Israel has joined the UN’s Kiev Protocol on air pollution, the Environmental Protection Ministry said.
The Kiev Protocol, also known as the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR), was introduced and enacted in 2003.
The environmental treaty aims “To enhance public access to information through the establishment of coherent, nationwide pollutant release and transfer registers.”
According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), it is the first legally binding international tool to that effect.
The Kiev Protocol demands that government exercise freedom of information and transparency regarding emissions data.
By requiring transparency, instead of regulating emissions output, the protocol’s effectiveness hinges on the idea that companies will want to avoid the stigma of being large polluters.
The protocol will enter into force in Israel on April 14, according to UN spokesman Farhan Haq.
“The secretary-general appreciates all ratifications and accessions to the treaties deposited with him, including the Kiev Protocol,” he said.
By signing the environmental treaty, Israel will be joining 36 countries, in addition to the European Union, which have individually signed the protocol.
Kiev Protocol members so far include: Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Macedonia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
Israel is the second country in the Middle East, after Cyprus, to join the protocol. The decision also coincides with Israel’s duties as an OECD member.
The Milanese explained why Italy is one of the best places to discuss feeding the planet and why they want those who are most advanced in terms of food techniques for production under extreme circumstances. The Israelis were already more than willing to negotiate with one of the few European nations they consider good friends, and they said yes: “We have been promised an investment of more than 50% of what they previously invested in Shanghai”, says Stefano Gatti, Director of International Business for Expo, on a three day mission with Director of Technology Valerio Zingarelli. “It’s the same thing that we were told a few weeks ago by the Indians, Germans and the Swiss. At this point I think that we will quite easily reach our goal of one billion in investments coming from abroad alone”.
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Even though organic agriculture and sustainable farming practices are on the rise, feeding a hungry world demands that commercial farmers rely on genetically engineered (GMO) seeds to boost production and fend off diseases.
But environmentalists fear that GMO crops are a sort of Frankenstein with unknown future consequences. The Israeli company Morflora now has an alternative seed treatment in the works that is so revolutionary it is short-listed for Best Novel Agricultural Biotechnology in the 2012 international AGROW awards, and recently won a Red Herring business award in the Top 100 Europe category.
The trademarked product, TraitUP, will be on the market in 2013.
“Our technology is an innovative trait delivery platform. We can deliver any genetic trait to any seed, and the delivered gene does not transform the genome of the treated plant,” Dotan Peleg, CEO of Morflora, said.
“We will not have any moral issues that the GMO community faces. We keep the plant intact so that the next generation of seeds of the plants will look totally unchanged. It is a paradigm shift.”
The Morflora TraitUP solution, in testing in Israeli fields and international seed developers, has the potential to immediately transfer desirable plant traits without any of the side effects or risks of GMOs, Dotan said.
It could protect vegetable seeds from infestation, fungus, bacteria and drought.
Like a vaccine for plants Recently, Dotan saw for himself the effect of severe drought on cornfields in Nebraska. Soy crops had better defenses and were able to survive. Could a hardy soy gene be inserted into corn seed to achieve a similar effect? “Once gene trait discovery companies will find this drought-tolerant gene in soy they will have a new way to apply it instead of creating a transgenic crop,” he said.
“They can use Morflora to apply these traits via seed treatment, bypassing all the breeding cycles and going straight to enhancing a product already ready for shipment.”
srael has received positive feedback from the OECD’s Chemicals Committee and its Working Party on Chemicals Pesticides and Biotechnology regarding its implementation of the organization’s policies in these fields.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s periodic assessment found that Israel’s compliance with its obligations in the areas of chemicals and waste management were successful and satisfactory, the Environmental Protection Ministry said on its website.
A delegation from the Israeli ministry presented the OECD’s committee with the steps Israel has taken in order to meet its commitments to the OECD.
Israel’s has noted several accomplishments since joining the OECD in 2010, including establishing a mechanism for managing and registering industrial chemicals, establishing the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register mechanism to keep track of chemicals emissions, and implementation of Integrated Pollution Prevention Control policies.
Israel also made significant progress in the comprehensive management of waste via legislation, waste reduction at source, the separation of different waste streams, recycling and reducing landfill; as well as management of facilities for waste and for recycling.
The OECD committee recognized Israel’s earnest commitment and efforts in these matters, saying that it had achieved a great deal in the two years reviewed.
“The committee members, as well as OECD Secretariat representatives, said that they see much improvement in our management of chemicals,” said Romy Even Danan, head of the ministry’s Hazardous Materials Division.
The OECD’s Environmental Policy Committee (EPOC) will meet in February 2013, to discuss Israel’s progress related to other environmental issues, including the use of economic instruments to manage biodiversity, environmental information and indicators.
A delegation from Mongolia’s Ministry of Environment and Green Development is hoping to take home practical lessons from a recent visit to Israel.
According to the Environmental Protection Ministry the Ulan-Bator mission visited Israel in late December as guests of the Environmental Protection and Foreign ministries.
The Mongolian delegates visited Israel with aim of learning from the Israeli expertise in the fields of water pollution management and prevention, and land rehabilitation.
The delegation met with officials from the Environmental Protection Ministry and from the Water Authority, as well as with representatives of companies that deal with land rehabilitation, biological treatment of contaminated soil, and treatment of other environmental woes.
The mission visited various sites across Israel, including the Shafdan Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Environmental Services Co., a government-owned company in Ramat Hovav, where they learned about innovative facilities for the treatment of organic waste and solid waste.
Mongolia has expressed great interest in forging collaborations with Israel on environmental issues, especially in the fields of air pollution and coping with desertification.
Mongolia has the lowest population density in the world, but the country is plagued by a variety of environmental challenges.
The effects of desertification and climate change have damaged the ability of its grazing animals to survive, and has prompted a mass migration of Mongolian residents from rural areas to the capital city of Ulan-Bator.
Today, 45% of the 2.75 million Mongolians live in the capital, which has registered a sharp increase in air pollution levels in recent years.
Lake Kinneret enjoyed a robust six-day period resulting in a massive rise of nearly a meter, the Water Authority said.
The weather system which brought a week-long rain storm to Israel has caused increased outflow in the rivers flowing to the lake, which is Israel’s only freshwater reservoir, resulting in an 80cm rise in water levels in the span of five days.
The Sea of Galilee has added 2 meters since the winter began and is now at 211.20 meters below sea level.
The Kinneret’s water level is now 1.80 meters below its lower red line and 2.40 meters below its upper red line – the highest level recorded since 2007.
According to the Water Authority, the recent snowfall is expected to add an additional 50cm to the lake – not taking into consideration future rainfall this season.
According to the water authority, the amount of water added to Lake Kinneret in January alone make up two-thirds of the lake’s annual average.