Inspiring International Cooperation for Climate Change at Diplomats Dinner in Bonn

Sunday, November 26, 2017 11:56 AM

JNF KKL Germany hosts diplomats dinner in the framework of the COP23 in Bonn.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held its biennale Conference of Parties (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany from November 6-17. On November 16, JNF-KKL Germany hosted an International Cooperation Diplomatic Dinner in Bonn, which was attended by public officials, diplomats, and representatives of the private sector and NGOs.
The large audience was greeted by JNF-KKL Germany President Sarah Singer, who spoke about the importance of standing together in order to cope with the challenges facing humanity. “One of KKL-JNF’s missions is to share our knowledge with the people who can benefit from it, people who live in countries with difficult environmental conditions,” she said. “However, just sharing that knowledge is not enough, there needs to be a cultural exchange between countries to help train future generations, which is why we place a great deal of emphasis on education. Humanity faces some very serious ecological challenges, and it is my hope that events such as the one we are hosting tonight will help us overcome future obstacles.”
The evening was emceed by Karine Bolton, KKL-JNF Director of International Cooperation, who gave a short review of KKL-JNF’s history and described the organization’s efforts to promote sustainable development in the fields of forestry, water resources, open space management, education, and agricultural research and development. She also screened a short film on KKL-JNF.
Ms. Bolton introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). “We must not forget that 20% of the world’s population lives in drylands,” Ms. Barbut said. “The world population is constantly growing, which means that we need more and more food, but lands are being deserted and abandoned. If they are not rehabilitated, there will be no way that the world will be able to provide enough food in the future.
“No one mentions that right before the war began, Syria suffered five years of its worst drought ever. Over one million farmers were displaced from their lands and moved to Damascus.  If there were suddenly one million farmers in Paris, there would be a revolution there too. 100% of the illegal immigrants in Europe come from countries with arid or semi-arid climates. We must promote sustainability, stability and security, so as to rehabilitate drylands and provide work for those who live on them. KKL-JNF has had huge success in stopping land degradation, and this knowledge is critical for this effort.”
Moshe Pearl, Acting Executive Director of the KKL-JNF Resources, Development and PR Division, greeted the audience on behalf of KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar. “This is the seventh time that we are participating in this conference and we see it as a very important platform for integrating global forces to combat the serious ecological phenomena facing humanity today. KKL-JNF believes in sharing its knowledge with the world. It is our duty to be part of the global effort to combat phenomena such as desertification, lack of water and the global food crisis.
“As an international organization, KKL-JNF participates in forums, organizations and committees which are under the auspices of the United Nations. This past August we were honored to host the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. António Guterres, who planted an olive tree in Jerusalem. We are confident that this evening will stimulate ongoing professional partnerships and help us to build a better world for future generations.”
Additional speakers included Mr. Avi Nir-Feldklein, an envoy of the Israeli embassy; Mr. Gunter Adler, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety; and Rabbi Sergio Bergman, Argentinian Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, who said that although humanity was banished from the Garden of Eden, “we have the possibility of recreating paradise with our own hands.”
At the conclusion of the evening, Ms. Bolton announced that thanks to the event, an agreement had been reached with the representatives of Republic of Zambia to advance an MOU for partnership with KKL-JNF in Zambia’s “One Million Trees” initiative. In the words of the Hon. Jean Kapata, Zambian Minister of Lands and Natural Resources: “We need to change people’s mindsets so that they will grow trees rather than cutting them down, and learn to make a living from beekeeping and sustainable timber. Trees are jobs - if we grow them, we can alleviate poverty. Together with KKL-JNF’s afforestation expertise, I am certain that we can accomplish this task.”