Israel’s approach to development issues related to health and education reflect a commitment to investment in human capital and institutional capacity building. Through training, technical assistance, and direct aid, we do not only address immediate concerns. We create momentum that generates measureable achievements, a foundation for progress, and durable development solutions.

 Remarks by Dep FM Ayalon at summit on Millennium Development Goals

 

Deputy FM Danny Ayalon (Archive photo/Yossi Zamir)

Excellencies,

It is an honor to join you for this summit on the Millennium Development Goals and today’s roundtable on health and education. Such work reaffirms the timeless value of tikkun olam, a Jewish principle that mandates us to help those in need, to better our surroundings, to repair the world.

As we address the remaining gaps in the fulfillment of the MDGs, we recognize that no one nation can single-handedly address these issues, yet no single nation can ignore its obligation to the human family. These challenges, as well as our work towards a better future, are interrelated and intertwined.

Therefore, at the highest levels, the Israeli government takes very seriously its obligations towards the achievement of the MDGs. On the ground, we are taking practical steps to this effect.

Israel’s approach to development issues related to health and education reflect a commitment to investment in human capital and institutional capacity building. Through training, technical assistance, and direct aid, we do not only address immediate concerns. We create momentum that generates measureable achievements, a foundation for progress, and durable development solutions.

One of the many government entities on the front lines of this work is Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, MASHAV. Founded not long after the re-establishment of the State of Israel, MASHAV has become a hallmark of aid effectiveness, partnering with dozens of UN agencies and regional organizations as we touch the lives of individuals in 140 countries, including 260,000 experts and decision-makers.

In fulfillment of MDG2 and our goals related to education, Israel builds support systems that train teachers and provide the tools to deliver more to students. Increased gender awareness training, emphasis on early education, and holistic approaches to special needs students are only a few of the ways we are constructing greater capacity for teachers to offer more comprehensive education.

In coordination with UNESCO, Israel contributes to the development of the Teacher Training Initiative for Sub-Saharan Africa. In South America, MASHAV implemented tailor-made programs in five countries in order to impart effective educational methodologies on local educators who work with indigenous communities. In coordination with the Organization of the American States (OAS), we signed an agreement to advance collaboration on education and training programs.

Such bilateral agreements can be enormously helpful in the capacity building process. Yet Israel continues to seek other avenues of educational cooperation. I wish to note that it is a pleasure to join my German and Ghanaian colleagues here as we recently signed a trilateral partnership that offers vocational training as a way to expand our impact.
While such educational partnerships serve the cause of development, we cannot forget the importance of education for the cause of peace. Terrorism and continued violence are direct results of education that dehumanizes others and encourages martyrdom and a culture of death. In the Middle East – a region plagued by conflict for far too long – this type of education must be condemned and rolled back. Education is essential for the foundation and maintenance of peace.

Israel is proud to partner with Jordan and Egypt on educational initiatives, and earlier this year, Israeli and Palestinian teachers gathered at the Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center to share educational strategies for success and to foster a common vision of a brighter future for all. Such cooperation reminds us that educating children for the sake of peace transcends politics, religion, and culture.

Excellencies,

Beyond the classroom, some of Israel’s most cutting edge development assistance takes place in the field of health. On the one hand, Israel’s work in the field of public health takes a bifurcated approach that helps implement administrative and organizational reforms to strengthen health care, as well as training doctors and other health professionals in the latest medical advances.

On the other hand, such work reflects the importance of strengthening the linkage between health and education, as well as the need to improve policy coherence between these two sectors.

In a concerted effort to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health, Israel established community-based pre-natal and healthy-baby clinics across Africa. The project, entitled tipat chalav  – which translate to ‘drop of milk’ in Hebrew  – provides essential medical attention and training for some of the most neglected populations. The tipat chalav initiative offers a proven model to reduce maternal mortality and can be replicated and customized to individual countries and communities.

In conjunction with such government initiatives, public-private partnerships offer another unique avenue to tackle some of the complex challenges of development and health. In this regard, Israeli university institutions along with government ministries serve as a model of potential and effectiveness. Ben Gurion University of the Negev and MASHAV launched the Center for Tropical Diseases and HIV/AIDS to develop and facilitate projects to combat some of the world’s deadliest and most neglected diseases. The health care professionals and professors that work on these projects have partnered with countries all over the world and have contributed to our overall strategy to promote healthy societies.

Despite such success, we can do more and we must consider areas in which we can have the greatest impact to reduce child mortality. Today, pneumonia kills more than 1.8 million children  – more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. Too many children are undernourished or malnourished, a reality that not only adversely affects their health, but also directly translates into their ability to succeed in school.

Excellencies,

While obstacles remain, our collective progress should inspire us all. Israel stands ready to share its best practices, learn from others at today’s roundtable, and build meaningful partnerships to advance our mutual goals. Ten years ago, Israel joined the international community in daring to believe that we could achieve unprecedented levels of development. Today as we recognize our achievements, reflect on our shortcomings, and rededicate ourselves to the path ahead, Israel reiterates its commitment to the universal values and goals of the health and education MDGs. With courage, perseverance, and commitment, we in Israel believe that humanity’s best days remain before us.

Thank you.