation of the Palestinian researchers in Euro-Mediterranean Research and Innovation Area through modernizing R&D policies, promoting innovation and supporting institutional capacity building in Palestine.

Through the conference proceeding book which includes the scientific papers on innovative and sustainable approaches for OMW management, the Researchers benefitted from immediate access to high quality research information with respect to OMWTV and dissemination of scientific knowledge on research activities carried out in the Mediterranean area including the development of new cost-effective technologies to reduce environmental threats posed by olive oil residues, while improving recovery and re-use of by-products. While the OLITREVA project benefited from a higher visibility, thus increase networking between researchers. The proceeding book was prepared and distributed to the researchers and send to a number of key Palestinian stakeholders, at local and national level. The book is also made available online in a digital publication format on the project website.

The project partners also presented the results achieved in the frame of the OLITREVA project including: an analysis of the most suitable technologies for OMW treatment and valorisation in Palestine, the gaps in the knowledge identified, the evaluation of suitable OMW treatment and valorisation technologies and recommendations for future research in this field in order to increase international awareness about the projects that carried out by Palestinian research institutions.
Also the conference were detected to raise public awareness on environmental threats engendered by improper disposal of OMW and to encourage active participation of citizens and stakeholders in finding sustainable solutions. This was done through the publicized of the conference at the local media including radio, TV, and newspaper as well as the social media.


7. Data platform

As the project aims at increasing the visibility of the Palestinian researchers and research institutions devoted OMWTV, it was therefore most important to initiate its creation. This involves providing a platform to networking activities, transfer and exploitation of knowledge and best practices. The creation of the webpage (Figure 6) and the database platform (Figure 7) which is one of the most essential parts of OLITREVA web page is a powerful dissemination tool, to act as a platform for the database of information about OMW treatment and valorization research in the Mediterranean region, to be the interface between local research performers and to present their on-going research work to the external community interested on this field.

The database was designed as a platform and it offers access to relevant articles and reports that have been written under the project’s framework, a compilation of relevant literature of local researchers (articles, PhD thesis, news, etc) and a special review of previous and on-going ERA-WIDE projects in the Mediterranean Region and the links to the official project websites.

The website and database platform is confidently increasing information, experiences and good practices sharing across the researchers. In turn, the expert finder tool will increase the visibility of talented Palestinian researchers by providing a platform to showcase their work and initiate networking activities. The website and the database platform is a tool for diffusion without boundary, hopping to present the on-going research activities happening in the Mediterranean region to the whole world. It should be also noted that a project symbol was developed (


8. Future Cooperation

During the OLITREVA project, the awareness about the importance of combine international efforts to explore cost-effective solutions to the threats caused by the OMW was raised. The OLITREA project provided a comprehensive understanding of the current situation in the field of OMW in Palestine, and identified the most suitable technologies. By using the project findings, The OLITREA project set up the basis for near future cooperation between EU and Palestinian organizations working in the field of OMWTM. One project proposal and one concept note were prepared and submitted under the framework of Horizon 2020. The Successful cooperation between the EU and Palestine will strengthen and add critical mass to the national efforts and will make the most efficient and effective use of national and regional resources. Moreover, the project proposal will give the Palestinian researchers give them the opportunity to improve their research activities on the targeted field.

The project proposal was submitted under the call for Sustainable Food Security topic on Sustainable Food Production Systems 6: Sustainable intensification pathways of agro-food systems in Africa. The idea of the proposal was to promote sustainable agriculture and food system in Africa to contribute to economic prosperity in conjunction with Africa’s vision through a closed loop system in lifting poorer rural households out of poverty, ensuring rural employment and the livelihood of the farming community and providing food for the increasing urban population. Even if project focuses on a different geographical region than Palestine, the project’s objectives and proposed activities are relevant to Palestine and fit into the areas of interest and expertize of ARIJ. Among others, participation in this project would have laid down the groundwork for long-term cooperation between the African and European/Mediterranean partners. Furthermore, ARIJ could have gained deeper knowledge on the mechanisms of support of the EU for certain fields of activity, like the EU- African agricultural initiatives. This knowledge could have been further used to access funding for its other research activities. Unfortunately the proposal was not selected for funding.


The concept note comes as a response to the call Horizon 2020 - Waste: A resource to recycle, reuse and recover raw materials, Topic WASTE-7-2015: Ensuring sustainable use of agricultural waste, co-products and by-products. ARIJ will benefit from this intervention through raising its technical capacities, developing technologies for valorization of agro-industrial residues (e.g. residues from olive oil production) and exchange the best practices that could be adopted within the Palestinian context to improve the agro industrial waste management in a sustainable manner. Also it is expected that with this consortium ARIJ could develop new innovative approaches for efficient use of agricultural waste that could solve the improper management of waste in Palestine. Due to the global dimension of this proposal ARIJ will make new contacts with Palestinian local researchers from The Galilee Society/ The Arab National Society for Health Research and Services: Shefa Amr, Israel as well as researchers from Europe, North and South Africa, as well as from South and East Asia (in particular China). Apart from scientific and technical innovation this project will help ARIJ to establish new research links. Last but not least – since all consortium members of OLITREVA are joining this proposal – it will also strengthen the cooperation among the OLITREVA consortium members.

Potential Impact:
Treatment of Olive Mill Waste is a major challenge for the Mediterranean region. It has been largely demonstrated that incorrect OMW management leads to soil, surface and groundwater pollution and deterioration of the landscape. Such environmental degradation do not respect national borders and must therefore be addressed in a multilateral context through join initiatives at international, regional and national level.

In the European context, this principle has been largely developed by the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). It emphasizes the importance of working jointly to achieve real outcomes in cross-cutting areas such as environment and research cooperation where the EU and the ENP countries share common interests and concerns. Fruitful results in the priority areas identified by the ENP require on the one hand, an active involvement from all parts and on the other, sufficient local RTD and management capacities to address these challenges. Unfortunately, for the specific case of Palestine, none of these conditions have been sufficiently met. Palestine has had a very low participation in the Frame Work Programmes. The joint activities so far developed have been mostly focused on energy issues but there is a lack of cooperation in equally important areas such as environmental protection, waste disposal and water treatment among others. It was imperative to improve the efforts on these fields and to promote joint actions addressing the most pressing issues of the country.

Against this situation, the overall impact of the project was the improvement of RTD and management capacities of local researchers devoted to Olive Mill Waste treatment and valorization by increasing networking and cooperation with European centres of top-level research and scientific excellence working in the same field. Through this path, Palestinian researchers developed the necessary capacities to respond to the environmental threats posed by the olive oil industry.

OLITREVA project main scientific topic was to address the environment protection, in order to promote self-sustainability following the end of the international support, local human resources development must be priority of any cooperation action. In this manner and as the level of domestic science and technology capability determines the success or failure of a given country to benefit from technology transfer, the science and technology capability of the young Palestinian researchers have been reinforced and enhanced to be able to lead the country of its stalemate. In the same way, stronger local capacities guarantee that the results achieved through further cooperation actions in Palestine in the field of OMW will have a greater and sustainable impact in the long-term.

More specifically the project has several impacts which could be summarized as follow:

- Through the extensive networking and dissemination activities of the OLITREVA project and strengthen the local S&T capacity of the local Palestinian researchers the project contributed to the ENP policy which identifies research cooperation as one of the thematic priorities with the ENP countries as well as underlines the importance of human resources development as an essential component to reach objectives such as global competitiveness and sustainable and economic growth.

- Through the enhancement of the exchange of scientific and technological knowledge of the Palestinian researcher, the OLITREVA project contributed to the science & technology. The definition of the future research roadmap in OMW treatment and valorization developed in OLITREVA Project represented a great step forward the development of one technology that symbolises the sustainability of the Mediterranean region.

- Moreover, the project contributed to community societal objective. The socio-economic impact of the project will be an improvement of the quality of life, health and safety, education and training efficient. The project provides a comprehensive understanding of the current situation in the field of OMW in Palestine, and identify of the most suitable technologies. These findings exploited the importance of combine international effort to explore cost-effective solutions in order to respond to the environmental and public health threats caused by the insufficient management of olive oil residues in Palestine.

Aiming to ensure the effective transfer and make most deliverables and results of the OLITREVA project accessible by the public as well as to increase the international visibility of the work developed by Palestinian research organization in the field of OMWTV, the project used different tools to disseminate activities in particular:

• Online website for knowledge sharing and management to disseminate and provide a platform of networking activities, transfer and exploitation of knowledge and best practices as well as to increase the international visibility of Palestinian researchers and research institutions devoted to OMW treatment and valorization. The website and workspace for OLITREVA project both in English and Arabic languages has been created and it can be accessed at http://www.olitreva.org/. The Arabic version of the website has been created in order to secure a better communication with the Palestinians researchers’, student and stakeholders.

• OLITREVA data base platform is an operational database platform running on and providing all stakeholders with information regarding the OMWTV and information the Palestinian and international experts. The database serves as a tool that enables users to (1) easily find information; (2) transfer and exploitation of knowledge and best practices; (3) increase the visibility and presence of project ideas and methods; (4) facilitate networking, and to (5) increase the visibility of talented Palestinian researchers by providing a platform to showcase their work and initiate networking activities.

• In addition to the dissemination through the OLITREVA website the partners actively disseminate the project and its objectives through manifold pathways. Partners introduce OLITREVA in other on-going FP7 projects taking place in the Mediterranean region to attract attention and to extend partnership/cooperation networks. Furthermore, project partners distribute information to related institutions in the region through dissemination via their own website.

• By means of participation in a scientific conferences and relevant events and networking activities to present the project’s objectives and results and thus contributing to knowledge exchange in a worldwide basis. Through participating in different number of workshop and training at international and national level, the project team share and exchange of knowledge experience and know-how and disseminate information using the main outcome of OLITREVA project. The project team attend several training and workshop such as: Joint European Investment Bank, the Centre of Marseille for the Mediterranean Integration and the DG Research and Innovation of the European Commission) training workshop for Mediterranean Research Centers, 1st regional Training workshop within the framework of Improving National Assessment and Monitoring Capacities for Integrated Environment and Coastal Ecosystem Management project- Lebanon, International Conference on Mediterranean Countries and EU Opportunities in Research- Jordan, and Training workshop of PERA FP7 Training- Palestine .

• A short film about the current management of the olive mill waste in Palatine was produced and posted on all partners webiste, OLITREVA websites and social media platforms http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_518024&feature=iv&src_vid=mEmP9jmRglc&v=5EA7Mtsfzzk.

• Leaflet and posters: A leaflet in Arabic/ English (Figure 9) and Poster entitled “OLITREVA Project: An Overview” was prepared and printed. The leaflet is addressed to all stakeholders and researchers at national/international level as it provides an overview of the OLITREVA project. The sheet outlines the objectives of the project, and the actions and means involved. It also specifies the expected results of the project as well as the implementing and funding organizations. A special leaflet and the Poster were also prepared and exposed in several workshops and conference at the international level.

• A promotional flyer and E propaganda of the international conference were designed and prepared in Arabic and English to present conference outlines, venue, main topics, and the aim of the OLITREVA conference). The flyers were printed, utilized and disturbed during the conference promotion. In addition, the promotional designed flyer was publicized at OLITREVA website as well as it was distributed among potential participates (research centres, scientific societies network and universities) in the Mediterranean region, Palestine and Europe). The promotional flayer were also sent out to Al-Quds and Al Ayyam newspapers (Palestinian local media), to promote the OLITREVA conference and to invite the Palestinian Researchers to participate and to submit scientific paper related to their work on the OMWTV.

• Four short visits to Italy and Spain were organized by the Palestinian researchers towards promoting and enhancing the sharing of experience and know-how as well as reinforcing long-term cooperation between the project partners and set up the basis for future collaboration beyond the project duration.

• Focus group meeting with Palestinian stakeholders and Researchers to disseminate project main outputs and raise their awarenessin respect to the innovative and sustainable approaches of OMWTM were organized. An overview of OLITREVA project was presented to the participants in order to inform them with the project objectives, results and planned activities. The focus group used a brainstorming process to share experiences and to exchange of information between participates to determine the challenges and obstacles facing the R&D in Palestine and to raise their awareness of the in respect to the innovative and sustainable approaches of OMWM.

• Training session for the Palestinian students to stimulate the interest of young scientist in the field of OMW and raise their awareness about the importance of addressing this subject in the Palestinian universities. The students actively participated, emphasizing the importance of training session and considering it as a positive step in the direction of in encouraging them to engage in scientific research based on knowledge and innovation particularly in the field of OMW treatment and valorization. The training materials were distributed among the students on flash memory after the training for further consideration.

• International Project Conference: The most important event related to mass dissemination that was held in OLITREVA framework was the Final Project Conference. It provides a common platform for scientific exchanges on new ideas and latest research works in the field of Olive Mill Waste Treatment and Valorisation in the Mediterranean Region. The conference focused on disseminating the project's results and the latest research works in the field of OMWTV through several ways: (1) the presentation given by the project partner; (2) posters and the roll up (3) the distribution of the conference proceeding book; and (4) the presentation of Palestinian researchers on their experience in the field of OMWTV.

• Four posters detected to the results and findings of the joint experiments which were developed by the project team were exposed during the international conference (Figure 11 as an example.

• Dissemination OLITREVA Conference Publication: 1) through the conference Proceedings book and posters which were distributed among the participants of the final conference, in addition the conference publication was disturbed to the other research institutions such the Universities and to the relevant ministries (Figure 12). This book is also available on-line; 2) through the Media: The Local media representatives have been invited to cover the conference and the event was carried out live by the social media, Radio and TV. In addition several interviews with the project partners and researchers were conducted during and after the event such as Radio Ajyal, Radio Angham, Radio Mawwal, Radio Baldna, Pal Media, as well as the TV. Two press releases were prepared about the conference and were published in Al-Quds and Al Ayyam newspapers over two days as well as short TV broadcasts on the conference were prepared and released on the Palestine TV Live, Maan Network –TV , and Palestine TV, Alquds Educational TV.

List of Websites:
Public website: http://www.olitreva.org/

Jane Hilal
P.O. Box 860, Karm Mu’ammar, Karkafeh St,
Bethlehem, Palestine
Tel: +970-274-1889
Fax: +970-277-6966
E-mail: jane@arij.org
Website: www.ARIJ.org