General Debate

General Debate of 2nd Committee

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
    At the outset, allow me to warmly congratulate you on your election as the Chairperson of the Second Committee. I would also like to congratulate the other members of the Bureau, and assure our whole-hearted support for the fulfillment of your important responsibilities.
    The Second Committee plays an important role in building the global consensus on development issues. We face a complex challenge in this forum: creating opportunity today without compromising our children's future. This requires constant reinforcement of what was universally recognized in Rio—the interconnectedness of the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.
    My government has demonstrated its commitment to sustainable development with concrete actions through the work of MASHAV, our International Agency for Development Cooperation, which has trained close to 270,000 people around the world. Israel continues to empower people around the globe through development programs that encompass all three dimensions of sustainable development.
    Mr. Chairman,
    Israel continues to introduce agricultural technology in all corners of the world. Our innovative drip irrigation system has created new sources of income for farmers and improved food security in their communities. It has allowed farmers to harvest better crops, three times a year instead of one. The project, called TIPA, was first introduced in Senegal in cooperation with the Government of Italy. It has been so successful that Senegal adopted it as part of its national development strategy. It is now being introduced across the African continent, to countries like South Africa, Ghana, and Niger.
    In Kenya, Israel has recently partnered with Germany to improve wastewater treatment and introduce new technology in the tilapia fisheries of Lake Victoria. This project will help to reduce water pollution, create economic opportunity for local farmers, and strengthen Kenya’s tilapia export industry.
    Mr. Chairman,
    As the Secretary General said in this room just a few weeks ago, ‘sustainable energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and a climate and environment that enable the world to thrive.’
    Israel understands the tremendous potential renewable energy bears for truly sustainable development—and has become a world leader in developing sustainable energy. Next month, Israel will host the annual Eilat-Eilot Conference on Renewable Energy, which will attract entrepreneurs and researchers from all over the world.
    Mr. Chairman,
    Israel is comprised almost entirely of drylands. We are directly affected by the ever-present threats of soil degradation and desertification. In order to address these challenges, the Israeli government has taken a number of significant countermeasures during the past several years.
    Israel will host another conference next month, on "Combating Desertification – Grazing Management & Soil Conservation’, to share our experience in fighting desertification with professionals from affected countries. Today, desertification threatens the livelihoods of over 1 billion people in more than 100 countries— and Israel stands ready to do its part to help find global solutions to this problem. 
    Mr. Chairman,
    Giving to those in need is not considered charity in Jewish tradition, but righteousness. The medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides taught that we reach the highest level of righteousness when we give someone the means to sustain themselves. This idea is what drives our focus on promoting entrepreneurship— both in Israel and around the world.
    Israel has been engaged in the development of business entrepreneurship for the past 60 years. In Central and South America alone, MASHAV has trained over 22,000 young people, in cooperation with the Young American Business Trust. Last spring, MASHAV organized a symposium for women entrepreneurs in South-East Europe, in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. These women gained valuable knowledge on a variety of topics – from defeating psychological barriers to devising financial schemes for small-scale enterprises. In just two weeks, MASHAV and the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture will host an international workshop on agribusiness aimed at contributing to rural women’s empowerment by exploring agricultural entrepreneurship.
    Promoting entrepreneurship has far-reaching benefits for communities in developing countries. It does more than create jobs— it improves social conditions and helps to confront environmental challenges. But more than that, —entrepreneurship is about unleashing ideas and bringing them to life. It is about creativity, problem-solving, risk-taking, and building connections. Most of all, it is about empowering people around the world. My delegation looks forward to exploring this topic further during this session.
    Mr. Chairman,
    Over the past year, Israel has played an active role as a member of the Joint Executive Board of UNDP, UNOPS and UNFPA. This past May, MASHAV signed an agreement with UNIDO on issues of food security, water management, women`s empowerment, as well as industrial development in Africa and least developed countries. As we prepare to take on our role on the Executive Board of UNICEF in 2013, we remain committed to continuing our close collaboration with all UN Funds and Programs.
    Israel will continue to share its experience in promoting sustainable development in all its aspects. We are deeply committed to contributing meaningfully to the articulation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda.  We look forward to working with member states to pave the way forward in these crucial endeavors.  
    Thank you.