Israel’s innovation climate at COP 27

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DIPLOMATIC BAGIlan Fluss – The Star of the Philippines

November 13, 2022 | 00:00

The world is changing dramatically and we are in the midst of a powerful climate crisis that is only getting worse. Widespread flooding, devastating typhoons, severe droughts, biodiversity and increased pressure on different species – this is just a partial list of major disasters that UN experts have told us, time and time again, ‘they will only increase as we continue to emit greenhouse gases.

The climate crisis spares no one. The Philippines, for example, is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. During my more than a year of residence here as a diplomat, I have experienced a number of typhoons and seen the damage they have caused to livelihoods, infrastructure, agriculture and life of Filipinos. The climate crisis facing the world today is making typhoons worse, which is more difficult not only for the Philippines but also for the whole world.

Israel, on the other hand, is a country located in an arid region and faces chronic water shortages and droughts, high temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and a difficult environment for agricultural development. Israel had to invent innovative solutions to meet these challenges.

Through decades of knowledge and experience, Israel has found practical solutions to climate challenges, which it wants to share at the ongoing COP 27 annual climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. World leaders, government and private sector representatives, experts and policy makers come together to discuss ways to prevent the climate crisis. Participating from Israel is a high-ranking delegation headed by the President and joined by representatives from all sectors.

Israel’s efforts and investments are directed towards researching and developing innovations, technologies and practices that involve areas critical to managing the climate crisis. Israel has established an innovation community called planetech, which includes all relevant stakeholders and focuses on developing innovations that are good for the planet. Some of the areas we look at are water resource efficiency and the creation of new water sources, precision and drought-tolerant agriculture, the invention of animal protein substitutes and sustainable crops, the energy efficiency and energy storage, restoration and preservation of forests in drylands. , the circular economy and the production of new environmentally friendly materials. Many ideas also emanate from an active and conscious civil society, which contributes to the climate-environment discourse and to actions that are often integrated into government action.

The establishment, for the first time, of an Israeli pavilion at a COP conference, testifies to Israel’s desire to share information and experiences. The pavilion will focus on innovation and climate solutions, as well as dozens of events aimed at creating international and regional cooperation in the Middle East. Regional and international cooperation is key to addressing the climate crisis; therefore, our goal is for every event at the Israeli Pavilion to create a long-term partnership and process.

Speaking of partnership, here in the Philippines, the Embassy of Israel continues to work with relevant government agencies and the private sector to exchange knowledge and experiences, as well as assist in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, in particular to ensure food security. Israel collaborates with TESDA for an 11-month agricultural internship program in Israel. Filipino interns learn advanced smart farming techniques and methods from Israel, with the aim of applying the learnings once back in the Philippines. An estimated 10,000 Filipino professionals have benefited from this program.

Another example is MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, which is active here in the Philippines. Filipino scholars take MASHAV training courses to immerse themselves in Israel’s environmental management, climate change initiatives, renewable energy management and more.

As Israel’s Ambassador to the Philippines, I look forward to bringing Israeli innovation and technology to the Philippines that could help prevent the climate crisis.

In fact, the embassy is launching an exhibition in the Philippine Senate on Israeli technologies present in the Philippines. Said technologies address the challenges of smart farming, water scarcity and more. Besides the exhibition, a series of roundtables between relevant Philippine government officials and Israeli experts will be held to bring more Israeli innovation and technology to the Philippines, especially in climate innovation.

International cooperation in the field of climate innovation offers a great opportunity to strengthen the economy for the benefit of all, create new jobs and advance human prosperity, while preserving nature, the climate and ecological diversity. . An example of such collaboration is the triangular project where solar technology will generate energy in the desert in Jordan. This will be taken to a water desalination plant in Israel which will supply drinking water to Jordan. This is supported by investments from the United Arab Emirates. It is a private sector-led and government-backed initiative. This project is a reflection of the new collaboration in the Middle East on critical issues of sustainability and for the survival of the peoples and countries of the region.

The success of the COP 27 conference is of the utmost importance, as well as the progress of all the issues on which it will focus: the continuation of global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the adoption of a global goal of adaptation and adjustment to climate crisis, technology development, international cooperation mechanisms and more.

Israel, as a climate of innovation, is proud to join countries around the world at COP27 and share creative Israeli solutions, which contribute to the fight against climate change. Israel hopes that the Sharm el-Sheikh conference will mark a positive turning point in the future of humanity. Come see us at the Israeli pavilion at COP 27!

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Ilan Fluss is Israel’s Ambassador to the Philippines.

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