Some of the red tape preventing local environmental issues from being resolved has to do with the fact that national government has too much on its plate. Even in a small country like Israel, local issues can often be seemingly ignored by the national government and municipalities are sometimes powerless to do anything. Over recent years, though, Israel has been granting greater control of environmental issues to the local authorities and following a law passed in 2006, 250 environmental committees have been established all over the country.
The committees met for their first conference last week, titled Democracy and Environmental Under Local Authority in Israel 2010: First National Conference of Local Environment Committees.
According to Naor Yerushalmi, the CEO of Life & Environment (the Israeli Union of Environmental NGOs), the establishment of the local committees laid an important foundation for promoting greater democracy in municipalities, and created a system for dialogue and partnership between the local authority, public representatives, and communities.
The conference, which took place in Tel Aviv, was attended by Gilad Arden (the Minister of Environmental Protection) and many local leaders.
Discussions included the past success stories of local authorities – presented by Naomi Tzur (Deputy Mayor of Planning and Environment in Jerusalem), Yoram Shefer (Chairman of the Environmental Committee in Ashkelon), Alex Weinrab (Deputy Mayor of Modi’in), and Rabbi Mordecai Direnfeld (Chairman of the Environmental Committee in Beit Shemesh).
Image via: Ron Almog
Read more about recent environmental conferences:
Energy Conference in Israel Becomes Arena for Debating Natural Gas Deal with Egypt
Egypt to Re-Think Wastewater Treatment at Upcoming Conference
Israel Shares Strategies for Taking Back the Desert Oasis November 8-11, 2010