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Voluntary National Review 2019

Harnessing Innovation to Leave No One Behind

Israel is a vibrant, multicultural society, with 9 million inhabitants who speak 35 different languages. Ongoing development is at the heart of Israeli society. Since the establishment of the State, Israel has absorbed waves of immigrants, over 3.2 million, often refugees or penniless. Israel's land-area is 22,072 square kilometers with an average population density of 400 people per square kilometer. Over 90% of the country's population lives in urban areas.

Sustainable development in Israel is not a luxury or a catch phrase – it is vital in order to improve the well-being of present and future generations. This is one of the reasons that Israel attributes great importance to the SDGs and to the processes they engender.

Fueled by a dynamic entrepreneurial spirit, robust technological infrastructure and a highly skilled human workforce, Israel produces solutions in all three pillars of sustainability. Innovation is one of Israel’s most valuable resources and its breakthrough solutions in fields such as communication, internet, medical systems, agriculture, biotechnology, security, water desalination, wastewater treatment and recycling, water management, digital printing and more, have long facilitated sustainable development in Israel and globally. Israel's vision is to continue to nurture its culture of innovation and expand it to all people in need on our planet and to give practical expression to the noble value of leaving no one behind.

To that end, Israel is investing, both domestically and abroad, in innovation to leave no one behind. For instance, the Israel Innovation Authority partnered with several other government entities and created tailor-made R&D support tracks. Examples include the GCI Grand Challenges Program focused on humanitarian health, agritech and water challenges in developing nations, the Assistive Technology for the Disabled Program to improve the quality of life for the disabled and ease their integration into society, and the Diverse Startups Program for ultra-Orthodox and minority entrepreneurs.

As a society with a broad cultural, ethnic and religious mix, the government has to continually search for creative and culturally sensitive ways to provide equal opportunities for all. As the statistical annex to Israel's report shows, there is substantial work yet to be done to close gaps in areas such as employment, income disparity, literacy, and mathematical and ICT technology skills. There is also a need to address the gender gap, for example by increasing personal security and lowering poverty levels for women.

As a recent OECD report shows, Israel's economic growth is strong. The standard of living is on the rise and income inequality is down, but a high percentage of working poor still remains. As a result, major investments are being made to increase workforce skills and education, to encourage entrepreneurship and to create small and medium businesses among low-income groups.

The preparation of Israel's first VNR required intensive scoping and mapping, not least in order to discover the extent and the variety of our cooperation with developing countries on projects that are aligned with the SDGs. These projects, carried out both by our official aid agency and by many other bodies, include disaster relief, setting up field hospitals, introduction of water technologies, and increasing the availability of food and off-grid solar energy solutions to developing countries. Israel is currently working to update its development policy, which will also take into account work on the SDGs.

The Israeli non-governmental sector took part in and actively contributed to the roundtable discussions on the SDGs and the VNR over the past eighteen months. Israel has yet to examine how each sector can implement and use the SDGs to guide their work, as well as how to pursue the ongoing stakeholder engagement process with the government.

Like many other countries, Israel embarked on this process while the institutional arrangements were being developed. Agenda 2030 was presented at the government's Heads of Strategy Forum – a cross-governmental committee led by the Prime Minister's National Economic Council, the body responsible for formulating Israel's strategic economic and social goals. A government decision is currently being prepared to continue the integration of the SDGs into the government's strategic planning and to realize the vision of leaving no one behind through Israeli innovation.

Focal point
Ms. Galit Cohen
Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Ministry of Environmental Protection


Partnerships & Commitments
The below is a listing of all partnership initiatives and voluntary commitments where Israel is listed as a partner in the Partnerships for SDGs online platform.
Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC)

The best opportunity to slow the rate of near-term warming globally and in sensitive regions such as the Arctic is by cutting emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) – most notably methane, black carbon and some hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Widespread reductions, which complement the need for aggressive global action on carbon dioxide, contribute significantly to the goal of limiting warming to less than two degrees. Reducing SLCPs can also advance national priorities such as protecting air quality and public health, promoting food security, enhancing energy efficiency, and allevi...[more]

111 Partners, 50 State and REIO, 16 IGO and 45 NGO partners (as of April 2016). Full list:
Action Network
Sustainable Development Goals
Scholarships for Health

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel is preparing to provide around twenty scholarships over the course of five years) to outstanding candidates from the Caribbean and Pacific regions to attend the International Master of Public Health Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. The scholarship will cover tuition and accommodation for the entire academic year, as well as airfare to and from Israel. Students will gain valuable knowledge in one of the top priority areas for SIDS Countries Public Health and NCDs and will be able to apply that knowledge in their home countries. As ...[more]

(1) MASHAV, The Agency for International Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel; (2) The Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Hadassah; (3) public health authorities in SIDS Countries and regional organizations.
Action Network
Sustainable Development Goals
19 Jul 2018
6 Jun 2017
19 Jul 2016
21 Jun 2012
12 May 2011
12 May 2011
11 May 2011
2 May 2011
13 May 2010
12 May 2010
6 May 2010
5 May 2010
4 May 2010
4 May 2010
3 May 2010
4 May 2009
4 May 2009
15 May 2008
14 May 2008
12 May 2008
9 May 2008
8 May 2008
7 May 2008
5 May 2008
5 May 2008
21 Apr 2005
12 Apr 2005
19 Apr 2004
3 Sep 2002
United Nations