Igal Aisenberg, the CEO at Netafim, and I recently returned from the amazing Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs organized this conference as a follow-up to the historic UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that took place 20 years ago. Rio+20 is considered a top-level high-profile conference. Thousands of world leaders, heads of state, government representatives, NGOs, and participants from the private sector and other stakeholders attended the conference.
Netafim and 45 Global Companies Pledge to Make Water Sustainability a Priority
We actively participated in the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum hosted by the UN Global Compact, which aims to strengthen the contribution of businesses to sustainable development globally, and to stimulate broader collaboration between companies, governments, civil society, and the UN.
At this forum, a group of 45 chief executive officers, representing a diverse range of global companies and regions, announced a major commitment to advance corporate water management practices, and called on governments attending the Rio+20 Earth Summit to make global water security a top priority.
In a special communiqué carrying the names of all 45 CEOs, the business leaders highlighted the urgency of the global water crisis, calling on governments to step up their efforts and work more actively with the private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders.
The CEOs – all of whom are endorsers of the Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate – outlined a range of public policy actions that they believe governments should undertake to make meaningful progress on water and better leverage the resources and capabilities of the international business community.
Igal Aisenberg was chosen to present this major commitment both at a special press conference at the forum, and during the final plenary session of the meeting.
He also committed Netafim and the other companies to promote water management practices. This included a pledge by Netafim to train and assist farmers throughout India and Brazil in irrigation, water solutions, and greenhouses.
Rio+20 Side Events Focus on Water Solutions
There were many side events and presentations during the conference, where I had many opportunities to present Netafim’s revolutionary drip irrigation, and how it has contributed to the welfare of the world.
At a session discussing transformational partnerships for food, nutrition, and development, I presented Netafim’s numerous projects with smallholders. And at the Water and Peace session, I told the audience about our work in conflict and disaster zones, such as Japan, Afghanistan, and Eastern Africa.
I participated in the USDA seminar on agricultural innovations and their influence on future development. There, I lectured on Netafim’s innovative irrigation technologies, and told them about our successful implementations of drip irrigation in many countries in the developing world.
I also participated in a panel hosted by GE Water and led in a most interesting way by Dr. Simon Zadek from Switzerland. I spoke about innovative management tools and technologies that can be implemented to improve resource efficiency and water reuse. People usually appreciate Israel’s achievements in water reuse, but some of the facts that I presented (85% of our wastewater is treated and reused, 60% of our irrigation water is recycled wastewater) really impressed them. No other country matches this accomplishment!
I felt very proud to be a Netafim representative. I believe that we have built a good name for Netafim, a result of hard work of many people in the last 45+ years. Our knowledge and experience in drip irrigation is appreciated. Yet, there is a lot to do if we want to leave a better world for our children.