The FINANCIAL — The Israeli Ministry of Economy has committed $500,000 to the World Bank Group’s Water Global Practice to enhance water knowledge in developing countries facing complex water security challenges.
The agreement will focus on sharing water expertise and industry best practices with developing counties and World Bank Group staff. It will include a number of activities, including study tours that will aim to transfer global knowledge on water security issues, according to the World Bank.
“We are proud to join the prestigious group of countries that contribute to the Bank. It is not that far back that Israel was a borrowing country from the Bank,” said the Israeli Minister of Economy, Mr. Aryeh Deri. “Israel has suffered from a chronic water shortage for years. The need for water led Israel to create innovative and advance policies and solutions that have placed us as a water world leader. We wish to share our experience with the developing world. We see this agreement as a first step that will allow us to launch our partnership with the WB and later to build on it and broaden it.”
Located in one of the driest regions in the world, Israel has been dealing with continuous shortage of water which has worsen over the past few years due to prolonged droughts and an increasing population. To tackle the issue, Israel has developed innovative approaches in addressing this challenge.
“Israel has had to manage water services while operating under extreme scarcity conditions, and has done so very impressively,” said Jennifer Sara, Director for Water at the World Bank. “Its innovative practices are globally recognized – both from technological and institutional perspectives –and will undoubtedly carry lessons for many of the World Bank Group’s clients facing water security challenges.”
Under the agreement, study tours are expected to be held in Israel in the next two years and will include officials from developing countries, as well as World Bank Group staff. In addition, the agreement will include an analytical profile study of Israel’s experience in managing water and transferring of global expertise on water security.
“This is our second agreement with the World Bank. It’s an important step toward enhancing our cooperation with the World Bank. This step strengthens our efforts to support Israeli activities in the developing world and to focus on the water sector led by the national program – Israel NewTech. We hope to create more exposure to Israeli best practices, and we thank the Bank for its partnership,” said Mr. Amit Lang, Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Economy.
The World Bank Group Water Global Practice is currently responsible for the supervision of a portfolio of approximately US$22 billion in lending through 181 projects and about 200 active Knowledge Products, with the largest programs currently in Water Supply and Sanitation followed by Irrigation and Water Resources Management. Annual new lending is expected to be in the range of US$4-5 billion per year. In the last 3 years (2011-2014) World Bank Group activities (IDA+IBRD) helped provide access to over 36 million people with access to improved water sources, and 10 million people with access to improved sanitation services. World Bank Group commitments to developing countries towards sustainable water and sanitation solutions stand to reach an average of 30 million people each year.
Israel is a member country since 1953 and holds 0.32 per cent of World Bank Group shares. It is represented by the Bank of Israel in the shareholders board. The last World Bank loan to the country was provided in 1975, and closed in 1981.