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KKL-JNF Sharing Knowledge about Adaptation to Global Warming
The globe is warming and KKL-JNF has taken upon itself to share the knowledge and experience accumulated over the past century in Israel's arid and semi-arid areas in the fields of afforestation

By Dr. Orr Karassin

The globe is warming and KKL-JNF has taken upon itself to share the knowledge and experience accumulated over the past century in Israel's arid and semi-arid areas in the fields of afforestation, water and land reclamation and agriculture. Adaptation to climate change is the major issue at the COP 15 conference and will become an ever-growing issue as the world climate continues to change. It is now anticipated that the shared vision of the COP15 will commit the world to warming of 1.5º to 2º! Under such conditions it is expected that various parts of the world will experience reduced precipitation and recurring drought. Tree planting with local cooling effects and positive impacts on avoiding soil erosion, as well as livelihood production are one of the major strategies worldwide to increase resilience to climate change especially in developing counties. KKL-JNF has sent five representatives to the conference, Avi Dickstein, Yitzhak Moshe, Judith Strasser, David Brand, headed by Dr. Orr Karassin KKL-JNF Member of Board of Directors and expert on environmental and climate change policy.

In the week of the conference KKL-JNF set up a booth at the main exhibition hall to promote international cooperation and technology sharing, which created overwhelming interest from representatives of many counties, impressed by KKL- JNF accomplishments, in creating partnerships and receiving information. Africans, Indians, Bangladeshi facing similar climate challenges expressed an interest in implementing Israeli know-how in adapting to their changing semi arid environments. ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability requested to explore future cooperation possibilities with KKL-JNF in their African Projects. A Gambia TV crew, amazed by KKL-JNF's achievements, interviewed Yitzhak Moshe, Deputy Director of KKL-JNF Southern Region and David Brand, Director of Forestry and Research. They explained dry land afforestation techniques and the many trials and errors that Israeli afforestation management underwent before achieving its current success.

Michael Lavendire, Forestry Officer FAO Eastern Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, requested to visit Israel to study firsthand particularly dry land afforestation as Ethiopia seeks to adapt KKL-JNF technologies in Ethiopia. This interest in adaptation is fueled by both the growing need and also by promises of commitment by world leaders to fund adaptation in developing counties. George Sores a world economic leader has called for an adaptation fund of ten billion dollars and it seems that his challenge will be accepted by developed counties who have already committed billions towards adaptation.

Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate who raised serious concerns about funding carbon reducing projects in developing countries, instead called for swift action to finance adaptation. KKL-JNF identifies with this message - providing livelihood in arid conditions through agriculture has been at the core of its work.

During the formal Side-Event organized by the State of Israel, Yitzhak Moshe emphasized that KKL-JNF is offering techniques in afforestation and water-harvesting that can be implemented easily all over the world, even in the least developed countries. "Our goal is to leverage climate change risks and turn them into opportunities, creating advantages for developing counties through adaptation and development. When rain falls in short showers or bursts, the information on harvesting run-off water can make all the difference between a starving and a healthy community."

Such information will become increasingly important as extreme weather conditions are expected to increase and "it is becoming more difficult to predict future meteorological conditions as the past is no longer a good indicator for future patterns" said Michel Jarraud, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization. This means that adaptation must depend on the resilience of communities to climate changes or the reduction of existing vulnerability. KKL-JNF hopes to take an increasing role in this global effort.

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