United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


State of Israel
Drought and Desertification
The delegation of the State of Israel
"The Way Forward"
United Nations, New York
23-27 February 2009
State of Israel
Madame Chair,
Regarding the critical, interrelated, and thematic issues of drought and
desertification, Israel?s approach is a practical one based on the
country?s own accumulated experience managing limited natural
resources, particularly in arid and semi-arid conditions.
The State of Israel has worked on the issues of sustainable land
management, as well as initiated public policies designed to restore,
develop, and manage its dry lands. Some 240 million trees have been
planted, almost all in semi-arid and dry sub-humid regions. Agriculture
has been successfully introduced into arid areas that had previously
been deemed unfit for cultivation. Regulations were introduced to
control grazing and ensure effective water management. Agricultural
development has been based upon innovative and creative ways of
"living with the desert." In essence, Israel has turned the natural
disadvantages associated with heat and water scarcity into an
With the vast majority of the country defined as dry lands, it was
essential that new approaches be explored for utilizing the soil in order
to support a robust economy and a growing population. An ambitious
research and development program combined with an effective
extension network have produced many breakthroughs.
Technology has played a key role in expanding the economy in the dry
land regions, such as the invention of drip irrigation systems, the
recycling and treatment of waste and marginal water for production,
and open space land development.
Other initiatives have included the development of salt and drought
resistant plants and the establishment of alternative livelihoods ranging
from fish and algae farming to desert ecotourism.
State of Israel
Economic development is balanced against conservation of the unique
and fragile desert ecosystems. These innovations will increasingly be
called upon to address the growing challenges associated with
adapting to the threat of global warming and the anticipated impacts of
climate change.
Madame Chair,
In this context, Israel wishes to propose that SCD-17 will address
policy and adopt practical action-oriented measures, including:
? To encourage and support networking and sharing of best practices
research and technologies among countries, regional institutions
and relevant stakeholders involved in desertification and drought
related issues.
? To design new initiatives to support national strategies and crosscutting
issues on combating desertification and dry land
? Field demonstration and project development activities on the
country and regional levels to introduce efficient irrigation, crop
diversification, improved production practices, and market-driven
production designed for semi-arid and drought conditions, including
projects conducted in partnership with international development
agencies focused on the Middle East and Africa.
? Improving rain-fed agricultural practices aimed at increasing
agricultural production in semi-arid regions by introducing water
harvesting, small micro-irrigation technologies combined with crop
diversification, improved production practices, and human capacity
? Activities to combat climate change that combine methodological
assessments with applied irrigation and production practices,
including programs aimed at field-level application for improved
water utilization and production practices.
State of Israel
Madame Chair,
In this context, Israel is committed to sharing its scientific know-how,
technology, and technical capacity-building programs with partner
governments, international development agencies, research
institutions, civil society, and the private sector. In particular, Israel
wishes to share this wealth of knowledge with countries facing similar
arid and semi-arid climates and environmental conditions.
Thank you, Madame Chair.