Government OKs Decision to Implement Sustainable Development Indicators
Sustainability and green growth
The Israeli Cabinet has approved a proposal to integrate the UN's Sustainable Development Goals into Israeli programs, in order to improve governance and strategic planning. The government cabinet passed the resolution on July 14th. It had been led by the prime minister, as well as the ministers of environmental protection and foreign affairs.
The Government Decision means that global sustainable development indices for 2030 will now be integrated into strategic government programs. This decision will harness Israeli innovation, so as not to leave anyone or any issue behind.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the start of Sunday's Cabinet meeting: "We will present today for Cabinet approval the plans to integrate the UN's sustainable development indicators into the government's work plans. The UN has set certain criteria, in areas such as water management, agriculture, health, biotechnology, sewage treatment, and more. We are very advanced in terms of some of these indicators - even ahead of the UN. In other cases we are not, and must catch up. Last year I thought this was a worthy cause that would enable the State of Israel to be one of the world's leaders in vital areas. Therefore, I asked to integrate these indicators into the government agenda, and the foreign minister and environmental protection minister took this task upon themselves.
Environmental Protection Minister MK Zeev Elkin: "The United Nations adopted a resolution in 2015 that set parameters, targets, and quantitative measures to assess the level of development of all the countries in the world. This development relates to economic aspects, but also takes into consideration social and environmental parameters. This has become the international language for measuring various countries, and was adopted by the OECD as well. This week, the State of Israel will submit to the UN its report on compliance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The report includes comprehensive information on the activities of the various government ministries, and shows that the State of Israel has achieved quite a few achievements and goals. These include achievements, for example, in the fields of water, agriculture, and health, while there are other issues that need to be improved. This decision will allow us to measure ourselves according to international standards, and will synchronize the government's work to international parameters. Beyond that, this is an important political step that places Israel at the forefront of international action in sustainable development, thus giving us an important place in global arena. The main theme that runs through the report is Israeli innovation, which will enable us to reach these benchmarks. We will also propose that other countries use Israeli technology in order to help them solve problems, some of which the State of Israel has already solved."
Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz: "Sustainability, with an emphasis on climate, is at the center of international discourse today. Two weeks ago, I participated in a UN meeting in Abu Dhabi, which dealt with precisely this issue. This trend will continue to grow as long as the new challenges that are facing the world intensify. The knowledge and experience of the State of Israel are recognized throughout the world, in terms of our ability to provide practical solutions to global problems - water technology, agriculture and irrigation, health and economics. For decades, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has led Israel's international activities in the development field, through MASHAV – Israel's assistance and development agencies. This decision will position Israel in the eyes of the world as a leader, in a world that already expects Israeli leadership, 'because from Zion will come Torah.' This is also an opportunity for meaningful aid activities in the sense of "Tikkun Olam" (repairing the world), as well as an opportunity to show the "beautiful Israel," which stands alongside the nations of the world in the struggle for a better world."
In July 2018, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed a working team headed by the Special Envoy for Sustainability and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection's Deputy Director General for Planning, Policy and Strategy, to coordinate an inter-ministerial team that would prepare this voluntary report. The report, as well as the Government Decision, are only the first steps in a thorough examination of the contribution of sustainable development indicators to the State, and the beginning of a multi-year process to assimilate the relevant components for Israel.
In accordance with the resolution, once the government defines its strategies for the relevant period, the ministers of foreign affairs and environmental protection will be responsible for proposing sustainable development indicators. This will be done in coordination with the head of the National Economic Council in the Prime Minister's Office, and in accordance with international standards as determined by the UN. Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics will also be involved.
Meantime, each government ministry will set benchmarks for its areas of activity, based, inter alia, on Agenda 2030 indicators. The ministers of environmental protection and foreign affairs will be responsible for periodic reporting to the relevant international bodies regarding the achievement of the targets.
This week, Minister Elkin will head an inter-ministerial delegation to the UN within the framework of the Agenda 2030 conference. Elkin will present, for the first time, Israel's report on its implementation of UN SDGs, in terms of how they relate to all areas of government work. The report also reviews Israel's international development activities through the Foreign Ministry's MASHAV aid and development agency.