NGO to set up global climate change centre - GulfToday

NGO to set up global climate change centre


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

A non-government organisation (NGO) classified as a “strategic partner” of Israel at the Oct.1 to Mar.31, 2022 “Expo2020Dubai,” has plans of setting up an international climate change centre.

This is the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) existing since 1901 which acts as Israel’s National Forest Service and Land Development Authority. Into “far-reaching programmes including ecological restoration of degraded landscapes, sustainable forest management, agricultural research and development, water resource management, ecotourism development and educational programmes,” this institution has established presence in 55 countries.

“Climate change is affecting everyone. Israel already has harsh climate conditions and thus we see it as critical to have a centre that will focus on applied research, education, and a hub for innovative technology,” KKL-JNF-Global Resource and Development Division-International Relations head Karine Bolton told Gulf Today on Saturday.

On the requirement for such a global body, the US citizen-Jerusalem resident for a quarter of a century, replied: “KKL-JNF could create a climate centre only for Israel. But we feel this would be short-sighted.” She reiterated her statement on climate change having become a “world problem (and) many countries having similar challenges with Israel.”

Bolton believes Man could clip or stop environmental degradation and climate change: “This truly is the question. Discussions are abundant but actions are lagging globally. We all must start working towards sustainability locally (resulting in regional and international achievements).”

She implied the Expo2020Dubai theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future: “Most of our surrounding countries (are also similar in size with Israel. If we band together (as a region), the impact of the collaboration would be much larger. If we find that there are countries in joining the venture, we are open to exploring all types of options.”

On generating like-mindedness, Bolton said the centre, whose logical main headquarters would definitely be Israel, as “satellite hubs” are going to be spread out across the globe, “will materialise with or without external partners. We are hoping that during the Expo, we will be able to interest government or NGO bodies of other countries to consider some sort of alliance and build the vision together with us.”

Bolton said Israel and KKL-JNF could teach the world, which is engulfed in catastrophes of desertification, typhoons, and extreme flooding from their 70-year partnership, whereby shortages in natural resources have encouraged and inspired them to “work with what you got.” Consequently, this grit and character have led to continually strengthen the sustainable development sector. Hence,  innovative methods and technologies long before climate change became one of the world’s pressing challenges, have been completed and improved: “Over the past few years, there has been a global move towards data-enabled technology and the Internet of Things, technologies where Israel is acknowledged as a global leader.”

The University of Michigan Middle Eastern and North Africans Studies degree holder/Brandeis University Jewish Communal Services & International Relations Master’s degree graduate, said that in the field of sustainable agriculture, Israel and KKL-JNF could inspire and assist other nations on continuing “research and development on new crops; improving existing farming techniques; and livestock, energy, water and soil use initiatives and innovations because the NGO is also a partner of Jerusalem’s Ministry of Agriculture: “We increase biodiversity and prevent soil erosion critical to farmers in dry land areas such as what we are doing by working with Ancient Nabatean techniques and modern modifications through the Watershed Management and Afforestation in Semi-Arid Regions based in the Negev Desert.”

In Kenya and via the Arava Institute and Saint Paul Mission, Israel and KKL-JNF train locals as well as graduates the concept and application of desert farming in order to “create more water and food sources.”

Israel had participated in other World Expositions and for the “Expo2020Dubai,” spotlight is on the normalisation of diplomatic relations not only with UAE but also with Bahrain as well. The pavilion name is “El Machar” (“To Tomorrow”) and the slogan is “Aravit,” a special mix between the Arabic and Hebrew. It is like a tent,  in honour of Abraham who lived in tents in the vast Middle East and North African desert, in order to reach God’s Promised Land.  It comprises seven huge gates made from LED screens. In front of the pavilion is the KKL-JNF tree that is not only an iconic statue that provides shade but a symbolism towards international partnerships and collaboration for sustainability.

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