Knowledge in Service of Humanity
KKL-JNF is the Israel's largest non-governmental organization (NGO) with United Nations status, dealing with land amelioration, water conservation and afforestation. As an NGO, we are committed to enhancing our international cooperation activity by addressing key global issues through mutual networking, knowledge sharing and spreading environmental advances beyond Israel's borders.
Children in KKL-JNF's agricultural village in Rwanda. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
In turn, we are placing more and more emphasis upon our ability to lead, innovate, and create scientific breakthroughs by conducting research.
Our world – class expertise in water resource management and afforestation has earned KKL-JNF its rightful place among the world's leading environmental organizations.
KKL-JNF stands at the forefront of knowledge and technology needed for:
Managing open areas and forests
Developing and implementing advanced methods for harvesting water run-off
Reclaiming rivers and streams
Conserving the land through sustainable agriculture and research
Student group from South East Asia at the 2013 Agricultural Open Day at the Arava R&D. Photo: Tania Susskind
We also see the increased desire from countries with comparable environmental systems to learn from KKL-JNF and we are being approached to assist and work with them. By continuing to offer our professional services through training, seminars and workshops, KKL-JNF is developing wider international contacts and distinguishing itself as a world leader in many fields.
KKL-JNF has consolidated its position as a respected global authority in the areas outlined below. Through painstaking research, forest management and new approaches to sustainable development, KKL-JNF's innovative work has facilitated exchanges between nations, governments and citizens. These contacts promote awareness of the need for nations and peoples to come together to tackle challenges of climate change and sustainable development. As we work with others to address these issues, we reaffirm our shared humanity and build ties of mutual friendship and cooperation.
As a country that is largely arid, Israel has met the challenge of managing desert lands and combating desertification. KKL-JNF is the leading body in this field and is more than willing to share its experience and know-how with its neighbors and with countries around the world.
Just as KKL-JNF lessons are learned from the experience of others, so too does KKL-JNF teach others to use the experience it has accumulated in various spheres. KKL-JNF plays a central role in disseminating this information through its cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture. In December 2008, the three were instrumental in realizing an initiative for an international seminar on the subject of "Combating Desertification."
KKL-JNF also takes part in the ongoing discussions led by the International Arid Land Consortium (IALC) and the Middle East Research Cooperation (MERC).
for more information on the involvement of KKL-JNF in combating desertification.
Afforestation has been a key KKL-JNF activity since our establishment. Today afforestation is set firmly in an ecological context, relating to the need to combat desertification and the fight to cut carbon emissions as part of the struggle against global warming.
KKL-JNF has attained major international status in global frameworks. This reputation is based on the understanding that many of the challenges that KKL-JNF faces in Israel are similar to the problems tackled by many other nations around the world. Organizations, institutions and governments worldwide relate to KKL-JNF as a partner for environmental projects with global ramifications.
KKL-JNF is commited to the promotion of afforestation in various discplines, both in ongoing international relations with other organizations, and as a knowledge-sharing organization promoting research and scientific corporation.
for more information on the international aspects of afforestation.
Jerusalem Park. Photo: Ronit Svirsky, KKL-JNF Jerusalem
The key to life, agriculture, and development, water has been the focus of human concern and endeavor since before Biblical times. Here too, KKL-JNF plays a leading role and takes part in international endeavors to meet the challenge of dwindling supplies and rising demands.
Based on a United Nations Resolution passed in 1992, on March 22 every year, International Water Day is celebrated throughout the world. UNESCO invites all UN members to mark the occasion, and we in Israel are no exception. KKL-JNF sponsors many Water Day events and activities. KKL-JNF views International Water Day as an important opportunity and an example of our ongoing and daily commitment. So far KKL-JNF has established over 220 reservoirs throughout the country and the list is growing. Today, almost 80 percent of our sewage undergoes treatment and we are reclaiming it for agricultural use. KKL-JNF has introduced more water preservation and recycling programs than any other Israeli institution or government body. In a country that has very little water, and suffers from a severe water shortage, we know how important it is to gather this precious resource. Every drop of water is a drop of life.
Our river rehabilitation projects are also restoring life to many of Israel's neglected waterways and restoring their unique flora and fauna. The JNF Australia project of promoting the conservation of the Alexander River in Israel. In 2003, the project won the Thiess Services International River Prize awarded by the International River Foundation which sponsors the Festival.
The Biofiltration Project is a project of JNF Australia, in collaboration with Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. The aim of this project is to apply Australian knowledge and expertise in assisting Israel to harness stormwater runoff, to help replenish the aquifers and provide an additional source of sustainable water utilisation.
Canadian provinces have been invaluable partners in promoting international water initiatives and are the source for projects such as the Oak Hammock Wetlands, the Manitoba-Israel Water Experts Symposium and other important projects.
KKL-JNF has been nurturing the soil and planting trees before anyone had ever heard of sustainable development or global warming, but its core areas of expertise are now acquiring new meaning and attracting international attention.
Israel’s achievements in the sphere of desertification and the global struggle against the climate change are increasingly recognized around the world. At the forefront of these achievements is the Yatir Forest, the largest forest in Israel, which flourishes east of Beersheba in a desert region where the annual rainfall is between 200-250 millimeters each year. The KKL-JNF planted forest and the research station set up there by the Weizmann Institute draw great interest among environment researchers all over the world.
The findings of the ongoing research in the Yatir forest have already been presented at international forums on the environment, particularly at the UN Climate Change Conference
which is held every year in different countries. At this conference, representatives of 189 countries have heard about KKL-JNF’s unique achievements and how they benefit the environment. For the first time, they realized that today Israel is one of the few countries in the world where new forest areas are grown every year.
KKL-JNF participated in the 2002 UN World Summit for Sustainable Development that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa and demonstrated impressive achievements in the fields of combating desertification, developing water resources, ecological forestry and planning open spaces.
On March 26, 2007, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon planted an olive tree at the KKL-JNF Grove of Nations
in the Jerusalem Forest. This planting officially launched KKL-JNF's expanded activities to curb carbon emissions.
Israel has one of the highest ratios of planted forests to natural woodlands (2:1) in the world. It is estimated that KKL-JNF's tree-planting activities have sequestered 110 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere. There are many other areas in which KKL-JNF can make a significant contribution towards reducing global warming and we are ready to take a leadership role. As a multidisciplinary NGO responsible for much of Israel's open spaces, we are in a unique position to develop and take part in cooperative international projects that deal with sustainable development and climate change.
Tel Amal River. Photo: Oved Dror, KKL-JNF Jerusalem
Farming is a vital activity to meet the world’s food needs and to enable the survival of developing and developed nations alike. KKL-JNF focus on promoting sustainable agriculture and on sharing the knowledge that has made Israel bloom with other countries.
KKL-JNF's efforts to share its knowledge internationally generated various cooperations including with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Department of Agriculture of the United States, the Mediterranean Arava Medfly Eradication Project, the Green Revolution in Africa and other such international and regional cooperations
One of the most interesting international projects is now under way in Rwanda, where a model youth village has been set up, with a donation from KKL-JNF Friends in the USA. The aim is to educate youngsters from Rwanda for future leadership, by imparting to them knowledge on many spheres of life mainly on agriculture and the environment.
Farming Project at Genocide Orphans’ Youth Village, Rwanda
KKL-JNF will be establishing agricultural plots, greenhouses and honey-producing beehives adjacent to the Youth Village that the World Joint Distribution Committee is establishing for children orphaned following the Rwandan genocide of 1994. In an effort to contribute to a better future for everyone in Rwanda, and particularly for these young orphans, the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village ("agahozo" means "a place where tears are dried" in the Rwandan language) was established in 2008. The village will eventually become home to 500 youths. Each year, a class of 125 students will graduate from the high school in the village.
KKL-JNF will use this farm to train hundreds of young survivors of massacres in various agricultural fields, and contribute to this unique effort by sharing its agroforestry expertise with them. Once trained, residents of the Village will be able use their new farming expertise to support themselves and will also acquire practical tools that will stand them in good stead when they return to their native villages, helping them to promote agriculture and stamp out poverty.
An initial delegation of KKL-JNF staff toured Rwanda in July 2008, examining soil and environmental conditions and working out which species will be suitable for cultivation at the farm. The list of potential options on the agenda includes the study of cultivation and acclimation methods for different types of fruit tree, including avocado, mango, passion fruit and plum; genetic conservation of the exotic species of fruit native to Rwanda; cultivation of stands of trees for use as fuel for cooking or heating to reduce felling in the forests; and the introduction of beehives for the production of different types of honey from the trees and shrubs planted at the farm, for both local and commercial use.
The traditional beehives used in the Rwandan honey-producing industry yield about 7 kilograms of honey each, whereas modern methods can almost treble this figure. With the help of KKL-JNF Switzerland (in Geneva), as part of KKL-JNF's practical help for the orphans at the village - fifty modern beehives are being established. The emphasis will be on organic honey, an ideal approach from the ecological and commercial standpoint. The project has been approved by Rwanda's Ministry of Natural Resources and will be implemented in cooperation with local experts.
KKL-JNF’s activity will expand into other projects in commercial afforestation as a source of raw materials for industry and above all as a source of fuel for domestic use in a rural area lacking other sources of energy. The Forestry Department of KKL-JNF is a main partner in this assistance project.
Realizing International Projects in Israel
United Nation's Educational and Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
One of the functions of UNESCO is to designate sites of ecological-cultural value for conservation. KKL-JNF has a representative on the Israel World Heritage Committee and we have submitted a proposal to declare the unique KKL-JNF environmental project Hula Lake
Agmon as a National World Heritage Site, as part of a serial nomination of birding sites along the Great Rift Valley.
Owing to its location and role in the semi-annual migration of millions of birds from Europe to Africa and back, the location of Hula Lake at the approximate half-way point of the bird's migration route and KKL-JNF's efforts to provide them with water, food and shelter, have transformed the valley into the heart of a fascinating international phenomenon.
Clean Up the World - Israel
Founded in Australia, the Clean Up the World
event has gained the support of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). In Israel, the event has become the focus for a major educational campaign showing the importance of cleaning our environment. Over 260,000 volunteers from 204 regional councils and communities have joined the project activities in the last couple of years.
Clean Up the World in Israel's cigarette butt campaign in Tel Aviv. Photo: Yoav Devir, KKL-JNF Jerusalem
International Relations in Local Aspects
Planting in the Grove of Nations
The Grove of Nations
was developed in the Jerusalem Forest and serves as the official site where visiting dignitaries are invited to plant a tree in Israel. The Grove of Nations offers world leaders an opportunity to express their solidarity with the Jewish people, with the state of Israel and with nature and the environment. Hundreds of trees have already been planted as a symbol of our common bond with all the nations of the world.
KKL-JNF Environmental Scholarship Program
An initiative of KKL-JNF Australia that promotes the exchange of environmental expertise between Israel & Australia. Since its launch in 2007, the program has facilitated 15 exchange visits between authorities in Australia and Israel.
The Herzliya Conference
KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler moderated a special session on Afforestation and Ecology in January 2008 at the Eighth Annual Herzliya Conference. At this Conference, international leaders and Israeli policy makers meet to assess national security, past and present. Al Gore, a world-renowned international environmental activist, sent a letter of recognition and support of KKL-JNF's new project to plant seven million trees in Israel.
Discussions emphasized the national ramifications of the current environmental crisis, and how the sharing of water sources in our region is a key political factor affecting our relations with our neighbors. It was during this conference that a statement was issued on KKL-JNF's decision to establish an Information Bank aimed at highlighting KKL-JNF further as an organization disseminating its knowledge and valuable expertise to developing countries, thus contributing more to the critical world-wide efforts to combat desertification and the devastating affects of climate change.