On Wednesday, June 20, KKL-JNF opened a learning center for sustainable development at the Rio +20 Conference, along with a workshop on floodwater harvesting and afforestation as means to rehabilitate degraded lands. The workshop was honored by record attendance, about 100 people from 30 countries including Nigeria, Brazil, Zambia, Bolivia, Chile, Malaysia, Colombia, Philippines, USA, Venezuela, Spain, Botswana, Germany, Sri Lanka, Namibia, Macau, France, Mongolia and Argentina. The workshop evoked a great deal of interest, and the hall was filled to the maximum.
The event was organized together with Israel Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, MK Carmel Shama Hacohen and members of the Israeli delegation to the Rio +20 Conference.
Minister Erdan opened the workshop by commending KKL-JNF's major contribution to developing ecological awareness in Israel. Minister Erdan remarked on the fact that KKL-JNF is perhaps the oldest organization in the world that has been involved with sustainable development, since its establishment in 1901. The Minister also said that thanks to KKL-JNF, the State of Israel is the only country in the world that has more trees in this century than it had in the last century, and, if Mark Twain were to visit Israel today, he would certainly not describe it as a wasteland, which he did after his trip to Israel in 1867.
Dr. David Brand, KKL-JNF Chief Forester and head of the KKL-JNF delegation to the Rio +20 Conference, presented Minister Erdan with a certificate for planting 259 trees in Yatir Forest in the Negev, to offset the carbon emissions from the jet that flew the members of the Israeli delegation from Tel Aviv to Rio de Janeiro. Workshop participants responded with enthusiastic applause for the presentation of the certificate and the tree planting for the prevention of global warming.
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