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In Dubai, Israel’s climate envoy urges the Arab world: ‘Let us share climate tech’

Ambassador Gideon Behar tells roundtable of ministers from Middle East, North Africa, that Israeli innovations can help them better face climate crisis

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Israel's special envoy on climate change, Ambassador Gideon Behar, at the first-ever UN Middle East and North Africa regional conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 28, 2022. (Sue Surkes/Times of Israel)
Israel's special envoy on climate change, Ambassador Gideon Behar, at the first-ever UN Middle East and North Africa regional conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 28, 2022. (Sue Surkes/Times of Israel)

DUBAI — Israel’s special climate envoy, Ambassador Gideon Behar, told dozens of Middle East and North African ministers on Monday that the country stands ready to share its technology to help its neighbors better withstand climate change.

“We are very willing to cooperate and share,” Behar told a roundtable organized by the UAE’s World Green Economy Organization at the first-ever UN Middle East and North Africa Climate Week, held this week in Dubai.

With less and more irregular rainfall in the region, it is important to move from rain-fed to drip-irrigated agriculture, Behar said. Drip irrigation could even be used to grow rice, and in places where it has never been grown before, helping to strengthen food security worldwide.

Israel has developed technology for precision agriculture, he told the gathered officials.

The Jewish state is also helping solve the main problem of renewable energy — how to store energy for periods when it was dark or cloudy — using compressed air.

Behar also spoke about alternative proteins being developed in Israel, additional tools for enhancing the world’s food security.

A roundtable event for ministers organized by the UAE’s World Green Economy Organization at the first-ever UN Middle East and North Africa Climate Week, held in Dubai, March 28, 2022. (Sue Surkes/Times of Israel).

“Food production is moving from the field to the lab, from the farm to the factory,” he said. “The prices of synthetic meat will soon be cheaper than those of real meat.”

Israel was at the forefront of reforestation and nature-based solutions, Behar continued, planting forests that grow in areas where there is less than 300 mm of rainfall per year.

He also noted that the Volcani Institute, Israel’s national agricultural R&D center, had developed protocols to heavily protect stored grain in silos from pests and molds.

Behar was the only official Israeli representative at the MENA event. Environment Minister Tamar Zandberg led a delegation to an OECD event in Paris instead.

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