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ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ISRAEL

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INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV in Hebrew) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for designing, coordinating and implementing Israelís international development cooperation programmes, especially with ďless developed countries With regard to sustainable development, MASHAV coordinates its efforts with relevant agencies: The Ministry of the Environment on matters related to combating pollution and resources conservation, the Ministry of Agriculture on development of sustainable agriculture and sustainable water resource management, the Ministry of Housing on habitat-related matters, as well as the Ministry of National infrastructures, the Ministry of Science, the Ministry of Education and other government agencies.

MASHAV in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinates Israeli policy on cooperation/development for sustainable development. It coordinates its activities with relevant ministerial agencies.

Authority for decision making on international cooperation and sustainable development is at the national level. However, some cooperation exists at the local level, in the framework of sister towns. Also, in the field of education, cooperative projects between Israeli and foreign schools exist. Notable is the role of the kibbutzim in promoting international cooperation. Kibbutzim (cooperative frameworks) cooperate with foreign countries, including developing countries, mainly on agricultural topics (integrated pest management, biological agriculture). In such cases, decision-making is delegated to the local level.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

There are no specific laws or regulations related to cooperation for sustainable development at sub-regional, regional and international levels nor foreign policy regulations or directives related to Agenda 21.  However, the process of formulating a draft sustainable development strategy for Israel was influenced by international, regional and sub-regional factors, including Agenda 21 and Agenda Med 21. In November 1999, the government decided to establish a National Council for the Environment. The Council, founded in September 2000, will advise the parliament and the government on environmental planning and on sustainable development issues, including international and regional cooperation.

An increasingly liberal and open trade and foreign direct investment regime has contributed to Israelís economic development.  Israel is continuing to move towards an open trade policy regime, mostly through an increasing number of preferential trade agreements. The government has concluded a set of international commercial agreements that have placed Israel in a unique position of having Free Trade Agreements and cooperation agreements with both the U.S.A. and Europe. This can be viewed as an important component of a broader programme toward trade liberalization, comprising a gradual reduction of import duties which also extends to countries with which no preferential trade agreements exist.

After completing free trade agreement with the European Union and the USA, Israel has expanded its free trade agreements to Canada, Turkey, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Hungary, Jordan, Poland, Slovenia and Mexico. Israel also maintains a free trade agreement with EFTA countries since 1993. As a result of these agreements, the actual average customs duty paid has halved since 1993 to 1% in tandem with a reduction of the MFN tariff rates.

Israel has been a member of the General Agreement of Tariff & Trade (GATT) since 1962 and took an active part in the Uruguay Round negotiations which led to the establishment of the World Trade Organization in 1995. Within the framework of its WTO commitments, Israel has modernized its customs valuation legislation and mandatory standards are increasingly being aligned with international standards.

Israel will continue to promote international trade, investment and economic cooperation, including removal of trade barriers and distortions to global trade.  In this context, Israel views the WTO as a cornerstone of its trade policy.

Israel is a member of the World Bank and of other banking organizations and, as such, assists the private sector in technical and bureaucratic matters related to international tenders for sustainable development activities in other countries.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Israeli policy on regional cooperation in sustainable development is largely based on cooperation within the framework of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development. Within this framework and within the framework of the Mediterranean Action Plan, in particular, Israel cooperates with other Mediterranean states. 

Multilateral cooperation and agreements are undertaken within the framework of international conventions on the environment, programmes by United Nations agencies, and bilateral agreements for environmental cooperation with numerous states including the USA, Germany, Egypt, Spain, Turkey, England and others. In addition, MASHAV's international cooperation programme reflects the goals set forth in the Global Initiative on Sustainable Development.  This center works both with governments and with UN agencies to provide development assistance through training activities.

Policy on trade liberalization and globalization is directed at trade and foreign exchange liberalization, deregulation and privatization. The unilateral trade liberalization programme in industrial imports launched in the early 1990s to expose domestic industry to foreign competition has been implemented: import restrictions and non-tariff barriers have been eliminated and MFN tariff rates have been reduced on almost all industrial products. In addition, Israeli trade policy aims at continuing the expansion of its network of bilateral trade agreements while enhancing the process of trade liberalization at the multilateral level. 

MASHAV has entered into international cooperation agreements, both on a bilateral and multilateral basis. Sharing efforts with a growing number of countries and international organizations has enabled Israel to contribute more significantly to the global efforts toward improving human living conditions. MASHAV has sought to systematically increase its programming with other donor countries and UN agencies to expand coordinated and cost-effective human development opportunities throughout the developed world. These agreements, designed to implement the ďpartnership approach" helps to provide the necessary budgetary resources that allow MASHAV to continue its cooperation activities through integrated human and institutional capacity development and demonstration.

Israel promotes technology transfer, mostly in the field of sustainable agriculture, combating desertification and environmentally sound use of water resources. The Israel Export Institute is the primary organization facilitating trade ties, joint ventures and strategic alliances between overseas businesses and Israeli companies. 

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The major groups included in decision-making processes on international and regional cooperation for sustainable development include the scientific and technological community and NGOs. All of MASHAVís activities are carried out in cooperation with relevant government ministries, universities, research institutions and professional bodies.

The advent of the Middle East peace process has witnessed the emergence of several new non-governmental organizations committed to promoting regional cooperation for environmental protection and sustainable development.  They include Friends of the Earth Middle East, composed of Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians, involved in projects related to sustainable tourism development, renewable energy and the impacts of transboundary pollution. The Palestinian-Israeli Environmental Secretariat is another NGO promoting cooperation on environmental concerns.  

MASHAV carries out its mandate with the assistance of affiliated study centers, academic and professional institutions and experts in various fields from different sectors. Thus, for example, the Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation draws upon the professional skills of experts and researchers in Israelís Ministry of Agriculture and other public entities, as well as from national farmers' organizations and the private sector.  A professional and operational network has likewise been developed with NGOs. To best fulfill its mandate, MASHAV implements a practice of regular meetings with experts and trainers from all its affiliate institutions to identify issues for further investigations and conclusions for action. A major symposium with the participation of all affiliate representatives was recently held to crystallize strategies for coming years. The scientific and technological community is actively involved in international cooperation programmes. MASHAV runs training centers in cooperation with different research institutions and universities. Programmes deal with sustainable development issues such as integrated pest management, sustainable energy, environmental management, public administration and many others.

As mentioned in the preceding question, Friends of the Earth Middle East is an example of an NGO involved in regional cooperation projects in the field of sustainable development.

Partnerships between government and these groups are based both on joint training activities and on financial support by government of these organizations. Several ministries, including the Environment Ministry, the Agriculture Ministry, and the Science Ministry, finance these activities.

The private sector is involved in international cooperation activities and programs through corporate partnerships and export. Several bilateral research foundations have been established to foster civilian research, agricultural research, and hi-tech cooperation between industries. The funds are financed by Israel and its partner country. 

Historically the government has had substantial involvement in nearly all sectors of the economy.  However, in the past decade, a central aim of the government's economic policy has been to reduce its role in the economy and to promote private sector growth.  In order to advance these goals, the government has pursued a policy of privatizing state-owned enterprises.

The Office of the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Industry and Trade encourages and supports research and development in order to foster the development of technology oriented industries in Israel.  Different programmes exist for the support of innovative generic technologies, product development, beta sites, market feasibility studies and business plans.

Israeli companies participate in international tenders published by countries worldwide.  The Israel Export Institute is the primary organization facilitating trade ties, joint ventures and strategic alliances between overseas businesses and Israeli companies. The Institute is a non-profit organization which was founded in 1958 as a joint venture between the Israeli government and the private sector to promote international trade.

Unskilled and semi-skilled laborers in such industries as the textile industries are most adversely affected by trade liberalization and globalization. Incentive and subsidy programmes, vocational retraining programmes, on-the-job training programmes, and business tutorial programmes have been set up by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and other government bodies to help different sectors to adjust to Israelís move from a low-tech to a high-tech economy.

Programmes and Projects 

Major activities within Israel in the field of sustainable development involving multilateral financing include the Coastal Area Management Programme for Israel, within the framework of the Mediterranean Action Plan of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The objectives of this programme, which took place between 1996 and 1999 included the following: To encourage policy makers of economic development sectors to take responsibility for the environmental impact of their decision and to incorporate environmental considerations in their decision-making processes (sustainable development, capacity building, economic instruments); and to improve the professional basis for policy making on issues not sufficiently covered in current coastal zone management (pollution control, beach erosion, cliff stability, climate change, biodiversity).

Another important Israeli programme is the RESSAC project, acronym for Remote Sensing Support for Analysis of Coasts. This project, which was first conceived by MAP's Regional Activity Center for Environmental Remote Sensing (RAC/ERS), was officially launched in 1997 within the framework of the European Commission Programme on Environment and Climate. It aimed to demonstrate the usefulness and cost-effectiveness of multi-satellite data in the assessment and monitoring of coastal erosion phenomena. The project has focused on monitoring and study of the following aspects of coastal erosion: shoreline changes, coastal land cover, bathymetry assessment, suspended sediment analysis, sand inventory and sea-state and wind.

Several Israeli projects were financed by the European Union, within the framework of its LIFE II programmes.  These related to the restoration and conservation of fauna and flora, centralized treatment of organic waste, restoration of coastal rivers, municipal solid waste management and protection of endangered birds.

Israel's bilateral cooperation programs are largely based on technical and scientific cooperation and capacity building rather than the provision of financial resources. Emergency aid is provided in cases of natural catastrophes.

Technical assistance programmes are organized by MASHAV, the Center for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. MASHAV's activities comprise courses in Israel for trainees from various countries or from the same country, on-the-spot courses conducted at the request of the recipient country for local trainees, short-term consultancies, long-term consultancies and joint research programmes, in cooperation with Germany and the Netherlands to support trilateral research programmes designed to assist the developing world.

Several projects have focused on the eradication of poverty, especially through courses on Community Development and Income Generation with modules on Grassroots Management Training.  Special emphasis is placed on working with poor women in Africa to help them manage projects, groups and businesses more efficiently and profitably.  The focus of programmes is to develop ways in which nations not only overcome poverty but maintain the ability to continue to do so on their own, through such means as developing potential industry.

Status 

Israel's development assistance is largely in the form of training, both in Israel and abroad, and consultancies. However, emergency relief is also an important part of international cooperation. Emergency aid assistance is extended to countries throughout the world whose populations are victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes.  Such aid may take the form of financial assistance for the purchase of medical equipment, food supplies, tents and blankets or in the form of expert missions, usually medical experts, to provide high-level assistance to neighboring countries.  

Since its establishment in 1958, fruitful cooperation has been ongoing with over 140 countries/authorities, with over 70,000 alumni having participated in skills enrichment courses in Israel and over 90,000 professionals trained in on-site courses in their home countries. The Israeli experience particularly suits the needs in development of human resources, placing a special emphasis to enhance cooperation in the fields of food security, rural and agricultural development, primary and secondary health care, special education programmes and institutional building. Special focus is placed on agricultural and rural development programs which strive to address the problems of food security and sustainable resource use and development.  A major area of development cooperation is the implementation of research, development and training for different facets of arid zone agriculture. Another focal activity relates to different aspects of water resource development and utilization. Courses on subjects related to environmental protection include integrated pest management and protection of biodiversity in desert ecosystems.

Trading programmes exist between Israel and several countries and regions. Free trade agreements have been concluded with the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, several countries in Central Europe, the USA, Canada and Mexico, among others.

Israel's international activities in the field of sustainable development are carried out within the framework of international and regional organizations, foremost among which is the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and at a regional level, the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP).

Following are some highlights of recent activities and international conventions in which Israel was actively involved:

1)      Combating Desertification: Israel, with its wide experience in preventing and combating desertification, was one of the first nations to sign and ratify the Convention to Combat Desertification (in March 1996). Israel has taken an active part in the Asian regional conferences and has presented national papers on measures to combat desertification. In line with its accumulated experience and its commitments under the convention, Israel is establishing an International Center for Combating Desertification in Sde Boker in the Negev Desert. In April 1997, under UN auspices, Israel hosted a three-day expert meeting on Āpotential Synergies in the Implementation of the Convention on Combating Desertification and Drought, Biodiversity, Climate Change and the Forest Principles, conducted at the Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

2)      Ozone protection: Israel ratified the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer as well as the London, Copenhagen and Vienna Amendments. To comply with all provisions, Israel prohibits or restricts the import of ozone depleting materials with the exception of recycled materials, enforces the restrictions placed on methyl bromide production in Israel, and invests major efforts in finding alternatives to methyl bromide.

3)      Transport of Hazardous Waste: Israel ratified the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal in 1994. Israel supports the development of a ĀgPrior Informed ConsentĀh (PIC) Convention. In 1997, Israel submitted a comprehensive report on the environmental aspects of hazardous substances management in Israel to the Joint Committee of the Chemical Group and Management Committee of the Special Programme on the Control of Chemicals in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

4)      Climate Change: Israel ratified the Climate Change Convention in May 1996 and signed the Kyoto Protocol in December 1998. The country has prepared a national greenhouse gas inventory, mitigation options for reducing emissions, and a preliminary assessment of vulnerability and adaptation measures to climate change. It has submitted its First National Communication to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in November 2000.

5)      Protection of Flora and Fauna: Israel ratified the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The Nature and National Parks Protection Authority is responsible for its implementation at the national level. Israel ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1995 and submitted its first national report to the secretariat in 1997. Israel ratified the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention) in 1996. Two Israeli sites were designated as Āwetlands of International Importance in the Ramsar List: the Hula Reserve and the En Afek Reserve.

6)   Israel contributes to the protection of the Mediterranean Sea environment within the framework of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP). In the framework of MAP, Israel has implemented two projects: a Coastal Areas Management Program (CAMP) for Israel, inaugurated in 1996, and a sub regional agreement between Egypt, Cyprus and Israel on preparedness and cooperation in response to medium and large-scale oil spill, signed in 1995.  

Israel has entered into bilateral trade agreements with several other countries. These, however do not relate directly to the promotion of sustainable development..    

 Although Israel has not played an active role in promoting Agenda 21 at the regional and international levels, it has striven to cooperate with its neighbors to promote sustainable development. An environmental chapter was added to the peace treaty signed between Israel and Jordan in 1994. In addition, the multilateral track of the Middle East peace process has stressed cooperation on sustainable development issues.

At the regional level, Israel promotes Agenda 21 through its activities within the framework of the Mediterranean Action Plan. Its activities encourage the implementation of the principles set out in Med Agenda 21.  

In developing its own sustainable development policies, Israel has built partnerships with other countries, such as The Netherlands which are also densely populated and characterized by rapid economic growth, for the purpose of learning from their experience. Israel is also ready to offer its own experience and expertise in areas related to sustainable water development and renewable sources of energy such as solar energy. Israel experience in developing its sustainable development documents can serve as an example to other countries, with similar conditions.  Different packages of measures will be relevant to different countries and therefore countries which are most similar to Israel will most likely profit from its experience. 

Challenges

Within the framework of the Coastal Areas Management Programme (CAMP) which was signed between Israel and MAP, a final integrated report on Israel experience in developing sustainable development strategies was prepared.   The program was seen as a laboratory of a new approach of sustainable development which would be of interest and use to other Mediterranean countries and to discussions of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development. The results should be integrated into future activities of MAP, MCSD and CAMPS in other Mediterranean countries. 

Issues such as public transport, public awareness and involvement in sustainable development policy, sustainable cities and sustainable tourism require most immediate attention for bilateral or multilateral cooperation. Other essential issues relate to water use and development and protection of biodiversity and endangered species.

Major challenges include raising awareness of international concepts of sustainable development in all sectors and at all levels, including the local level, and finding ways of building up confidence and trust between various partners in order to allow for the presentation of interests clearly with the aim of promoting cooperation in sustainable development. Major challenges include raising awareness of international concepts of sustainable development in all sectors and at all levels, including the local level, and finding ways of building up confidence and trust between various partners in order to allow for the presentation of interests clearly with the aim of promoting cooperation in sustainable development.

The slow pace of privatization in some sectors represents a challenge in eliminating trade barriers.  Farming remains subject to government intervention and depends on subsidies and cheap water, although subsidies have been declining in real terms in recent years.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Education and access to information are major elements of MASHAV work. Israel has developed courses for training hundreds of education professionals from around the world, who have returned to their countries to make tangible progress in their own states. A major focus of activity is early childhood education. The Ofri International Study Center was established as a MASHAV extension, in cooperation with the Israel Ministry of Education. It concentrates on educational fields that contribute to human resource development and regional upbuilding. Three main fields of activities were designed: education, technology and science, education and community and adult education. MASHAV training courses offered in 2000 include education for science and technology, computerization of social systems, community education and media strategies for community development.  

All of IsraelĀfs universities offer educational programmes on international relations. The Department of International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem offers courses in all the fields of international relations, from theoretical issues to diplomacy, international law and international economy and security.  In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organizes training programs. The Ministry has a  three-year program (TSOHARIM) trains diplomats and experts in international relations.

Capacity building, through technical training and technology transfer, is the central aim of MASHAV. One of MASHAV's main branches is its Cooperative Development Program which aims to train professionals in new ways to enhance their society's economy and policy-making. Economic and social development also ranks high in MASHAV programmes. Training courses and workshops on Management of Income Generating Projects have been offered as well as courses on such subjects as the role of computers in economic and social development. A tailor-made course was conducted on Organization of Community and Municipal Services and recent activity is focusing on the operation of small businesses.  

Capacity building is needed for negotiating environmental agreements to bring about global benefit and in incorporating environmental considerations in global economic agreements.  Israel is currently reviewing various market-oriented mechanisms for promoting sustainable development and studying different methods of integrating different aspects of environment and economic development.

Through the Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center, founded within the framework of MASHAV international cooperation work, special emphasis is placed on human resource development by training women and men toward sustainable development for their communities. Several workshops have been held on such subjects as Women and Microenterprises and Empowering Women in the Community. In addition, International Symposiums were held on Women, Development and Public Policy, Economy Development, Entrepreneurship and Gender and Women's Leadership to Help Women Help Themselves.   

With regard to programmes involving multilateral financing for sustainable development in other countries, the Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cooperates with many UN agencies dedicated to human enrichment and capacity-building.  Though modest in scope, Israel, as a member of the donor community, has been working with many UN agencies on providing development assistance through training activities.  

Public awareness of this issue begins at the school level. Some 60 Israeli schools take part in the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) project. The program focuses on global environmental issues and utilizes the Internet for information sharing.

The development of the peace process in recent years has helped raise awareness of the importance of regional and international cooperation for sustainable development.

Information on international conferences and conventions is published by the Ministry of the Environment and international cooperation issues are also featured on the websites of the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

NGOs such as Friends of the Earth Middle East foster public awareness of regional cooperation for sustainable development through publications, campaigns and the Internet. 

Information 

Direct measures for promoting private sector investment in other countries for the promotion of sustainable development do not exist.  However, various organs within the government facilitate participation of Israeli firms in business ventures in other countries which, inter alia, help promote sustainable development. Thus, for example, the Israel Export Institute, the Ministry of the Environment, and the Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV) have cooperated in publishing an environmental technology directory for the purpose of disseminating information on relevant Israeli technology to customers and markets worldwide.  This has allowed the environmental industry to present innovative Israeli technologies and to establish partnerships with appropriate companies in developed and developing countries.  An International Exhibition for Environmental Technologies (Environment 2001) is being planned in Tel Aviv for May 2001. The programme includes an exhibition and an international conference on joint environmental projects in the Middle East and is organized by the Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center, under the auspices of the Ministry of the Environment, the Israel Export Institute and the Manufacturers' Association of Israel.  

As from June 1st, 1999, the Act of Freedom of Information was enacted by the State of Israel. According to the Act, any person who is a resident of Israel is entitled to receive information from governmental authorities (except for trade secrets or security matters). Information related to trade, investment and economic growth is accessible to potential users through different mediums, such as formal publications and on the internet.

Relevant national World Wide Web sites:

Bank of Israel

Ministry of Finance

Central Bureau of Statistics

Israel Export Institution

Manufacturers Association of Israel

The Israeli Federation of

Ministry of Industry and Trade

Information is available in reports published by different ministries, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Information on cooperation in the economic domain is available through the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Information on cooperation in the field of the environment is available on the sites of the different ministries. Following is a list of the main sites:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs www.mfa.gov.il

Environment Ministry www.environment.gov.il

Ministry of Trade and Industry www.mti.gov.il

Such information is disseminated and shared through ministerial publications, both in Hebrew and in English. Annual reports are published and relevant information is also available on the web.

White papers do not exist in Israel. Quarterly bulletins are published by some ministries.

Research and Technologies 

Two programmes in research under the auspices of MASHAV, Germany and The Netherlands, are conducted. The German-Israel Agricultural Research Agreement, carries out agricultural research between institutions in Israel, Germany and developing countries while dozens of research projects are included in the Netherlands-Israel Research Programmes which emphasizes the social, economic and cultural aspects of rural development.  Projects are conducted in numerous developing countries and in the Palestinian Authority.  

Israel's current priorities relate to the development of technologies for sustainable energy, sustainable agriculture and arid land development, water technologies.  Transfer and dissemination of technology and technical know-how frequently take the form of courses, workshops and seminar in Israel and abroad.

The public sector financially supports international cooperation involving the private sector. 

The Chief Scientist Office in the Ministry of Industry and Trade regulates the flow of technology on research and development projects supported by this office. Organizations such as the Israel Export Institute facilitate strategic alliances and promotion of environmentally sound technologies through international cooperation.

Experts from Israel cooperate with experts in other countries in joint research in several fields linked to sustainable development. These include development of environmental indicators for the Mediterranean region, integrated pest management, combating desertification, water management, sustainable industry and development of alternative sources of energy. This joint research is based on exchange of information and exchange of experts. Professional networking is ongoing between experts in Israel and those outside.

Financing 

Percentage of allocation is unknown.  The majority of funds are allocated to capacity building and poverty eradication.  

International development programs coordinated by MASHAV are carried out in 140 different countries/authorities in Africa, Asia and Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Middle East and North Africa and Europe.  Specific targeted areas include economic development, growth and privatization, food security, agricultural research and development, combating desertification, and desert studies, community development including education and the empowerment of women, primary and public healthcare, environmental conservation and protection, education in science and technology, civil society including management of NGOs, youth leadership, education for democracy and peace and conflict resolution, and integrated rural regional development.

MASHAV has signed agreements on technical cooperation with the USA, The Netherlands and Denmark which cover a proportion of MASHAVĀfs budget.  In addition, agreements have been signed with the governments of Sweden, Norway and Germany. Agreements also exist with international organizations involved in technical cooperation activities in developing countries such as FAO, UNDP, UNESCO, WHO, EDI (World Bank) and the African Development Bank. Some have signed programs of cooperation with Israel under which these organizations sponsor fellowships for professionals throughout the developing world to study in MASHAV courses in Israel or fund Israeli experts to serve as consultants to developing countries in different subjects. MASHAV itself funds numerous training programs and courses in Israel and abroad. 

Israel has adopted the partnership approach whereby it works together with donor and recipient partners to make the best use of the knowledge and skills of its own experts, to learn from others and to broaden the impact of limited budgetary resources.  

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information is based on Israel's submission to the 8th and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: March 2001.

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TRADE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

There is no institutional mechanism to identify "hot-spots" in the integration of trade and environment issues. However, there is a strong cooperation between the Ministry of the Environment and the industrial factors in Israel, such as the Manufacturers Association of Israel and the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce. Each has a designated person to liaise with the Ministry of the Environment. This cooperation and interaction includes information exchange, consulting on legal matters, reciprocal up-dating and joint efforts in solving common problems.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Israeli exporting industries are usually more environmental-friendly than industries for the local markets. Therefore, they do not create "hot-spots".

There has been no derogation of any specific environmental legislation or regulation as an inducement to foreign direct investment.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement    

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

During the last decade the State of Israel has gone through some major changes which have affected its economy and economic growth rate. At the beginning of the nineties there was a big wave of immigration to Israel, a fact that brought about a major national economic growth until the end of 1995. From 1996, the trend began to reverse and the national economic growth has been in sharp decline, even to the point of reaching negative growth rate.

The above process also generated a change in trends in investments, import-export balance and payments balance. However, as far as the Ministry of the Environment is concerned, there are no special linkages between poverty and trade and investments apart from those accepted as general economic theories.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information   

As from June 1st, 1999, the Act of Freedom of Information was enacted by the State of Israel. According to the Act, any person who is a resident of Israel is entitled to receive information from governmental authorities (except for trade secrets or security matters). Information related to trade, investment and economic growth is accessible to potential users through different mediums, such as formal publications and on the internet.

Relevant national World Wide Web sites:

The Israeli Federation of

Ministry of Industry and Trade

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

 

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This information is based on Israel's submission to the 8th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: March 2001.

 

CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

GDP per capita was $US13,644 in 1994. Private consumption per head was 14% higher in 1993 than in 1989, with a 3% growth per year. According to family expenditure surveys, the share of health expenditure increased in total expenditure from 5.3% in 1987 to 7.1% in 1993.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

***

This information is based on Israels submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

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FINANCING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There has been no attempt to introduce new environmental taxes, levies or charges, yet. No analysis to identify environmentally unsustainable subsidies has been carried out. There have been no new policies to make foreign direct investment (FDI) more environmentally friendly. The cooperation with the financial sector will enable the Ministry of the Environment to develop regulations and other tools, which are needed in order to encourage the inclusion of information on the environment in the capital market data-system and in investment projects which are being financed in Israel.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

In 1999, the Ministry had initiated a meeting with the financial services in Israel on the subject: "Environmental Financial Risks and Opportunities", in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme - Financial Institutions Initiative. (The meeting will be held in October 1999 in Israel).

Programmes and Projects 

The Division of Standards, Economic and Information of the Ministry of the Environment had initiated a long run project, including several initial steps which have been already taken in 1999, for the purpose of raising the inclusion of environmental consideration into the financial services’ policies and practices.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Also, all the authorities related to the financial sector in Israel have been introduced to and presented with the above subject during 1999, for the purpose of raising awareness and initiating cooperation towards the inclusion of environmental consideration into their policies (for example: the Israeli Securities Authority, The Supervisor of Banks - Bank of Israel).

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

 

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This information is based on Israel's submission to the 8th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: October 1999.

For information on participating States in the Global Environment Facility, click here:
For information about issues and projects in Middle East and North Africa from the World Bank, click here:

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TECHNOLOGY

Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology

No information available.

 

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Biotechnology

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Agriculture, specifically the Division of Plant Protection, established an inter-ministerial and inter-disciplinary committee on bio-safety, biotechnology/gene technology in December 1996. The Nature Reserves Authority is one of the professional bodies involved in the Committee, which also has representatives from universities and research centers, the Ministry of Science, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The committee will deal with recommendations for necessary legislative changes regarding bio-safety, taking into consideration the Convention on Biological Diversity, among other issues.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

No information is available 

Information

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

Several scientific institutes and universities, together with industry and certain government ministries, are involved in biotechnology research. Some public funding is available from both the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Science for research endeavors in the field.

Cooperation  

No information is available

 

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This information is based on Israels submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: April 1997

Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages

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INDUSTRY

No information available.

 

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TRANSPORT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Transport is responsible for decisions in the management and improvement of the transport system and for transport policy in Israel.

Ministerial and inter-ministerial committees facilitate the formulation of policy or legislation concerning the national transport system.  Bills and proposed standards are distributed among government bodies for review and feedback prior to promulgation.  Thus, for example, the Ministry of Transport is responsible for enforcing vehicular pollution standards but authority for their promulgation is the responsibility of the Ministry of the Environment.

Decision-making is mostly at the national level, but local authorities play an important role in managing traffic and transport within their jurisdiction.  An official responsible for traffic and transport operates in each local authority and coordinates policy between the national and local levels. The Ministry of Transport also supervises over metropolitan transport planning bodies, especially teams working on transport Master plans for Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. One of the goals of these teams is to consolidate and implement a comprehensive transport planning policy on the metropolitan level. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Regulations on Air Pollution from Vehicles, 1963, under the Abatement of Nuisances Law, prohibit the emission of black smoke from motor vehicles (in accordance with the Hartridge Smoke Meter).  A companion regulation details how to measure smoke from vehicles.

The Traffic Ordinance (New Version), 1961, authorizes traffic magistrates to enforce provisions of the Abatement of Nuisances Law relating to motor vehicles.  Regulations prohibit the registration of a vehicle unless it conforms with inspection standards for emissions, especially European Union standards.

The Operation of Vehicles (Engines and Fuel) Law, 1961, allows the Minister of Finance, after consulting with the Minister of Transport, to regulate the kind of fuel by which any motor vehicle will be propelled and operated and the kind of engine which will be installed.  The Minister of Finance is empowered to enact regulations under this law which may include examination of fuel station tanks and containers, spot checks of motor vehicles and fuel tanks, and fuel sampling directions.

Public Health Regulations (Pollution Emission from Vehicles), 1980, prohibit driving a vehicle which emits smoke and set requirements for vehicle examiners.

Laws, regulations and standards relating to transport have been reviewed in recent years to better reflect environmental issues, especially pollution abatement. Laws, regulations and standards relating to transport have been reviewed in recent years to better reflect environmental issues, especially pollution abatement.

A government decision requires national regulations and standards to be based on standards adopted in the Western World.  This relates to European and American standards aimed at reducing vehicle emissions as well.  As a result, Israel has adopted the European standard for diesel (EN 590) and the European standard on unleaded gasoline for automobile (EN 228).  In addition, Israel has partially adopted European Council Directive 96/96 on roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles.

To maintain emissions at low levels throughout the life of a vehicle and to ensure that polluters are withdrawn from service until they comply with emission standards, exhaust emission tests are carried out during the vehicleís annual registration test. Exhaust emission tests are required to measure the lambda value and the carbon monoxide content of the exhaust gases so that at engine idling speed, the maximum permissible CO content in the exhaust gases of cars equipped with catalytic converters does not exceed 0.5%. Prior to 1999, the required carbon monoxide standard stood at 1% for vehicles from 1995 on.  Catalytic converters have been standard features in all private vehicles in Israel beginning with 1993 models.

A state of the art mobile unit for monitoring pollutant emissions from motor vehicles operates in Israel and air quality inspectors have been trained to carry out a countrywide enforcement program.

Rules, regulation and incentives to induce public participation in environment-friendly transportation do not exist, although the government subsidizes public transport to some extent.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The overall strategy concerning the transport system calls for a set of measures, which include the following: development of mass transport (rail and buses) both between cities and within cities; control of private car use in accordance with the capacity of the road infrastructure through use of transportation control measures (e.g., parking restrictions, congestion taxes); reduction of air pollution through introduction of more efficient engines, smaller and lighter vehicles and alternative energy vehicles such as electricity vehicles, and development of the road system to a level which will allow accessibility from all settlements to the road network. The policy, which was adopted by the Minister of Transport and the National Board for Planning and Building in 1998, is largely based on a new approach which integrates transport and land development policy.  

A very important Masterplan on land transportation in Israel was completed in 1999, as well as a Masterplan for the Dan metropolitan region, which includes the city of Tel Aviv and adjoining municipalities, slated for completion in 2002. The Masterplan aims to present an integrated strategy for urban planning, rural development and transport infrastructure. In addition, roads and associated facilities form the largest group of environmental impact assessments required by planning authorities in Israel. A draft strategy on sustainable development in the transport sector which relates to some of these issues has also been prepared. 

Israelís transport policy has been set for the coming twenty years (until 2020) within the framework of a Masterplan for land transportation in Israel. The following general goals have been defined:

Expansion of transport infrastructure:  Israelís goal is to improve the quality of the road system by increasing the road network and expanding the railway system to allow connection of all parts of the country, both within cities and between cities.

Sustainable fuel consumption:  Israel will adopt technical measures targeted at reducing energy consumption which are developed in other countries, but market penetration of such technologies is expected to take ten years for light vehicles and many more years for heavy duty vehicles. Israel will introduce alternative fuels for improved combustion efficiency, especially in public transport.  One plan for the short term calls for conversion of at least part of the bus fleet to alternative fuels (e.g., liquefied petroleum gas) pending the results of review and experimentation. 

Reduction of vehicle emissions: Israelís goal is to adapt itself to the European standards and to improve the quality of its fuel in the short term. Fuel additives are viewed as a potential solution to improve the quality of the fuel and lower emission levels.  Exhaust emission tests are carried out during annual registration tests to ensure that polluters are withdrawn from service until they comply with emission standards.

Development of alternative transport modes: This is an important goal in transportation policy. Emphasis is placed on expanding and upgrading the railway system. Other initiatives include a joint project between Israel Electric Corporation and Germany on electric car use (a German car activated with zinc-air batteries produced by an Israeli company).

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The Ministry of Transport and the National Board for Planning and Building commissioned a proposal on land transport policy in Israel from the Israel Institute for Transport Planning and Research.  The proposal was adopted by the Ministry of Transport and by Israelís planning authority.

Such groups as the Car Importers Association and the public transport companies (e.g., the two major bus cooperatives) provide input and information to government officials, in an advisory capacity.  The Railroad Authority is involved in decision making on railway development while the Airports Authority is involved in the decision-making on air transport. Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology provide scientific information and consultation services which are essential in the decision making process.

Recently, citizen groups and non-governmental organizations have taken a more active part in lobbying decision makers to introduce environment-friendly modes of transport.  Of special note is the citizen-based consensus conference which was recently held in Israel whereby a group of lay citizens gathered together to study the issue of transportation and formulated a consensus report about it.  The project was initiated by both governmental and non-governmental organizations and presented recommendations on different aspects of environment-friendly transport system.

Densely populated and heavily congested urban centers, such as the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, and remote areas of the country, such as the southern region of Israel (the Negev), have the most urgent need for an improved transport system.

Programmes and Projects 

The Israel Institute for Transport Planning and Research has prepared a proposal for land transportation in Israel which includes a wide gamut of measures for improving the current design of the transport and traffic system in the country.

Status 

The Israel's system of transportation is generally adequate to meet commercial, private and public demands, but is not optimal.  Thus, for example, the transport of cargo and materials is mostly by road, while the railway pathway, which is safer and more environment-friendly is not sufficiently developed.  Public transport services are not sufficiently developed in rural areas and for night travel.  In addition, Rail traffic is inadequately developed.

16,115 kilometers of roads in 1999 provided a relatively dense network to the majority of Israeli citizens.

The railroad system is not well developed. In 1999, only 663 kilometers of railroad existed in Israel, mostly concentrated on the coastal plain.  In 1999, about 8.78 million passengers utilized the railways, with a large share utilizing the railway system between Tel Aviv and Haifa. In other areas of the country, the railway system is poorly developed and in many areas, non-existent. Jerusalem, for example, is not currently linked to the rest of the country by railway.

Israelís waterways are well developed for three main reasons:

  1. The country enjoys significant coastal areas, mostly on the Mediterranean coast, but also on the Red Sea.

  2. Political circumstances have precluded international railway transportation into Israel.

  3. Israelís main trade partners are in the developed world (North America, Japan, Europe) and are geographically distant from Israel.

In 1999, there were 6,587 ship departures from Israeli ports.

Airports are also well developed. There are 54 airports in the country, 31 of which have paved runways. However there is only one international airport, Ben-Gurion International Airport, in Lod at the center of the country. This limits the accessibility of the northern and the southern regions to international airways. Possibilities for an additional international airport are currently being examined. In 1999, there were 30,933 aircraft landings in Israel carrying 8,734 thousand passengers (arriving and departing).

In recent years, the development of public transportation has stagnated while the number of motor vehicles has multiplied.  The increase in car ownership has not been accompanied by a proportionate increase in road surface.

In 1999, the consumption of gasoline in the transportation sector was 2,135,000 tons while the consumption of diesel was 2,333,000 tons. Diesel consumption has risen significantly in recent years.  Most of the countryís trucks, buses and commercial vehicles are diesel powered and, in recent years, the number of private diesel cars has grown as well.

For the year 1999, the overall amount of vehicle emissions was as follows:

-         Suspended Particulate Matter: 7,709 tons (out of a total of 29,313 tons emitted from fuel combustion in all sectors).

-         Sulfur dioxide: 13,607 tons (out of a total of 265,375 tons emitted from fuel combustion in all sectors).

-         Nitrogen oxide: 165,814 tons (out of a total of 309,793 tons emitted from fuel combustion in all sectors).

-         Carbon monoxide: 400,811 tons (out of a total of 410,141 tons emitted from fuel combustion in all sectors).

-         Carbon dioxide: 14,195 tons (out of a total of 62,022 tons emitted from fuel combustion in all sectors).

-         Hydrocarbons: 44,531 tons (out of a total of 65,675 tons).

-         Lead (from gasoline): 237 tons.

Transportation sources are responsible for a lionís share of the countryís carbon monoxide pollution and for significant percentages of nitrogen oxide, particulate, hydrocarbon and lead concentrations in the environment.  With the exception of lead, the concentrations of all these pollutants have risen dramatically over the past decade.  

Over the 1990s, the number of cars on Israelís roads has increased by more than 70%, reaching over 1.7 million in 1999.  A small proportion of these cars is known to be responsible for most of the pollution. Cars older than 1993, when catalytic converters were first required for some cars, emit significant quantities of pollutants including carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides

The problem is more severe in the case of commercial vehicles. Diesel-powered buses and trucks, estimated at more than 280,000, are major sources of nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions. Nitrogen oxide emissions from these vehicles may be ten times greater than those of gasoline cars equipped with a converter.  

Poor fuel quality is one of the most significant factors contributing to vehicle pollution.

Several measures are currently being introduced to reduce vehicular emissions. These include: technical measures, planning measures, legislative measures, operational measures, inspection and enforcement measures, education and information measures and surveys and research. Fuel quality for transport has been improved with a switch to low-sulfur diesel beginning in 1999 and very low sulfur fuel (0.015%) for buses operating in the major cities. 

To further reduce pollution from public transport, personal decrees have been prepared for Israelís two major bus cooperatives.  The decrees will require such measures as pollutant reduction according to a strict timetable, scrapping of old buses, increased monitoring and enforcement and a possible switch of part of the vehicle fleet to alternative fuels. An additional mobile monitoring unit for roadside inspection has been purchased to increase enforcement capability.  

Challenges

Heavy vehicles including trucks, buses and commercial vehicles, powered by diesel fuel, require the most immediate attention in reducing damages to ecosystems. In addition, railway transport requires immediate attention both to improve transport efficiency and reduce environmental damages. Railway transportation needs to be improved throughout the country and within urban areas, such as the Tel Aviv area, to encourage people to travel by train rather than by private vehicles or buses. Railway transport to and from different areas of the country, especially Jerusalem and Beersheba, requires urgent improvement to replace private vehicle use and improve transport efficiency.  

Major obstacles to the adoption of more efficient systems largely relate to financial considerations since significant resources are required to provide environment-friendly and efficient transport systems and infrastructures.  In addition, a conservative approach by decision makers has, at times, delayed the introduction of new technologies.

Vehicular pollution is compounded by the composition and fast growth of Israelís vehicle fleet which includes growing numbers of diesel vehicles, scooters and older cars. Vehicular pollution is also exacerbated by inadequate maintenance of motor vehicles.

Additional obstacles relate to absence of updated legislative and enforcement measures and lack of fiscal measures, such as high taxes on certain types of vehicles or incentives for scrapping old vehicles.

The transport sector is dependent on the quality of the traffic system. In addition, disadvantaged segments of the population and those living far away from population centers are adversely impacted by ill-managed transport systems.  Residents of congested urban areas, especially Tel Aviv, also experience the harmful consequences of ill-managed transport and traffic systems.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Most of the measures to promote public awareness of the impact of transport on the environment are initiated by the Ministry of the Environment and by NGOs. The Ministry of the Environment uses publications, the Internet and campaigns to raise awareness of the subject. The ministry recently published a driver information sheet on proper vehicle maintenance and driving for pollution abatement. Special study days and seminars have been organized to highlight the impact of transport on the environment in urban areas. NGOs increase awareness through public demonstrations and utilization of the media.

NGOs have initiated a major public debate and protest revolving around plans for the construction of Road #6 (The Trans-Israel Highway), one of Israelís major arteries, linking the Galilee and the Negev to the center of the country. Environmentalists have opposed the new highway because it will give priority to the private car as the main means of transportation in coming years, because it will reduce the open space left in the central region of the country and because potential environmental problems may include noise, air pollution and visual blight.  All of these claims were voiced in a major public campaign against the road.

Green transportation days have been organized, mostly in the Tel Aviv area, to encourage such non-polluting modes of transportation as bicycles.  Grassroots organizations and NGOs have encouraged enhanced use of public transport, car-pooling and alternative modes of transport.  A sustainable transport policy document was prepared as part of Israelís proposed sustainable development strategy.  The document calls for enhanced use of public transport.

Measures to induce public participation in environment-friendly transportation largely relate to public campaigns, many organized by non-governmental organizations. Thus, ďbicycle daysĒ have been organized to promote green modes of transportation in town. On September 22, 2000, a ďcar free dayĒ was inaugurated in Tel Aviv as part of the European Commissionís ďIn town without my carĒ initiative.

Bicycle advocacy groups have been set up in several Israel cities and critical mass rides have been organized.  These bicycle associations support a ďcleanĒ public transportation system which will combine with bicycle lanes to create a viable transportation solution. Some Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, have inaugurated a bicycle trail network.  

Several universities and research centers are involved in capacity building in relation to transport and traffic systems.  Most notable are the Technion Ė Israel Institute of Technology Ė in Haifa and the Department of Geography of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Both deal with capacity building related to transport and traffic system. The Ministry of Transport also organizes training for experts and staff related to the transport and traffic systems.

The significant growth of traffic accidents in Israel coupled with the dramatic growth in number of vehicles has led the Ministry of the Transport to initiate a public campaign designed to educate the public on traffic safety. Radio and television broadcasts have been utilized for the campaign and public service announcements have been aired to underline the potentially disastrous consequences of unsafe driving. While it is too soon to evaluate the impact of the campaign, it has significantly raised public awareness of the issue of traffic safety.  At the same time, the Department of Traffic Safety in the Israel Police Force is implementing a policy of stricter control of car speed on the roads, with high penalties for offenders of traffic regulations.

      The Ministry of the Environment has established Environmental Education Centers in municipalities throughout the country as focal points for community and school environmental activities.  They assist the education system in preparing environmental curricula, conduct teacher training programs, provide educational material for teachers and interested citizens, and stimulate public involvement in environmental issues, including the relationship between transport and environment.

        The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel organizes environmental education programs for elementary school students. One of the special programs deals with global environmental challenges and the impact of transport on the environment.

Information 

A Citizensí Panel Report on the Future of Transportation in Israel was produced in June 2000 as a result of the ďFirst Citizen-Based Conference in Israel.Ē  The project was initiated by an education center, in collaboration with the Transportation Ministry, the Ministry of the Environment and several non-governmental environmental and transport organizations. Recommendations relate to transportation planning, promotion of public transport, development of efficient connections between transportation systems, and citizen involvement. The report is expected to influence public discourse on transportation in Israel and to lay the foundation for enhancing citizen involvement in this and other areas.

Information on transport systems in relation to the environment is gathered by transportation stations which are part of the countryís air quality monitoring network.  These stations are designed to monitor pollutants originating in transportation sources and are located near primary traffic junctions, at road height.  These stations are linked to regional centers and to a national control center that provides real-time information about air quality throughout the country.

In addition, information on transport-related issues is gathered by the Central Bureau of Statistics and is published in annual reports.  Israelís major bus cooperatives, Fuel Authority, and other organizations provide data upon request to the Ministry of the Environment and to other ministries.  Preparations are currently being completed for an air pollution forecasting model for the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and other cities.  Information will be available on electronic road signs.  

Scientific data and information on vehicle emissions is collected by the Central Bureau of Statistics and made available to the public in reports and on the Internet (www.cbs.gov.il). In addition, the Ministry of the Environment publishes reports and brochures on vehicle emissions and its annual report on the environment relates to vehicle emissions.

The web site of the Ministry of the Environment is open to the public and provides information on transport and environment-related issues (www.environment.gov.il).  Information on traffic conditions is continuously provided by the radio. Publications on traffic and transport conditions (in Hebrew) are also be available from the Ministry of Transport and appear on its web site: www.mot.gov.il.

Research and Technologies 

The major scheme currently being devised to promote the use of alternative energy sources for transport relates to partial conversion of the vehicle fleet, especially buses, trucks and other heavy vehicles, to liquefied petroleum gasoline. In addition, experiments are ongoing in relation to electric-powered vehicles for use by both buses and private cars.  

One of the main institutes involved in research aimed at improving the current design of the transport system in Israel is the Internal Combustion Engines Laboratory of the Technion Ė Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. This institute conducts research programs in the following fields:

Israel seeks to improve the efficiency of traffic management by increasing traffic safety. A major public campaign has been organized for this purpose which includes utilization of the written press, radio and television. The campaign is also targeted at children and involves children in educational programs relating to traffic safety.

At present, different schemes are being examined to promote efficient traffic management. These range from to intermittent control systems for traffic regulation in accordance with pollution levels to congestion fees. Measures already taken or planned include dedicated lanes for environment-friendly transport and bicycle paths, reduction of parking spaces in city centers, controlled closure of city centers to private cars, and park and ride facilities in the periphery of urban centers coupled with public transportation to city centers.

Financing 

The main sources of funding for building infrastructure are allocations of the national budget. In recent years, the private sector and sources outside of the country have become increasingly involved in major transportation projects such as the construction of major roads and  infrastructures, as is the case with the Trans-Israel Highway.

Research and development of alternative fuels and transport efficiency is largely financed by public funds, although private funds are used as well.

Funding for enforcement of regulations and standards is by the public sector. The government financially supports the purchase of new buses for mass transportation. Supply of fuel is financed by the Fuel Authority of the Ministry of National Infrastructures.

Requests for proposals and tenders are published by government agencies nationally and internationally for construction of transport infrastructures.

Cooperation

Israel cooperates with the Royal Jordanian Airline to increase the use of this airline by Israeli passengers. Also, initial discussions are being held on an airport common to Israel and to Jordan in the Gulf of Aqaba. Projects exist for increasing the efficiency of transportation systems between Israel and Egypt. 

At present, participation in international forums is limited and is primarily concentrated on matters related to cargo transport.  

The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) project is an international project dealing with observation and learning on several issues on the environment. An important part of the program relates to atmospheric issues and deals with the relation between transport and environment.  

Israel is making efforts to implement the program of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development - Global Phaseout of Leaded Gasoline. The Ministry of Environment supports improvement of emission standards for gasoline as per European standards for 2000 and 2005. The Internal Combustion Engines Laboratory of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Technion Ė Israel Institute of Technology has recently submitted an interim report to the Fuel Authority in the Ministry of National Infrastructures on a strategy for phasing out lead from gasoline in Israel.  The issue is problematic in Israel because of the significant number of old cars which are fueled with leaded gasoline. The report reviews the current status in order to help adopt the appropriate policy. It includes statistical data on the total number of vehicles fueled by gasoline in Israel including older models which are compatible with unleaded gasoline, recommendations on further reduction of lead content in gasoline below the current level of 0.15 gr/liter, and proposals on incentive measures to encourage use of unleaded gasoline.  

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 This information is based on Israel's submission to the 9th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: March 2001.

 

 

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SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

No information available.

 

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