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Emerging Strategies for Action

The scenarios were tested against the realization of the vision through a kinf of a 'wind tunnel' process. During this test, barriers that could make realization of the vision difficult were identified, and ideas were proposed as strategies for action to confront these difficulties. Similarly, during this process, opportunities were also identified that make realization of the vision possible. The strategies constitute "road maps" for moving towards the desired vision, realizing the opportunities which could be gained and reducing the risks which could be prevented.

Strategies can be prescriptive, descriptive or a combination of both. Whilst there are specific strategic measures which relate to individual scenarios, it is possible to identify 'robust' strategies which are relevant to all the scenarios.

An initial definition of the robust strategies identified 9 directions, which would require collaboration between actors in government, the private sector and civil society. The strategies focused on:

  1.  promotion of innovation

  2.  risk management

  3.  non-material values for social status

  4.  strengthening communities

  5.  expanding the concept of security to include social and environmental security

  6.  ecouraging the dispersal of population to centers on peripheral areas

  7.  promotion of leadership with responsibility for future generations

  8.  promotion of long term integrated approach combining economy, society and environment

  9.  development of assessment systems which combine environment, wellbeing and resilience

 


Attention is now being focused on 5 strategic directions which could be promoted by the Ministry of Environmental Protection together with other leaders. Each of the following strategic directions will be investigated and reviewed by an expert to identify what to promote, how it could be best promoted and who are the actors who need to be involved in achieving its promotion.

Eco-innovation

Israel has achieved a world renowned level of innovation in water conservation in agriculture and has focused more recently on promoting renewable energy technology. However, the potential for clean tech and the importance of being at the front line of technological and non-technological innovation for resource management offers a potential not yet realized. Promotion of innovation in relation to biotechnology has received considerable attention and indicates that a comprehensive approach combining multiple actors and actions  needs to be developed which recognizes the stages of the process of bringing innovation from the research stage to marketing a commercial product. Insights gained from the review of biotechnology will be applied to promoting eco-innovation.

De-materialization of consumption

A crucial issue in the global environmental discourse relates to the urgent need to reduce the currently unsustainable level of the use of resources. Consumption patterns currently drive a highly intensive exploitation of resources, whether domestic or imported. As a country with a very limited resource base, Israel is highly dependent on imports and therefore highly exposed to any risks in global resource supplies or the manufactured products on which they are based. It is therefore clearly in its interests to be an active partner in seeking how consumption patterns in a relatively high income country can be decoupled from the demand for materials. Directions may include promoting the replacement of products by services through innovative business models, and the replacement of individual ownership by collective ownership. A further direction may be the encouragement of non-material consumption within societal norms to replace an emphasis on physical products as social status symbols.

Resilience

Israel has demonstrated high levels of resilience in relation to security and financial risks but not in relation to social and environmental risks. Megatrends around the world indicate that risks will intensify and may affect not only energy supply but also water and food supply and mineral resources, the increasing risks resulting from climate change and dependence on global markets for imports and exports carries a high level of risk. Trends in Israel indicate that although risks concerning water and energy may have been reduced, increasing risks concerning many other factors are intensifying. Preparedness often relates more to coping with after effects rather than risk prevention and reduction.

Urban vitality

Urban lifestyles are far more sustainable than those of diffuse rural settlement, in terms of the use of land, energy and water. They are also centers of innovation by enabling the sporadic, unplanned and unexpected linkages, networks and contacts between people of different professional and academic backgrounds. An essential element in the role of urban communities in promoting connectivity, inclusiveness and community engagement is the functioning of the areas of public space within the city. Trends towards enclosure through 'gated communities' create barriers and prevent opportunities for connectivity. Trends towards strengthening urban vitality through the design and opportunities for activity in urban open spaces could be seen as supporting opportunities for innovation, resilience, community engagement and sustainable lifestyles.

Integrated resource management

Whilst land and water have been subject to national management in Israel (in contrast to countries around the world), resource management has not been subject to a coherent set of policies but managed individually in relation to each resource. Consequently there are different management systems and principles relating to mineral resources (such as phosphates or oil shales), to aggregates for construction, to Dead Sea minerals, to natural water sources used for marketing bottled water and to offshore natural gas fields. The lack of consistency demonstrates a lack of basic principles of sustainability for resource management which could then be interpreted according to individual cases. It also demonstrates that only the direct economic benefits of resource extraction are considered, without due consideration to future generations or to the values of ecological system services, environmental costs of damage or depletion and the distribution of costs and benefits between sectors of society..

 

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