Israel attaches great importance to this year's Earth Summit, RIO+20, to take place in Rio de Janeiro on 20-22 June. The unprecedented scope of the Israeli delegation signifies the importance Israel assigns to promoting sustainable development in Israel and in the international arena.
Israel is well known in the world for its expertise and vast knowledge in the field of sustainability, in topics such as water, agriculture, food production, forestation, desertification and others. These are some of the topics that will be discussed at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Rio de Janeiro on 20-22 June 2012. About 130 world leaders and about 50,000 people are expected to attend from around the globe.
Israel's Minister of Environmental Protection, Gilad Erdan, will lead a large professional Israeli delegation to the UN conference, also known as Rio+20. The delegation will be composed of delegates from government ministries, the Knesset, local authorities, the business community, academia and civil society. Minister Erdan is scheduled to speak at the conference plenum. The Ministry of Environmental Protection is responsible for the subject of sustainability in Israel.
The main topic of the conference will be building a "green economy" for the eradication of poverty in developing countries, with an emphasis on energy, water, food, cities, green employment, the oceans and disasters. The conference will also address how to prepare for the era after 2015, the target year for the UN's millennium goals, and how to make the subject of sustainable development an integral part of the international system.
The Israeli pavilion will showcase Israel's achievements in green technology, promotion of sustainability in Israel and Israeli foreign aid. This week, for instance, Israeli Prof. Daniel Hillel won the 2012 World Food prize for his work in developing the micro-irrigation system, thus contributing to food security. Israel shares its expertise with the world in the framework of foreign aid (through MASHAV, Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation), its economic and professional relations with other states and its activities in the international arena.
For example, the UN General Assembly adopted an Israeli proposal for a resolution in the field of "agricultural development technologies" to provide a solution to global challenges arising from poverty and the food crisis. Furthermore, last year Israel hosted an international preparatory meeting ahead of the conference that addressed green agriculture and sustainable development to eradicate poverty and hunger in the world. Delegates from 28 countries attended.
UN Under secretary Sha Zukang, who visited Israel during this meeting, noted in his speech and at meetings with Israeli leaders Israel's contribution to the world in these areas and asked that Israel participate in the Rio conference and share its experience and expertise.
Two Israeli side events will take place in Rio: one on the subject of environmental agriculture and the eradication of poverty; and the other on solutions for municipal water systems. Israel's Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL) will manage a study center on forestation and water, and Israeli experts will participate in international panels.
An interministerial professional steering committee was set up by the Ministry of Environmental Protection to coordinate Israel's preparations for the conference.