Israel Environment Bulletin Summer 1993-5754, Vol. 16, No. 3

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

First International Congress on the Environment: Mediterranean
Environment, Rural Development, Quality of Life
Athens, March 21-24, 1993

The Athens conference, organized by the Geotechnical Chamber of Congress, included participants from Mediterranean countries, including Israel, and representatives of various regional and international organizations.

The principal goals of the congress were to afford the participants the opportunity to exchange views, derive conclusions and contribute toward the formulation of environmental policies and agricultural practices which are environmentally-friendly. Sessions focused on such subjects as climatic changes and agriculture, desertification, biodiversity and environmental sensors, ecological agriculture and plant protection, animal husbandry and the environment, soil degradation and agricultural wastes, agricultural development and environmental education.

Israel Environmental Mission to Canada
Canada, March 22-31, 1993

To promote increased cooperation between Canada and Israel on environmental issues, representatives of industrial plants, companies, municipalities, research institutes and government offices (Ministry of the Environment) visited Canada in late March, at the invitation of the Canadian Embassy in Israel. The purpose of the tour was to increase awareness of the industrial and technological capabilities of industries in both countries and to promote industrial cooperation. The group, accompanied by the First Secretary (Commercial) of the Canadian Embassy in Israel, visited wastewater treatment plants, sludge incinerators, solid waste treatment facilities (landfills, incinerators) and research institutes and met with industrialists, government officials and consulting groups.

Israel-Egypt Environmental Agreements

Two vital cooperative agreements between Israel and Egypton agricultural ecology and other forms of environmental cooperation were reached following an April 1993 visit to Egypt by Environment Minister Yossi Sarid, Director-General Israel Peleg and others.

The agro-ecology agreement relates to fields of shared interest, including: approaches to combating desertification; prevention of water pollution and utilization of reclaimed effluents for irrigation; proper usage of sewage sludge, municipal solid waste compost and other residues to improve soil fertility; and integrated pest management. To implement the agreement, several forms of cooperation are envisioned, including expert workshops and the establishment of an international desert research and demonstration center in the Middle East. The agreement will be implemented by the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation and the Israel Ministry of the Environment.

During the course of meetings with Egyptian environmental officials, the two parties also agreed to widen the scope of environmental cooperation between the two countries. Consequently, a memorandum of understanding was prepared relating to the planning and management of coastal resources along the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba and the establishment of marine pollution response centers with communication capabilities for immediate or early warning in case of oil spills.

In order to further discuss potential areas for cooperation, a joint committee comprising representatives of the Israel Ministry of Environment and the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency was established. Potential cooperative projects include experience- sharing in the area of environmental education and information and establishment of a regional center for combating desertification that would serve the region, with Israel and Egypt acting as a nucleus for this effort.

Other possible areas of cooperation include: low-cost environmental technology, mobilization of resources from international funding agencies, and captive breeding centers and renewed acclimatization of endangered species.

First Agro-Ecology International Symposium
Tel Aviv, May 5-6, 1993

Israel’s first international symposium on agro-ecology, sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of the Environment and Export Institute, was held within the framework the annual International Agricultural Exhibition (Agritech). The scientific program focused on such issues as aquaculture development, ecological fertilizer technology, control instrumentation, biological pest control, ecological pest control, water quality, waste recycling and organic farming. SPNI International Seminar on Environmental Education, Conservation and Public Action
Israel, May 7-24, 1993

The annual seminar, initiated by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel in 1986, is meant to provide an international forum for the exploration of global environmental concerns. Its primary goal is to explore realistic solutions to environmental concerns faced by Israel and other countries, through panels, tours and group debate.

During three weeks of intensive activity, representatives of 24 countries, including Kenya, China, India, the Ukraine, Jamaica and the Bahamas, crisscrossed the country from Eilat to Mt. Hermon meeting environmentalists, lawyers, urban planners and children in various educational settings. Visits to environmentally- controversial sites served as a platform for examining the need to balance environmental protection within the framework of developmental and financial constraints. Visits to diverse geographical areas spurred presentations and debate on varied environmental issues. For example, in the Judean Desert, addresses focused on "Development and Conservation in a Sensitive Ecosystem" while in Haifa, lectures roused active discussion on "The Advantages and Limits of Legal Advocacy: Air Pollution in Haifa as a Case Example."

Throughout the country, participants were given a glimpse of the SPNI in action, observing environmental education, community work and the hands-on approach which uses field trips and exciting experiences to impart appreciation and respect for nature and the environment.

Third Session of the Working Group on the Environment
Tokyo, May 24-25, 1993

The third round of the multilateral talks on the environment took place in Tokyo with the participation of 39 delegations. As talks progressed from the stage of defining shared problems to the stage of identifying common solutions and projects, discussions centered on the following:

  • World Bank proposal on desertification aimed at increasing scientifical and technical cooperation. A delegation will be sent to the region to prepare an inventory of institutes and experience and an expert meeting will be organized to discuss means of advancing the combating of desertification.
  • Japanese workshop on emergency treatment of marine pollution in June, complementing a previous seminar in the USA.
  • Jordanian proposal for establishing a regional environmental education and information center and an Israeli suggestion to declare 1994 "Environment Year in the Middle East."
  • Japanese initiative for a long-range project on the preparation of a regional environmental code of conduct.
  • Japanese advancement of a waste disposal project in Jordan.
  • Japanese contribution of a $3 million aid package for emergency activity to improve environmental quality in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, especially in the area of sewage treatment.
  • European Community study of integrative management of the Eastern Mediterranean coast and consolidation of an action plan on integrative planning, manpower training, seminars and investments.
  • Dutch environmental profile of the Gaza area.

    The next meeting of the working group is scheduled for mid-October in Egypt.

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    International Workshop on Arid Lands Management

    Over two years ago, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) spurred the formation of an International Arid Lands Consortium, an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the problems and possibilities of arid and semi-arid regions. Founding participants, in addition to the JNF, include the University of Arizona, University of Illinois, New Mexico State University, South Dakota State University, Texas A & I University, the Jewish National Fund and the USDA Forest Service. The Consortium is dedicated to integrating the best in both theory and practical applications within the framework of cooperative ventures, designed to benefit the world’s developing nations.

    The Consortium will be holding its first international workshop on "Arid Lands ManagementTowards Ecological Sustainability" in Israel in June 1994. The workshop promises to bring together world-acclaimed scientists, managers and politicians to discuss such issues as the optimization of land uses in arid lands, management and restoration methods and the impact of global climate changes on desertification processes. Israel, internationally renowned for its dramatic accomplishments in arid zone management, including afforestation, water harvesting, water and soil conservation, savannization and use of saline water, is the natural candidate for hosting this first workshop.

    For further information pleace contact:

    Bunny Alexandroni, Information Division
    Jewish National Fund
    P.O.B. 283, Jerusalem 91002, Israel
    Fax: 972-2-258619

    The Sixth International Conference on: Preservation of Our World in the Wake of Change

    The Israel Society for Ecology and Environmental Quality Sciences will hold its 6th International Conference in Jerusalem in June 1995. The conference will include symposia, poster and paper sessions, workshops, field trips, social events and business meetings.

    The Society is an interdisciplinary, non-governmental organization, active in promoting high-level academic and professional knowledge in various aspects of ecology and the environment through interim and annual meetings and triennial international conferences.

    The aim of the international conferences is to assemble ecologists, environmentalists and other professionals from various countries for a multidisciplinary review of the state of the environment. The conference program includes subjects under the broad heading of ecology and environmental quality, including social, political, legal, economic and environmental health aspects.

    Scientists and other professionals interested in presenting papers and/or participating in the Sixth International Conference are invited to contact the following for further information:

    Prof. Yosef Steinberger
    Chairman of the International Conference
    Department of Life Sciences
    Bar-Ilan University
    Ramat Gan 52900
    Israel

    Telephone: 972-3-5318571
    Fax: 972-3-771088