Posted Nov 15, 2022, 9:00 AM
“I intend to spearhead the development of what I call a renewable Middle East, a regional ecosystem of sustainable peace,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog said during his speech to the COP27 plenary assembly last week. An intention that already finds a concrete translation.
First, this is the first time that Israel has a pavilion within a COP. Also the first time since 1985 that the Jewish state has taken part in an international conference organized in Egypt. The Israelis therefore came to COP27 in force – around a hundred people for the official delegation and some 700 others for civil society. Last but not least, concrete agreements have been signed between countries, but also between companies.
The most emblematic is the memorandum of understanding, known as the Green-Blue Agreement, between Jordan and Israel, supported by the United Arab Emirates and the United States. On the one hand, Jordan will supply solar energy (green) to Israel, which will supply the Hashemite Kingdom with desalinated water (blue). The principle of this exchange was announced a year ago in Dubai. This time, the two parties undertake to launch calls for tenders.
“This agreement responds to vital needs on both sides, which creates a positive interdependence,” notes Anne Baer, special adviser to the Israeli Ministry of Regional Cooperation on COP27. “On the one hand, Jordan is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. On the other hand, Israel, whose population density is very high, does not have enough available land to install fields of solar panels. This will allow it to meet its commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.”
Contract in green hydrogen
In addition, two regional initiatives have been launched to develop cooperation. One by the Israeli NGO Start-Up Nation Central, which created a Middle East and North Africa Alliance for Climate Innovation. The other by Cyprus, which has brought together nine countries – Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Greece, Bahrain, Oman, the Palestinian Authority, Israel and Lebanon – to form an Eastern Mediterranean Climate Change Initiative and in the Middle East (EMME-CCI).
COP27 was also the occasion for concrete announcements between Israeli companies and other groups in the region: the company H2Pro, which has created a green hydrogen production system, has thus signed a memorandum of understanding with the Moroccan company Gaïa Energy, specialized in the development and exploitation of renewable energies and very well established in Africa. For its part, the Israeli company Aleph Farms, committed to food security and sustainable development, already has an Emirati sovereign wealth fund among its biggest investors, and said it wanted to strengthen its ties with the Gulf country “to put in place concerted solutions promoting regional stabilization”, according to its director, Didier Toubia.