Israel’s big delegation to COP27 hoping to make connections, help climate with tech

Dozens of events will be held at the first Israeli pavilion on Egyptian soil in 37 years, and at other locations within the UN climate change conference’s complex

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter

Illustrative photo of the effects of drought. (piyaset, October 18, 2019, iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative photo of the effects of drought. (piyaset, October 18, 2019, iStock by Getty Images)

Hundreds of Israelis will be attending this year’s COP27 United Nations climate change conference in Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh next month and dozens of Israeli events are planned, many around what will be Israel’s first national pavilion in the global confab’s 27 years.

It is also the first Israeli pavilion of its kind on Egyptian soil since a 1985 business conference in Cairo.

Opening officially on the afternoon of November 7 and starting public events on November 8, the pavilion itself will host some 36 events (chosen out of 60 proposals) connected to climate innovation, according to a briefing Monday by the Environmental Protection Ministry and the Foreign Ministry.

The Foreign Ministry has already begun a pavilion publicity campaign. With on-site seating for just 45 people, the events will also be live-streamed.

The events’ emphasis will be on the needs of developing nations, according to Yuval Laster, head of the Environmental Protection Ministry’s policy and strategy unit.

The pavilion will be located in the conference’s Blue Zone for official badge-holders — ministers, government officials, the media, and other accredited individuals and organizations.

As at all COP conventions, there will also be a Green Zone for exhibits and events run by civil society organizations. These will be attended by an estimated 500 to 600 Israelis who are not part of the official delegation.

Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg talks with green NGOs from Israel attending the COP26 UN climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, November 2, 2021. (Sue Surkes/Times of Israel)

The conference takes place until November 18.

One of the Israeli delegation’s key messages, Laster said, will be that climate innovation is where Israel can make a real global contribution, both toward reducing carbon emissions (mitigation) and helping countries prepare for and cope with the consequences of climate change (adaptation). Another message will be Israel’s keen interest in regional cooperation.

The events will tackle subjects ranging from cooperation, biodiversity and smart transportation to challenges faced by local governments, reaching net zero climate emissions by 2050, and ensuring that the transition benefits all sectors of society.

Multiple bilateral meetings will also take place there.

Israel’s delegation will launch a climate risk map that the Environmental Protection Ministry has been working on for some time. Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg said this would be shared with Israel’s neighbors.

Design for Israel’s pavilion at the UN’s COP26 climate conference in Sharm el Sheikh in November. (Environmental Protection Ministry)

COP27 will also feature Israeli events not connected to the pavilion.

Israel’s main business event for climate technologies will take place on November 8 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. There, the Israel Export Institute will partner with the Economy Ministry’s Foreign Trade Administration, the Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Manufacturers Association to present Israeli solutions in the fields of energy, water scarcity, agriculture and food-tech.

PLANETech, a not-for-profit innovation hub for climate change technologies, will hold an event on November 7 at 8 p.m. at the Domina Hotel next to the conference site, and will also present at the Israeli pavilion on November 8 at 10 a.m.

The Good Food Institute will partner with Brighter Green and FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return) for an event at 4:45 p.m. on November 11. It will present alternative protein innovation at the Smart Food pavilion.

YKCenter will be hosting a Global Financial Solutions Summit in partnership with the UNFCCC’s Global Innovation Hub on November 9 from 10 a.m. to noon, and will hold a presentation at the Israeli pavilion on the same day from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

View of the Old City, Al Mustafa Mosque and the Red Sea at Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt. (ioanna_alexa, January 30, 2020, iStock by Getty images), a weather security platform, will exhibit at the pavilion of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), while Israeli local authorities will hold an event — no date given yet — at the Union for the Mediterranean pavilion.

The Zalul marine conservation organization will be co-hosting cruise and snorkeling tours to explore the stunning coral reefs of the Red Sea and warn about the potentially disastrous impact of oil spills. The focus of concern is a controversial plan to channel Gulf crude oil from the Red Sea through Israel to the Mediterranean port at Ashkelon for transportation to Europe.

More than 100 state leaders are expected to attend COP27.

With Israeli elections scheduled for November 1, it is still unclear whether Prime Minister Yair Lapid will attend. But six ministers have registered to join the official Israeli delegation, along with 14 directors-general of state organizations and dozens of government officials.

The officials will come from the foreign, education, transportation, energy, regional cooperation, finance, innovation, science and technology, and environmental protection ministries, as well as from state organizations such as the electric and water authorities, the Innovation Authority, the Bank of Israel, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Higher Education Council.

Also part of the delegation will be academics, representatives from business and industry, Start Up Nation Central and dozens of startup companies, and representatives of youth groups and local authorities.

At a separate pre-COP27 online briefing on Sunday, Knesset member and veteran environmental campaigner Alon Tal announced that 12 young American Jewish climate activists would also attend the conference as a delegation organized in partnership with the Hazon organization.

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