The nations of the world are converging in Rio (June 20-22) for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, are coming together to “shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet to get to the future we want,” according to the UN.
Towards the event Israel’s Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan, who is heading the mission of 60 Israeli representatives to Rio, said, “Rio+20 will be a landmark event in human history. ….Israel has long been recognized as a world leader in water technologies, demonstrating how it is possible to develop and feed a growing population in a land with scarce water sources. The time has now come for us to serve as a global laboratory for the development and application of other innovations that can provide safe and clean food, water and energy under conditions of growing natural resource scarcity.”
Israel’s preparation for Rio+20 actually began far in advance of the event. In October 2011 a high level meeting took place in Israel on “Using Green Agriculture to Stimulate Economic Growth and Eradicate Poverty.” The meeting, the continuation of which will be held in Rio, was attended by more than 70 delegates from 28 countries, and aimed to raise awareness of the central role that sustainable agriculture can play in stimulating economic growth, combating poverty and ensuring food security through the sharing of knowledge, best practices and lessons learned.
In his opening statement to the meeting, Mr. Sha Zukang, UN UnderSecretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, stated: “Israel has proven to be a leader in agricultural technology for development, practicing innovation and implementing sustainable solutions for agricultural development, food security, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. …We have much to learn from the Israeli agricultural experience.”
Israel’s delegation to Rio+20 includes a national booth, 60 representatives, and three side-events addressing different aspects of water and agriculture challenges:
- “Water harvesting and afforestation as a means to rehabilitate degraded lands”
June 20th at 16:30 at Room T-7 at the Major Groups/Side events pavilion at the RioCentro.
The discussion will be led by Israel’s Land Development Authority and the Israel Ministry of Agriculture, and will focus on the sharing of Israel’s experience in sound water and land management, specifically in dryland areas. The session will be an interactive course with group work, providing consultation and practical solutions, for specific cases facing the counties of the participants. Speakers include: David Brand, Chief Forester and Head of the Forest Department, and Dr. Tony, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre.
- “Sharing and Partnering in Urban Water Solutions”
June 20th at 17:00 in P3-B at the Rio Centro
This event is based on Israel’s long experience in the water arena, and in particular in urban water solutions. This Panel will include Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Minister of Environmental Protection, Oded Distel, head of Israel NewTech, Miki Zayda of the Israel National Water Authority, Rafi Ifergan, CTO of Mekorot, Israel’s national water Company and Marcelo Morgado, Manager of Environment at SABESP, Sao Paolo’s the water and sewage utility of Sao Paulo and one of the largest water and sewage service providers worldwide.
- “Using Green Agriculture to Stimulate Economic Growth, Attain Food Security and Eradicate Poverty.”
Friday June 22nd at 11am at Meeting room T5 at Rio Centro
This event will be held by the Israeli delegation in partnership with the delegations of Canada, Germany, Kenya, Panama and the U.S.
The focus of the event will be on the central role that green and sustainable agriculture can play in stimulating economic growth and combating poverty, and ultimately attaining food security, through the sharing of approaches, best practices and lessons learned. This meeting is a continuation of the original gathering which took place in October 2011 in Israel.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.
View Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks about Israel’s cleantech industries, towards Rio+20: