Print This Post
28 April 2022, Gateway House

Expanding India-Israel climate cooperation

India and Israel have completed three decades of diplomatic cooperation. Their bilateral partnership in the areas of defence and agriculture is successful. Now is a good opportunity to deepen their existing collaboration in defence and agriculture and identify ways to work together on water security, renewable energy and green healthcare.

Fellow, Climate Change

post image

The partnership between India and Israel on agriculture is a success story. With Israel’s support, agricultural centres established in 12 Indian states teach farmers agricultural best practices and intensive farming methods with Israeli technology tailored to Indian conditions. The centres also support India’s aim to increase its forest cover along with farmers’ incomes by intentional intermixing of shrubs and trees, preferably species of economic interest to farmers, in agricultural fields[1]. This practice, known as agroforestry, already covers 13.5 m ha in India and can increase with Israel’s assistance, thereby contributing to India’s agricultural climate resilience.

Water security is intrinsically linked with climate change resilience. Despite, or because of, its aridity, Israel has developed efficient ways of using and reusing water. It can offer solutions for India that depends on ground water for 60% of its irrigation requirements and has depleted the groundwater in 256 of 700 districts[2]. In addition, twenty-one cities, including prominent metropolitan areas, are set to run out of the groundwater on which they rely[3]. Forty percent of Indians will not have access to clean drinking water by 2030[4]. India needs to look at enhancing water circularity and desalination, both areas of Israeli expertise. Israeli technology transfer and capacity building for water recycling, desalination and management is vital for India.

Depletion of ground water is not specific to India. Most South and Southeast Asian countries are running their reserves dry[5]. India and Israel can assist them to develop approaches for community-driven ground water governance and stewardship through regional data access and information sharing, possibly through BIMSTEC and ASEAN.

Innovation and technology development in the renewable energy sector is another area for enhanced collaboration[6]. Like India, Israel has set an ambitious target of renewable energy generation[7]. Although Israel claims to be on track, institutional and technical hurdles persist[8], as they do for India. The two countries can work together to identify common policy, capacity and institutional bottlenecks preventing optimum utilisation of renewable energy[9].

Climate change cooperation could expand and generate spin-offs for other sectors; green hospitals and climate-resilient healthcare infrastructure could be a good starting point. Israel recently pledged to help build green and climate resilient healthcare in India[10]. This support is vital if India is to provide healthcare facilities that can sustain themselves in the wake of weather extremes or calamities. Through this cooperation, Indian medical communities can build their climate change capacities through workshops, seminars and other avenues of knowledge sharing. In addition, climate capacities and infrastructure of vital grassroots healthcare staff and buildings can be strengthened.

The India-Israel relationship could expand to other countries as they offer leadership on climate resilience, green healthcare, river-sharing and water circularity. India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh share numerous rivers and tributaries. India is part of a regional flood information system through ICIMOD[11], while India and Pakistan have adhered to the Indus Water Treaty through the thick and thin of their relationship. India can offer technical know-how on flood mitigation, disaster preparedness, water sharing and may even help Israel and their neighbours to reach water sharing agreements through diplomatic channels.

More than an environmental issue, climate change is a complex socio-economic and geopolitical issue. Israel has only recently acknowledged that climate change threatens its security. Climate refugees displaced due to weather extremes will impact India and Israel significantly. It is important that that the two countries learn from and support each other in the face of climate change. As they do, technological advancements will help cement their global leadership in solar energy, water, and climate resilient healthcare facilities.

Damodar Pujari is Fellow, Climate Change, Gateway House.

This article was exclusively written for Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations. You can read more exclusive content here.

For interview requests with the author, or for permission to republish, please contact outreach@gatewayhouse.in.

© Copyright 2022 Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized copying or reproduction is strictly prohibited. 

References:

[1] https://www.fao.org/forestry/agroforestry/80338/en/#:~:text=Agroforestry%20is%20a%20collective%20name,spatial%20arrangement%20or%20temporal%20sequence.

[2] https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/water/india-s-water-crisis-the-seen-and-unseen-76049#:~:text=With%20the%20changing%20weather%20patterns,Ground%20Water%20Board%20(2017).

[3] https://www.niti.gov.in/sites/default/files/2019-06/Final%20Report%20of%20the%20Research%20Study%20on%20%20Composite%20Water%20Resources%20Management%20Index%20for%20Indian%20States%20conducted%20by%20Dalberg%20Global%20Development%20Advisors%20Pvt.%20Ltd_New%20Delhi.pdf

[4] https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/40-of-indians-will-have-no-access-to-drinking-water-by-2030-niti-aayog-118062500074_1.html#:~:text=With%20nearly%2070%25%20of%20water,and%2016%25%20of%20its%20population.

[5] Groundwater resilience to human development and climate change in South Asia | Global Water Forum

[6] https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-israel-pms-talk-cooperation-in-areas-of-high-tech-innovation-7605051/

[7] https://www.timesofisrael.com/environment-ministry-sets-40-renewable-power-production-goal-by-2030/

[8] https://themedialine.org/life-lines/israel-sitting-on-solar-power-goldmine-struggles-to-meet-green-energy-goals/

[9] https://www.wionews.com/india-news/israel-to-join-india-based-international-solar-alliance-421685

[10] India, Israel to share know-how on building climate resilient infra, green healthcare (moneycontrol.com)

[11] About HYCOS – ICIMOD

TAGGED UNDER: , , , , ,