(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
The KKL JNF delegation to the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban has held a number of events and activities, in order to share KKL JNF’s specialized knowledge with the various organizations participating in the conference. The official KKL JNF side event at the conference took place on December 3rd on a Saturday evening, with presentations given by Israel Environmental Ministry Chief Scientist, Dr. Sinaia Netanyahu; KKL-JNF’s Chief Forester, David Brand; and KKL-JNF Regional Director Itzhak Moshe. The side event included the presentation of reports on provisions made by the State of Israel with regard to climate change. KKL JNF representatives discussed Israeli forest adaptation to global warming in the Mediterranean region and in the northern Negev in a lecture titled Modifying Afforestation Practices in Adaptation to Climate Change. The side event was held in a round table format, and the presentations and discussions were unmediated. Many environmental organizations from India, Somalia, Nigeria, Jamaica and other countries expressed great interest in professional cooperation with Israel and KKL JNF.
On December 4, members of the KKL JNF delegation took part in Forest Day 5, which was presented by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Around 1,700 people took part in the event, which was entitled “From Policy Decisions to Practical Applications on the Ground” and focused on projects in Africa. The lectures and discussions presented by people from the World Bank, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), forestry scientists and representatives of NGOs from Africa and all around the world, emphasized the importance of a holistic approach, viewing the integration of agriculture and forestry into a single landscape approach which facilitates optimal adaptation to climate change. In the course of the lectures, the phenomenon of forest destruction all over the continent was presented, as well as success stories regarding rehabilitation, such as afforestation combined with a diversity of agricultural crops, a method that is called agroforestry. The forum was summarized by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, who said that thanks to the intensive contacts between countries, it had been decided at this stage to continue with the obligations and agreements reached at the Kyoto Conference, beyond the length of time decided at that conference.
The KKL JNF delegation held a special meeting at the Durban Community Building with Ms. Janice Park, founder of Food & Trees for Africa, an NGO that raises a considerable budget of 25 million rand annually and is responsible for planting about 100,000 saplings in South Africa. The event was initiated by JNF South Africa, which has been working in cooperation with this Food & Trees for Africa, and assists in publicity, consulting, national tree planting days and resource development. The organization expressed additional interest in cooperating with KKL JNF South Africa on the development of lands in the possession of the Catholic Church movement for the benefit of local farmers who lack resources.
At the end of the meeting, the People’s Climate TV channel interviewed David Brand and Itzhak Moshe. The interview focused on KKL JNF as one of the oldest environmental organizations in the world, and on KKL¬-JNF’s message to the world on the importance of rehabilitating of environmental resources and planting forests.
As part of the conference, the KKL JNF delegation joined a special excursion on December 2nd, which focused on Climate Change Adaptation. The tour began in the city of Durban and continued on in a forested area north of the city. In the city, the tour focused on the shoreline and the risk of urban flooding as a result of the rising sea level. Several steps are being taken to protect the shore, including plant landscaping on the dunes as well as wooden fencing to contain the sand. Spurs (breakwaters erected along the shoreline) have been constructed using sand from the sand sanitation works at the nearby port of Durban.
A large stadium has been constructed in Durban for hosting the Olympic basketball games, and in order to compensate for the carbon “footprint” caused by the construction of the stadium, the Municipality of Durban decided to afforest an area of 900 dunams. This initiative is being combined with the need for a waste disposal site, around which a buffer area is necessary. The city purchased the buffer area (which is at present being used for cultivating sugar cane) for the purpose of future afforestation. The planting of the saplings for this forestry project is being carried out by the local African black residents, who suffer from an especially high rate of unemployment. Approximately sixty families are growing the saplings and selling them to the city in accordance with the size of the sapling. The saplings are local species, with the ultimate purpose of supplying food and medicine for people and animals. The goal is to plant 900,000 saplings.
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