KKL-JNF at the International Wood Fair in Klagenfurt, Austria

Thursday, September 06, 2012 3:00 AM

From August 30 to September 2, KKL-JNF joined representatives of commercial companies from all over Europe at the International Wood Fair in Klagenfurt, Austria. The focus of the fair was on timber production and forest management.

The KKL-JNF delegation included KKL-JNF Emissary to Switzerland Jariv Sultan, International Projects, Conference and Events Coordinator Karine Bolton Laor, KKL-JNF Forester Shalom Derri, and KKL Austria representative Lotte Meczes.
The fair was the first of its kind that KKL-JNF participated in, at the initiation of Dr. Ulrich Habsburg-Lothringen, a descendent of the Austrian Imperial family who is chairman of the Carinthian chapter of the Austrian-Israeli Friendship Association and long time supporter of KKL-JNF Austria.  Dr. Hapsburg-Lothringen, along with the Israeli Ambassador to Austria, H.E. Aviv Shir-On, encouraged KKL-JNF to participate in the fair, in order to open up a new market for cooperation with Israel.

L-R: Lotte, Heidi, and Jariv at the KKL-JNF Booth.
Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Karine Bolton, Shalom Derri and Lotte Meczes manned a KKL-JNF booth at the fair, which attracted a diverse range of visitors. Examples of visits included a Bosnian forester, who expressed interest in bringing a governmental delegation to Israel for a professional visit and possibly a seminar. The PM of Bosnia had recently returned from Israel and had expressed interest in improving cooperation. The KKL-JNF booth also had visitors from Slovenia and Italy with similar interests, who mentioned that due to climate change, their counties were beginning to face environmental challenges similar to those in Israel, and that they could benefit from KKL-JNF experience and knowledge.
An interesting development that occurred over the course of the fair was that Holtzkurier, the leading Timber and Forestry publication in Austria, interviewed Jariv Sultan on KKL-JNF activities.  What impressed the journalist the most, beyond the plethora of activities that KKL-JNF does, is that the organization is first and foremost an NGO, rather than a government forest service. He was also impressed with the scope of KKL-JNF's international cooperation efforts, and the reputation of KKL-JNF in the international arena.
KKL-JNF Presentation
On September 2, in the presence of H.E. Aviv Shir-On, Israeli Ambassador to Austria, KKL-JNF held a presentation titled Afforestation Methods in Arid and Semi Arid Regions.  Karine Bolton opened the session with a brief introduction to KKL-JNF. Jariv Sultan presented arid land forestry techniques and Shalom Derri gave a presentation on Mediterranean forestry management.

Booth visitors. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

The presentation engendered lively discussion with many questions after the session.  The event was summed up by Ambassador Shir-On's closing remarks:
"Israel is known as a place where miracles happen.  The fact that Israeli know-how and innovation, embodied by KKL-JNF, is presented today at a professional Timber Fair is a miracle in itself".
Ambassador Shir-On thanked Dr. Habsburg-Lorthrin gen, KKL-JNF and the Israeli Friendship Society for making this presentation happen, and for assisting the State of Israel in its efforts to share its goodwill.
The director of the Messe Platze, the organization who hosted the fair, thanked the KKL-JNF delegation for participating. He welcomed KKL-JNF's presence as a significant step, as an International NGO promoting awareness of sustainable forestry.  He expressed amazement at the activities KKL-JNF is carrying out around the world, and said that he hoped KKL-JNF would be back next time.