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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 4th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Based on an article on JPost.com , Jan 3, 2008 20:37           Israel gets seats on United Nations agency panels, the original by Herb Keinon of The Jerusalem Post.


While Israel won a four-decade battle in 2000 to get accepted into one of the UN’s regional groupings critical for full incorporation into the world body, only now, sixty years since the UN helped legitimize the State   of new Israel, its full integration into the UN system is slowly taking place as Israel is finally participating in regular deliberations of UN agencies dealing with the environment and human settlement.


In May 2000, after a long struggle, Israel was accepted into one of the five regional groupings that make up the UN: WEOG, or the Western European and Others Group.
Until this time, Israel was the only country at the UN that was outside a regional grouping, and as a result was barred from membership on such UN organizations as the Security Council, UNICEF, UNESCO and numerous other UN bodies and agencies. Why WEOG and not Asia, where it belongs – that please ask the Arabs at the UN, and the UN managers that had no backbone when it came to mention the UN Charter.

The reason was simple: membership in those bodies was allocated according to regional groupings, and Israel was not a member of any such group. Asia, Israel’s geographic home, would not accept it.

But finally gaining entrance into WEOG was not the end of the battle, because this meant that Israel could be voted onto the governing bodies of organizations, but it did not give it the right to take part in their consultations. Another selection process inside WEOG was necessary to send Israel to those meetings.

In this selection process, certain WEOG countries objected to Israel taking part because they did not think Israel should be involved in discussions in which issues related to Israel and the Palestinians were raised. Since being chosen for those bodies needed a consensus of all WEOG state, it was always enough for one country to object to block Israel’s acceptance.

Since 2000, Israel – according to Roni Leshno Yaar, the director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s UN and International Organizations Division – has been trying to get into these consultations.

Last month Israel was voted by WEOG to represent the grouping in consultations for two UN agencies: HABITAT, the UN Human Settlement Program, and UNEP, the UN Environment Program. Both these agencies are based in Nairobi.

Calling the move a “significant breakthrough,” Leshno Yaar said, “This is an important step for Israeli diplomacy in the direction of normalizing Israel’s status in the UN, and recognizing Israel’s ability to contribute professionally to the regional UN bodies.

Now, to us at www.SustainabiliTank.info these news have a very special meaning. Also please remember that a year ago Israel was elected for a two year’s period on the UN Commission on Sustainable Development – UN CSD. The above three UN bodies, as well as UNDP, UNIDO, WMO, UNESCO, FAO are   the UN bodies most important to the area of our interest – in Sustainable Development with its implications to the development of alternate sources of energy (mainly renewable energy), global warming/climate change, water resources, agriculture and forestry with use to biomass for energy, the sustainable development of arid and semiarid land….and other very practical issues of keeping earth a livable planet.

And you know what, Israel’s own existence as a small country carved out from a climatically inhospitable land-mass next to the deserts of Egypt, Arabia, and Syria, could have been the catalyst for the development of the whole region inhabited by its Arab foes. Israel has helped in many countries of the world – in effect it does business with the Arab countries of the region, by far more business then with Jordan and Egypt, the only 2, out of 22 Member States of the Arab League, and many more members of the Organization of Islamic States – but this is under-the-table business through intermediary countries thanks to the propensity of Arab leaders to shoot at their own countries’ feet.

 

Anyway, the intent of this article is to celebrate the official entrance of Israel to two more UN bodies that deal with environmental issues that include subjects of pollution from the use of fossil fuels. As oil is the main weapon of the Arab States that are unfriendly to Israel, it is Israel’s self interest to help the world to develop alternatives to the use of oil – be these better material that allow conservation of energy, systems that allow less energy wasting life-styles, and technologies for renewable sources of energy. For years we advocate that Israel could do well for itself by giving away know-how, even for free, when it comes to ways how to be less dependent on oil. These methods include high-tech and communication technologies Israel has excelled in – we just posted two days ago an article about UCI lauding Israel’s achievements in those areas. So, will the Israeli Government take up now the challenge of this new opportunity and do the right things for the world – this thanks to its own clear self interest? Did the Europeans in WEOG, place Israel on the three UN bodies they participate in now officially because they had all this potential in mind – thinking also on the “Road From Bali to Copenhagen” that clearly will also path through Nairobi, the seat of UNEP and Habitat?

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