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Cablegate: Israel Hosts Un Deserts and Desertification

VZCZCXRO3588
RR RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB
DE RUEHTV #4927 3600832
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 260832Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8369
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 004927

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV PGOV PREL UN IS
SUBJECT: ISRAEL HOSTS UN DESERTS AND DESERTIFICATION
CONFERENCE


1. Israel hosted a conference on "Deserts and Desertification
-- Challenges and Opportunities" under the aegis of the
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
The conference took place November 6-9 at the Jacob Blaustein
Institutes for Desert Research of the Ben Gurion University
of the Negev. There were about 250 participants from over 30
countries. Conference speakers emphasized the importance of
combating desertification and not deserts, best practices
towards that end, and the opportunities that arid and
semi-arid environments present for supporting human life and
preserving the natural environment.

2. Ambassador Gregroire de Kalbermatten, Deputy Secretary
General of the UNCCD, noted that Israel has a lot to share
with the world related to survival in desert and semi-arid
conditions. That comment was borne out by field trips that
showed off Israeli research and achievements in drylands
agriculture and habitat adaptation. Participants from Africa
were eloquent in both formal presentations and informal
conversations in highlighting how traditional lifestyles and
practices provided opportunities for preserving grazing and
other land uses. The challenges of over population of both
humans and livestock in fragile environments were addressed
by several speakers.

3. Comment: The Challenges and Opportunities Conference
gave Israel a chance to show off its achievements in
reclaiming desert lands, but also afforded opportunity for
significant and substantial exchange among a wide range of
experts and practitioners. Despite political differences,
Israeli research does reach counterparts in Arab countries
through scientific journals and other contact. More
information on the conference can be found at
desertopportunities.org/site/. End comment.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
********************************************* ********************
JONES

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