(photo credit: Sharon Udasin)
Canada and Israel have agreed to work together going forward to promote a United Nations resolution that would double the percentage of wastewater reused across the world, the Energy and Water Ministry said on Sunday.
The agreement is a result of a meeting on Sunday between Israeli Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau and Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent, in Landau’s Jerusalem office. During their meeting, the ministers discussed a wide array of topics, including political, economic and environmental issues, according to the ministry. Landau particularly thanked his colleague for Canada’s vote against the Palestinian bid for UN non-member observer status, stressing that that negotiations can only be achieved without preconditions and without unilateral bids.
“We remember the times that the UN passed a resolution equating Zionism to racism,” Landau said. “Even then, Canada stood by our side.”
Because of the “long-standing, warm and strong relationship” that stands between Israel and Canada, countries that espouse share values and beliefs, the country is a natural partner to Israel in its ongoing effort to develop natural resources, according to Landau.
“By means of working relations forged last year between the two countries, we have even used Canadian knowledge in formulating new procedures,” Landau said, referring to new regulations on marine drilling that the ministry is currently establishing.
Landau briefed Kent on the efforts invested by Israel in improving the environment, which have had a particular emphasis on water and have given the country the “world record” in terms of amount of treated wastewater reused in irrigation, according to the ministry. A total of 90 percent of Israeli sewage is treated, and 75% of the treated wastewater is used in agriculture, he explained.
“It would be great if we could work together to promote the subject, with an emphasis on assistance to third world countries,” Kent responded.
From this discussion, the ministers then agreed that as part of the UN’s 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation, the two offices will jointly to advance a UN resolution that calls for a doubling of wastewater reuse across the world by 2025. Landau first presented this aspiration at the Sixth World Water Forum held in March in Marseilles, according to the ministry.
“Wastewater treatment as a resource rather than as waste is a change in thinking that we’ve made in Israel, and it is important for us to lead this [change] across the world,” Landau said.
Kent added, “Canadian residents have much to learn from this country’s citizens about intelligent water use and conservation.”