Development Cooperation between the United Nations and the Israeli Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV)
The Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV is the Hebrew acronym), established in 1958, is a department within the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responsible for designing, coordinating and implementing Israel's international development programmes. Since its inception 40 years ago, fruitful cooperation has been ongoing with over 140 countries/authorities - covering 5 continents - with over 65,000 alumni having participated in skills enrichment courses in Israel, and approximately 75,000 professionals trained in on-site courses in their home countries.
Currently, MASHAV's objective is to cooperate with nations of the world in their struggle to meet the developmental challenges of the 21st century, through the continuation of human enhancement projects. These programmes reflect the goals set forth in the Global Initiative on Sustainable Development, to ensure that the international community do all it can to promote economic self-reliance and develop human and natural resources throughout the developing world.
In support of key UN principles and recommendations, as expressed in various Conventions, Declarations and Programmes, MASHAV's mandate upholds the right of all people to live in dignity - free from poverty - as well as the right to food security, economic sustainability, healthcare, access to education and information, gender equality, the preservation of the earth's natural resources, child welfare and caring for the aged.
In addition to working with government offices, in recent years MASHAV has sought to systematically increase its programming with many UN agencies to expand coordinated and cost-effective human development opportunities throughout the developing world. Only through partnerships and shared strategies can global development priorities be realized.
Though modest in scope, Israel, as a member of the donor community, has been working with many UN agencies on providing developmental assistance through training activities. The following presents an overview of joint UN-MASHAV activities:
I. United Nations Department for Development Support and Management Services (DDSMS)
A Memorandum of Understanding between the DDSMS and MASHAV was signed in November 1994, to meet the priority needs of developing countries and of countries with an economy in transition, regarding institution-building and human resource development, special stress being placed on the need for capacity-building of national authorities.
II. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
In February 1996, a Programme of Cooperation was signed between UNDP and MASHAV to promote technical development programmes. The objective of the Programme is to cooperate in the support of countries wishing to increase the enrichment of human resources as a basic condition for sustainable development.
Joint endeavours include:
Within the framework of the UNDP project in Kikushi, designed to assist in the social rehabilitation of demobilized soldiers - MASHAV consultants were dispatched to the area in 1996-97 to assist in the establishment of a professional centre for agricultural development and small business entrepreneurship.
Since the very first session in Nairobi, Israel has taken part in every meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Desertification (INCD), and contributed to the final text of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD).
In May 1995, Israel hosted a 41/2 day International Symposium on Sustainable Water Management in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions, sponsored by the governments of Israel and Japan, the UNDP and the International Arid Lands Consortium (USA) for participants from approximately 30 countries.
In April 1997, under UN auspices, Israel hosted a three-day expert meeting on "Potential Synergies in the Implementation of the Convention on Combating Desertification and Drought, Biodiversity, Climate Change and the Forest Principles", conducted at the Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
Incubator Management Programme
Aral Sea Area:
- Development of Biological Methods for Reduced Soil Salinity;
- Fish Breeding in Ponds.
Aral Sea Area:
- Agricultural Development Programme: Project Support Centres (PSCs)
Establishment of the Sumgait Investment Centre, Sumgait Zone
Tourism Development Programme
III. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
In July 1996, a Programme of Cooperation was signed between UNESCO and MASHAV, designed to strengthen human resource development and capacity-building in the developing world. During 1997, three courses were conducted at MASHAV extensions in Israel: Distance Learning" (20 participants); and two courses in "Management of Press Enterprise: Development of an Independent Press in Africa" 50 participants).
In 1998, UNESCO agreed to grant fellowships to professionals from developing countries to participate in 14 MASHAV-sponsored courses in Israel. A tailor-made course on the "Application of the Internet" for professionals from the African continent was held in May 1998, and in addition, two Israeli experts will be dispatched to Mali as consultants to a national project entitled "Reinforcement of the Independent Women's Press".
IV. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
In July 1996, an Agreement of Cooperation was signed between the FAO and MASHAV to establish a cooperative mechanism in areas of expertise under the jurisdiction of the FAO: academic exchanges; consultancies and project development. Activities include FAO sponsorship of fellowships for professionals throughout the developing world to study in MASHAV courses in Israel. In April 1998, an on-the-spot course on "Optimum Yield Management in Arid Zones" was conducted in Myanmar.
V. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
A Memorandum of Understanding between UNCTAD and MASHAV was signed in July 1998, to combine their professional and operational resources in support of national and regional development efforts of developing countries and economies-in-transition. By using their expertise in human resources development, the two organizations will undertake joint research and training in the fields of investment, science and technology, and enterprise development.
VI. United Nations Volunteers (UNV)
In July 1997,two Israeli agricultural experts were dispatched to the province of Santiago del Estero, Argentina, as part of the UNV/White Helmet Volunteers. The purpose of their consultative mission was to conduct a study on the "Rural Development: of Surface Water for Human Consumption and Complimentary Irrigation".
VII. UNAVEM (Angola)
After a peace treaty was signed between the warring factions in Angola, putting an end to 20 years of civil war, UN forces were called to keep the peace.
When several soldiers died and 50% of one battalion took ill, Israel offered its assistance; in March 1996, a team of Israeli medical experts traveled to Angola, and prepared a preliminary report on the malaria epidemic effecting the UNAVEM troops serving in the area. Medical assistance and pharmaceutics were administered. and the team advised to UN troops, as well as their accompanying physicians on how they could best avoid becoming infected with malaria.
VIII. United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
Though no formal agreement exists between MASHAV and UNIDO, during the first quarter of 1997, an Israeli agricultural expert participated in a UNIDO-sponsored delegation to the Russian Federation, assigned to study "Upgrading the Agro- and Food Processing Industry".
IX. World Health Organization (WHO)
Although no formal agreement exists with MASHAV, for many years the WHO has been sponsoring training fellowships for professionals from the developing world, allowing them to participate in MASHAV courses in Israel. Israeli experts, working together with regional WHO offices, have also been dispatched to host countries. Additional activities include:
In May 1996, an Israeli medical expert conducted a training course for intensive care unit personnel.
In February 1998, in cooperation with Ben-Gurion University, a course was conducted in cooperation with WHO on "Family Medicine".
Uzbekistan and Kyrghystan
In 1997, a short-term consultant was dispatched to work with the regional WHO office in compiling statistics on health systems in the Central Asian Republics.
X. World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Although no formal agreement exists between the WMO and MASHAV, cooperation in the field of human resource enrichment has been a continuing process. In 1997 alone, four courses were conducted in Israel (120 participants - MASHAV awarded full scholarships), in cooperation with the WMO, and one regional on-the-spot course was held in Nigeria on "Agricultural Meteorology". In addition, MASHAV is an active contributor to the WMOs "Voluntary Cooperation Programme". Israeli experts are also dispatched to various countries in Africa (Kenya, Nigeria, Niger) to take part in regional on-site courses.
XI. United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
No formal agreement has been signed between UNICEF and MASHAV, however, activities have been carried out in cooperation with host country authorities:
In April-May 1996, an Israeli expert was dispatched to the region to prepare a study on establishing a health system for the nomad population in Western Eritrea.
In February 1996, Israeli experts conducted a seminar in Baku on "Health Management".
XII. Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought (CCD)
At the request of the Interim Secretariat of the CCD in Geneva, an Israeli expert will be dispatched to Myanmar during the course of 1998, to support the National Level Activities for the implementation of the CCD (via the Ministry of Forestry).
The International Programme for Arid Land Crops (IPALAC) is an initiative that seeks to share one approach used for improving agricultural productivity in Israel's desert with countries involved in combating desertification and promoting sustainable development in semi-arid and arid regions.
IPALAC's core funding is provided by UNESCO. MASHAV and the FAO contribute funding for specific projects carried out in host countries. In 1998, MASHAV will provide funding for two training courses in Kenya; a symposium in Burkina Faso; a symposium in Senegal; and a workshop/international conference in Israel on"Combating Desertification with Plants". In addition, MASHAV will also be sponsoring a regional course in 1998 on "Date Palm Cultivation" in the Sahel.
The close cooperation programmes developed in the last few years between MASHAV and several United Nations agencies has proven beneficial to countries in development and those with economies in transition. The training programme of MASHAV aims at educating instructors who, upon their return to their countries, will be able to become, in turn, instructors. The Israeli experience particularly suits the needs in development of human resources, placing a special emphasis to enhance cooperation in the fields of food security, rural and agricultural development, primary and secondary health care, special education programmes and institutional building. The worldwide network of UN agencies, combined with MASHAV's experience in the field of "hands on" training and technology transfer, has enabled thousands of men and women to improve their professional skills, thus helping their countries achieve sustainable human development. The joint objective of all cooperation programmes is to strive for the eradication of poverty, while remaining committed to the global efforts towards decent and sustainable living for all.