Israel and the United States signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) on environmental and climate issues on Monday evening.
Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman and US Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe signed the MOU together in Washington, D.C. This MOU replaces an existing one that expires at the end of next month and includes a more significant focus on climate change.
The EPA is a federal agency employing approximately 15,000 workers across 10 geographic regions covering the entire United States. The agency leads the government's environmental policy and advocates for integrating this aspect in various policy areas.
Exchange of environmental knowledge
Silman said Israel would benefit from the EPA's expertise and knowledge in air quality, soil remediation, and emergency events. At the same time, Israel can share its resources in areas such as wastewater reuse and management.
"With the signing of this new agreement, we are expanding and strengthening cooperation in the field of climate," Silman said. "As part of implementing the new MOU, we aim to maximize bilateral cooperation in regional activities and promote initiatives and programs with other countries in the region."
Specifically, the MOU includes joint actions and exchanges of knowledge in the areas of climate change mitigation, including greenhouse gas emissions reduction, carbon-neutral economy promotion, and climate change adaptation; water Issues, including wastewater treatment and reuse, protection and restoration of marine environments, and monitoring and repair of rivers; waste management, including policies to combat plastic pollution; soil remediation, including innovative approaches to cleaning and rehabilitating contaminated sites; air quality, including prevention, reduction, monitoring, and modeling.
The MOU also touches on chemical management, radiation protection, noise pollution prevention, and environmental legislation, economics and justice.
Silman left for America on Saturday night. She is one of several ministers who will participate in the United Nations General Assembly and its side meetings, including the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Ambition Summit on Wednesday.
The summit comes only days after the government approved the climate bill, which Silman said she hopes to have passed into law by the Knesset ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28, that begins on November 30 in Dubai.
In addition, Silman will represent Israel in discussions on an international plastics treaty and at an event on food systems organized by Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.