Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan met Monday evening, November 7th, with OECD Deputy Secretary-General Rintaro Tamaki and received from him the OECD’s first review of Israel’s environmental accomplishments.
OECD Dep. Secy.-Gen. Tamaki praised Israel’s impressive achievements in environmental protection in the past two years: “The Government of Israel is doing exceptional work and is investing considerable resources in socio-economic development while reducing harm to the environment and efficiently using natural resources. Thus, for example, the scope of use of desalinated water in Israel is among the highest in the world, 42% of water consumption, and Israel’s desalination facilities are among the most energy efficient.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel’s entry into the OECD constitutes an important opportunity regarding investment in the field of environmental protection and called on theOECD to invest Israel’s project on oil alternatives. “A genuine revolution is taking place here. My Government has been in office for 2.5 years and we already see the change. Just last month, the Government decided on ‘green growth’ – socio-economic growth and development without harming the environment. This plan constitutes additional proof that preserving and advancing the environment need not come at the expense of economic development; the opposite is true. Joining an advanced economy with the environment leads to new and clean industries and new growth engines,” the Prime Minister said.
Among the topics discussed at this evening’s meeting were the main achievements in environmental protection in the past two years, including: Hooking up the natural gas pipeline to Haifa, which significantly reduced air pollution in the area; reducing Israel’s dependence on oil and encouraging the use of alternative and renewable energy; activities to prevent ground pollution and the rehabilitation of polluted rivers. Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the development of a national rail network is encouraging the use of public transportation and noted the establishment of three main parks – the Kishon in the north, Eshkol in the south and Ariel Sharon Park in the center.