Ambassador Amos Radian
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
It has never been more imperative for the international community to refocus its efforts on sustainable development. The ongoing economic crisis is causing more and more people each day to live in poverty, and the prices of simple staples such as food and oil are rising. Given the onset of climate change, desertification, and the world population reaching 7 billion, we cannot continue down the current path of recklessly using and depleting our limited natural resources.
A book of Jewish teachings from the 13th Century reads: “Righteous people do not waste in this world even a mustard seed. They use all their strength to save everything possible from destruction.” Given this moral imperative, Israel remains at the forefront of developing innovative technology and ideas that spur the advent of sustainable development around the world.
Israel lacks natural resources, and 60 percent of its land is desert. For decades, Israel has been at the forefront of developing revolutionary methods to conserve energy.
The rising price of oil is inseparable from the onset of poverty and rising food prices, and is greatly felt in developing countries. Research has shown that the poorer the country, the greater the problems felt by rising oil prices, as even a small price increase can disrupt normal routine.
Israel is committed to reducing its dependence on oil and promoting the production of energy from renewable sources, particularly from one of its most abundant resources, the sun. Accordingly, the roofs of most homes in Israel are fitted with solar panels, which satisfy 4 percent of the country’s total energy demand and save Israel 2 million barrels of oil a year. Solar hot water systems are used by over 90% of Israeli homes. This past summer, the government of Israel proposed that at least 10 percent of Israel’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020.
Water management is a crucial component to combating desertification and ensuring sustainable development. Too many people in the world, including in Israel, live on land that is considered dry or of low-productivity. Because of this, about 74% of waste-water in Israel is recycled.
In a country characterized by such scant land resources, Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has undertaken a policy founded on integrated waste management, and is committed to reaching its target of zero land-filling by 2020, through reducing, reusing, and recycling waste.
My country’s dedication to sustainable development is widespread.
Just last week, a Group Expert Meeting on “Using Green Agriculture to Stimulate Economic Growth and Eradicate Poverty was held in Israel. More than 70 participants, including high-level officials from 28 member States, national and international agriculture experts, and representatives of UN system agencies attended. This meeting constitutes an important contribution to the preparations for Rio+20, as it explored how green and sustainable agriculture can contribute to a green economy. It also addressed the importance of sustainable agriculture in ensuring food security, mitigating and adapting to climate change, and stimulating economic growth in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
The private sector in Israel also recognizes the tremendous economic promise of green innovation and investment, and is committed to partnering with the government to achieve sustainable development goals. In this regard, there are over 100 companies in Israel providing solutions in the renewable energy field.
Noting that Israel’s sun-drenched desert is an ideal location to set a new paradigm for energy deployment, the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative has been working toward creating an energy independent region in the Negev - the first in Israel and in the world. The Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative holds an annual conference in Israel, which was attended by nearly 2,000 leading figures in the field of renewable energy this year.
It is an unfortunate fact that those countries that contribute the least to climate change are the most vulnerable to its negative consequences. Because of this, Israel is dedicated to ensuring that the long-term international goals of sustainable development are reached.
Green investment yields double dividends, as it is a driver for long-term economic growth. Through its innovative agricultural technologies and efforts to promote renewable energy sources, Israel has experienced firsthand the benefits of moving toward a green economy. Israel looks forward to the upcoming Rio +20 Conference on Sustainable Development, where the international community will work together to achieve imperative sustainable development goals.