PDF

Sixth National Report

submitted on: 02 Nov 2020   last updated: 03 Jan 2021

Section I. Information on the targets being pursued at the national level

Israel

National Target 01. Increasing Public awareness: By 2020, public awareness to the existence values of biodiversity, its contribution to human wellbeing, and public action towards biodiversity conservation and sustainable use - will be increased.

All the national targets were formulated in accordance with Aichi Targets, and adapted to the Israeli circumstances. All the national targets still require official approval by the government.

Israel vision is that by 2040, biodiversity in Israel will flourish and become respected by the public for its own value and its importance to human well-being, thus it will be protected, restored and managed sustainably for the benefit of present society and future generations. This will be achieved by stopping the deterioration of biodiversity, ecosystem services and natural assets, through adopting sustainable development principles by 2025.

This national target focuses on mainstreaming the importance of biodiversity and its benefits across society.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T1. Awareness of biodiversity values
 
Aichi-T4. Use of natural resources
Aichi-T6. Sustainable fisheries
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T9. Invasive Alien Species
Aichi-T17. NBSAPs
Aichi-T19. Biodiversity knowledge

National Target 02. Action plan: By 2017, Israel will develop, adopt as a policy instrument, and commence the implementation of an effective, participatory, and updated national biodiversity strategy and action plan.

A biodiversity strategic plan was approved by the Environmental Protection Minister in 2010. This national target focusses on the preparation of the conceptual framework and the actual steps required to achieve this vision, in line with the strategic plan and with the Aichi Targets.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T17. NBSAPs
 
Aichi-T1. Awareness of biodiversity values
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
Aichi-T3. Incentives
Aichi-T4. Use of natural resources
Aichi-T5. Loss of habitats
Aichi-T6. Sustainable fisheries
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T8. Pollution
Aichi-T9. Invasive Alien Species
Aichi-T10. Vulnerable ecosystems
Aichi-T11. Protected areas
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
Aichi-T13. Agricultural biodiversity
Aichi-T14. Essential ecosystem services
Aichi-T15. Ecosystem resilience
Aichi-T19. Biodiversity knowledge
Aichi-T20. Resource mobilization

National Target 03. Incorporation in governmental policy: By 2025, considerations of biodiversity conservation and of its benefits will be incorporated in the policies of relevant ministries and authorities, the planning system and local governance.

This national target focuses on the implementation of the NBSAP policy and principles in all relevant ministries and administrations, at all levels – national, regional, and local.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
 
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
Aichi-T3. Incentives
Aichi-T4. Use of natural resources
Aichi-T5. Loss of habitats
Aichi-T6. Sustainable fisheries
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T8. Pollution
Aichi-T9. Invasive Alien Species
Aichi-T10. Vulnerable ecosystems
Aichi-T11. Protected areas
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
Aichi-T13. Agricultural biodiversity
Aichi-T14. Essential ecosystem services
Aichi-T15. Ecosystem resilience
Aichi-T17. NBSAPs
Aichi-T19. Biodiversity knowledge
Aichi-T20. Resource mobilization

National Target 04. Economic incentives: By 2025, economic incentives that harm biodiversity will be significantly reduced, and positive incentives to protect biodiversity and its sustainable use will be implemented.

This national target focuses on restructuring the economic incentives, so as to reduce their (mostly unintended) negative consequences for biodiversity and promote biodiversity-positive economic activity.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T3. Incentives
 
Aichi-T4. Use of natural resources
Aichi-T5. Loss of habitats
Aichi-T6. Sustainable fisheries
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T8. Pollution
Aichi-T14. Essential ecosystem services
Aichi-T20. Resource mobilization

National Target 05. Green Growth and its implementation in the business sector: By 2020, the governmental resolution on Green Growth will be implemented, and biodiversity considerations will be incorporated in the business sector, so that use of natural resources will be within safe ecological limits.

This national target specifically focuses on the business sector, recognizing the central role it needs to play in promoting sustainability and biodiversity conservation.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T4. Use of natural resources
 
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
Aichi-T3. Incentives
Aichi-T5. Loss of habitats
Aichi-T6. Sustainable fisheries
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T8. Pollution
Aichi-T9. Invasive Alien Species
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
Aichi-T19. Biodiversity knowledge
Aichi-T20. Resource mobilization

National Target 06. Knowledge base: By 2020, the scientific knowledge base related to the various aspects of biodiversity, including ecosystem services, will be expanded and improved, and so will the national monitoring system, the accessibility to information and its assimilation in the management of biodiversity and in decision making.

This national target is one of the key tool for successful implementation of the NBSAP – knowledge. All other national targets depend on reliable, updated and comprehensive data and its analysis, in order to be accomplished.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T19. Biodiversity knowledge
 
Aichi-T1. Awareness of biodiversity values
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
Aichi-T4. Use of natural resources
Aichi-T5. Loss of habitats
Aichi-T6. Sustainable fisheries
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T8. Pollution
Aichi-T9. Invasive Alien Species
Aichi-T10. Vulnerable ecosystems
Aichi-T11. Protected areas
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
Aichi-T13. Agricultural biodiversity
Aichi-T14. Essential ecosystem services
Aichi-T15. Ecosystem resilience
Aichi-T17. NBSAPs
Aichi-T20. Resource mobilization

National Target 07. Reduced land-use change of open landscapes: By 2025, the rate of conversion of natural habitats and all open landscapes will be reduced by half, reducing new low-density housing construction, and conversion of agricultural land to constructed areas.

Reduction in natural habitats and open spaces Healthy ecosystems require landscapes that are large enough to support their function and resilience. The aim of this national target is to make sure that the diverse Israeli ecosystems will remain large enough to support their structure and function in a sustainable way.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T5. Loss of habitats
 
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
Aichi-T4. Use of natural resources
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T11. Protected areas
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
Aichi-T14. Essential ecosystem services
Aichi-T15. Ecosystem resilience

National Target 08. Fisheries: By 2020, fishing in the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea will be sustainable, avoiding overfishing and damage to protected natural assets, endangered species and marine ecosystems.

The two leading threats for marine biodiversity are overfishing and pollution. This national target focuses on the former. Until recently, both commercial and recreational fishing were not sustainably managed. This target aims to transform fishing into a sustainable sector. As most of the Israeli Red Sea waters are protected, and because Israel's national target 13 deals specifically with the Red Sea coral reefs, national target 8 deals only with the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee.

EN
Level of application
Sub-national
Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea.
EN
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T6. Sustainable fisheries
 
Aichi-T1. Awareness of biodiversity values
Aichi-T3. Incentives
Aichi-T4. Use of natural resources
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions

National Target 09. Forest management: By 2020, planted forests will be sustainably managed according to the new forest management policy of the body in charge of afforestation.

In the last decades, Israel underwent large scale afforestation. Hence, this national target focuses on a specific issue – planted forests management, mostly managed by KKL-JNF, the body in charge of afforestation.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
 
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
Aichi-T5. Loss of habitats
Aichi-T9. Invasive Alien Species
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
Aichi-T15. Ecosystem resilience

National Target 10. Agriculture: By 2020, agricultural areas (including mariculture) will be managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity.

This national target focuses on the agricultural sector. In Israel, agriculture is a major land use, directly effecting biodiversity of many ecosystems.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
 
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
Aichi-T3. Incentives
Aichi-T4. Use of natural resources
Aichi-T5. Loss of habitats
Aichi-T6. Sustainable fisheries
Aichi-T8. Pollution
Aichi-T9. Invasive Alien Species
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
Aichi-T13. Agricultural biodiversity
Aichi-T14. Essential ecosystem services
Aichi-T20. Resource mobilization

National Target 11. Pollution Reduction: By 2025, pollution of the sea and wetlands by hazardous materials and surplus of nutrients will be reduced to levels that are not detrimental to the function of ecosystems and biodiversity.

This national target focuses on the ecosystems for which pollution is identified as one of the most critical direct pressures on biodiversity in Israel.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T8. Pollution
 
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
Aichi-T3. Incentives
Aichi-T4. Use of natural resources
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T10. Vulnerable ecosystems
Aichi-T15. Ecosystem resilience
Aichi-T19. Biodiversity knowledge

National Target 12. Invasive species: By 2020, broad legislative measures will be developed and implemented to prevent introduction of invasive alien species to Israel. Regarding existing invasive species, a prioritization list for treatment will be established and implemented.

In Israel, invasive species adversely affect terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems. Yet, considerable gaps in the legislation on alien species introduction have been identified, and national-scale prioritization for treatment of existing invasive species is lacking. This target aims to minimize the impact of invasive species on biodiversity and ecosystems.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T9. Invasive Alien Species
 
Aichi-T1. Awareness of biodiversity values
Aichi-T3. Incentives
Aichi-T4. Use of natural resources
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
Aichi-T14. Essential ecosystem services
Aichi-T15. Ecosystem resilience
Aichi-T19. Biodiversity knowledge

National Target 13. Coral reef of Eilat: By 2020, the anthropogenic stresses on the coral reefs in the Gulf of Eilat will be reduced.

Israel’s coral reefs in the Gulf of Eilat (also known as the Gulf of Aqaba), along the coast of the Red Sea are in the northern hemisphere limit of coral reef distribution and hence are of global importance. Yet, they are located adjacent to a substantial urban and tourist area and the port of Eilat, thus exposing that fragile ecosystem to various anthropogenic stresses.

EN
Level of application
Sub-national
Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba, Red Sea shore only.
EN
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T10. Vulnerable ecosystems
 
Aichi-T4. Use of natural resources
Aichi-T6. Sustainable fisheries
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T8. Pollution
Aichi-T10. Vulnerable ecosystems
Aichi-T11. Protected areas
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
Aichi-T15. Ecosystem resilience

National Target 14. Protected area representativeness: By 2025, representativeness of the protected areas in Israel will be improved so that all the natural terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems will have a viable protected area.

This target was derived from Aichi target 11, however since Israel harbours a wide diversity of ecosystems over a small area and the ecosystems range widely in their size, it was concluded that setting a single numerical representativeness target might be insufficient, especially for ecosystems with small total areas.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T11. Protected areas
 
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
Aichi-T5. Loss of habitats
Aichi-T10. Vulnerable ecosystems
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
Aichi-T13. Agricultural biodiversity
Aichi-T14. Essential ecosystem services
Aichi-T15. Ecosystem resilience

National Target 15. Connectivity: By 2020, ecological connectivity between protected areas will be improved by ecological corridors, wildlife passages and other measures.

This target was derived from Aichi target 11, as a complementary step to the previous national target (#14), regarding steps that will ensure the viability of Israel’s important ecosystems. Since fragmentation is a major threat to Israel ecosystems, and might also affect inter-continental connectivity, it was decided to dedicate a separate goal to connectivity.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T11. Protected areas
 
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
Aichi-T5. Loss of habitats
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
Aichi-T13. Agricultural biodiversity
Aichi-T15. Ecosystem resilience

National Target 16. Management: By 2020, protected areas will be managed by the adaptive management approach, based on best and up-to-date available scientific knowledge, derived from ongoing research and long-term monitoring.

This target refers to the actual management of protected areas, and the means to ensure their sustainable future. As this is a broad target, it directly refers to several Aichi targets, as detailed in Section II, National Target 16.


EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T11. Protected areas
 
Aichi-T9. Invasive Alien Species
Aichi-T10. Vulnerable ecosystems
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
Aichi-T13. Agricultural biodiversity
Aichi-T14. Essential ecosystem services
Aichi-T15. Ecosystem resilience
Aichi-T19. Biodiversity knowledge

National Target 17. Endangered species: By 2020, the status of threatened and unique species including endangered species, endemic species, species at the periphery of their distribution range and key species for ecosystems, will be improved.

This target was derived from Aichi target 12, regarding the necessary steps required to improve the condition of endangered and sensitive species.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
 
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
Aichi-T4. Use of natural resources
Aichi-T5. Loss of habitats
Aichi-T6. Sustainable fisheries
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T9. Invasive Alien Species
Aichi-T10. Vulnerable ecosystems
Aichi-T11. Protected areas
Aichi-T13. Agricultural biodiversity
Aichi-T15. Ecosystem resilience
Aichi-T19. Biodiversity knowledge

National Target 18. Restoration of ecosystems: By 2025, restoration of wetlands in critical state, including streams and winter ponds, will be accomplished, and the restoration of underrepresented ecosystems– will become a standard management routine.

This target directly refers to Aichi targets 14 and 15, regarding the restoration of degraded ecosystems. Its successful implementation depends on many other targets, such as sustainable management of agriculture and forests, pollution minimization and containment of invasive species. Upon its successful implementation, a significant contribution to other Aichi targets, such as the conservation of important ecosystems that are currently under-represented in Nature Parks, and improvement in the condition of endangered species- will also be achieved.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T14. Essential ecosystem services
Aichi-T15. Ecosystem resilience
 
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
Aichi-T5. Loss of habitats
Aichi-T6. Sustainable fisheries
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T10. Vulnerable ecosystems
Aichi-T11. Protected areas
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions

National Target 19. Genetic diversity: By 2025, the genetic diversity of all local wild relatives of cultivated species, and of socio-economically or culturally valuable species, will be conserved.

This target directly refers to Aichi target 13, regarding the genetic diversity conservation of wild relatives of domesticated species, as well as species of economic and cultural value.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
Aichi-T13. Agricultural biodiversity
 
Aichi-T2. Integration of biodiversity values
Aichi-T7. Areas under sustainable management
Aichi-T12. Preventing extinctions
Aichi-T19. Biodiversity knowledge

Section II. Implementation measures, their effectiveness, and associated obstacles and scientific and technical needs to achieve national targets

National Target 01– Increasing public awareness

The Main national organizations that promotes public awareness for biodiversity are the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) and the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP). Much of the public awareness efforts are led by NGOs as well as academic institutions. Other Governmental offices and institutions such as the Israel Land Authority (ILA) and The Ministry of Construction and Housing (MoCH) have been promoting Biodiversity public. In recent years, local municipalities have contributed too. We have divided the efforts in this national target to those aimed at decision makers and professionals, and to the general public.

Awareness among decision-makers and professionals:

Conferences, workshops, and lectures: Biodiversity, open landscapes and ecosystem services workshops for professionals, stakeholders and decision makers are conducted by the INPA, various NGOs and Academic institutions. INPA conducts various annual conferences focusing on Nature Conservation for example Nature Conservations and Ecological Corridors in Open Spaces (2019).   

The Open Landscape Institute (OLI) holds 3 workshops and 5 lectures annually on open landscapes, The Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences (ISEES) holds an bi-annual science and environment conference for over 800 scientists, professionals, policy makers and general public participants, and with an annual average of 60 lectures related to biodiversity. The ISEES also holds a few annual science communication workshops that give scientists applied tools for effectively transferring their knowledge to varied audiences, and especially to decision-makers.

A few workshops for policy makers were conducted on the subject and 2 big conferences were held for public engagement and distribution of the activities and its benefits. In May 2019, MoEP held the first National Urban nature Conference intended for professionals in Local Authorities, for the purpose of implementation of Urban Nature Surveys.   

Media: Between 2015-2019, the ISEES's science and environment news agency Zavit, published over 500 articles, videos and interviews related to biodiversity, in many Israeli news media outlets (newspapers, online news websites, TV, radio) and in social media. Between 2017-2019, Israel Marine Mammal Research & Assistant Center (IMMRAC) volunteers, gave 105 interviews to the television, radio, and newspapers.

Campaigns: The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) initiated “The Blue Half” campaign, that among other things, promotes the establishment of marine nature reserves in the Israeli Mediterranean Sea, and promotes a reform in the Israeli fisheries industry.

Scientific journals and papers: The ISEES is publishing the Science and Environmental Policy peer reviewed journal- Ecology & Environment. Between 2015-2019, the journal published over 300 articles, of which almost 50% dealt with different aspects of biodiversity. The journal's audience is comprised of scientists and professionals, but also policy makers and the general public.

Awareness among the general public:

All the organizations mentioned bellow maintain various online platforms:

Museums and visitor centers: The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History (SMNH), Israel's 1 large-scall natural history museum, opened to the public in Tel Aviv during 2018. The museum presents biodiversity issues to the public, and hosted almost 300,000 visitors (families, pupils, guided groups) in its first 1.5 years of operation (over 3% of the country's population). The SMNH precursor, the Nature Campus in Tel Aviv University, includes the Meier Segal's Garden for Zoological Research and the Botanic Gardens. It is hosting about 11,000 visitors annually. The IMMRAC established the ‘Dolphin & Sea Center’ in the city of Ashdod during 2016. It hosts 10,000 visitors annually, especially from kindergartens and elementary schools. The Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, KKL-JNF) operates 5 Field and Forest Educational Centers throughout Israel that aim at fostering the bond between young people and Israel’s nature, landscapes, history, and heritage. The SPNI is running 5 visitors centers, and 12 'Field schools'. The latter provides accommodation and environmental education activities in nature for schools and for the general public. The INPA manages 14 visitor and educational centers throughout Israel.

Campaigns: The SPNI initiated “The Blue Half” campaign, that among other things, developed a dedicated public reporting application: “Sea Watch”, where people can report on marine hazards and illegal activities: fishing/selling of protected species, marine waste, abandoned fishing nets, injured marine mammals/sea turtles, invasive species and sewage spills. The reports are transferred to the relevant authority: INPA, MoEP or the local municipality. Sea Watch web site reports on 8,690 downloads, 1,100 reports, of these: 513 illegal fishing, 14 abandoned nets that were removed, and 15 enforced cases that were treated following the reports. The IMMRAC initiated several advertisement campaigns between 2017-2019. 250,000 unique users were exposed to the IMMRAC video contents, followed by a boost in the number of visitors in its ‘Dolphin & Sea Center’. The INPA initiated a national biodiversity campaign in 2016, and the SPNI initiated an anti-invasive species campaign in 2017.

Conferences, workshops, and lectures: Biodiversity, open landscapes and ecosystem services workshops for the general public are conducted by various NGOs. The ISEES holds an annual science and environment conference with an annual average of 800 scientists, professionals, policy makers and general public participants, and with an annual average of 60 lectures in the conference that are related to biodiversity. The INPA conducts an annual "Nature Week" for the general public during the spring. The SPNI holds a wide range of workshops and lectures for the public on topics such as: Ecological Corridors, Urban Nature, and celebrating 60 years of Nature Conservation.

Media: Between 2015-2019, the ISEES's science and environment news agency Zavit, published over 500 articles, videos and interviews related to biodiversity, in many Israeli news media outlets (newspapers, online news websites, TV, radio) and in social media. Between 2017-2019, IMMRAC volunteers gave 105 interviews to the television, radio, and newspapers. The number of the INPA social networks followers, has risen from 60,000 to 100,000 from 2015-2018 (66% increase in 3 years).

Educational programs:

Environmentally oriented educational programs were initiated in Israel by NGOs. In the last 10-20 years, the establishment has adopted some of these programs and is funding and supporting them. There are nation-wide environmental programs in schools, but still no specific biodiversity one.

INPA is cooperating with the Ministry of Education (MoED) in managing 2-5 teachers' courses on the natural environment annually. It is managing dozens of long-term educational programs in formal and informal educational institutions. The INPA staff provides guidance to educational day visits of school pupils in nature reserves and national parks, as part of the core program “Know Your Land”. They also provide guidance to high school nature-oriented research projects. The INPA is managing 2 annual courses for professional tour guides, on natural resources issues (endangered species, reptiles, etc.). The INPA is translating more and more of its resources to Arabic in order to mainstream biodiversity issues in this sector that constitute 20% of the Israeli population. Annually, the INPA conducts ~12,000 activity days each year, including long-term educational programs, informal education, communities and volunteers, activities with military soldiers, field trips for schools, high-school research projects, guiding activities for adults and families, information stations, nature conservation events, and teacher training workshops.

The KKL-JNF  provides "in the field" education programs for schools and managing the "Ma'of" innovative environmental program aimed at new immigrant students and peripheral communities. The KKL-JNF organizes nature activities for youth groups and arranges teacher workshops. It also holds an annual national quiz for schoolchildren on a few topics, including the environment, and human intervention. The KKL-JNF runs the "Big Things in a Little Blue Box", an environmental values program for primary schools and kindergartens.

The SPNI's educational programs reach tens of thousands of participants annually. Its “A Beautiful Israel” anti-littering educational project teaches children to take direct responsibility for the environment. The MoED and MoEP have approved and adopted the curriculum developed by the project, and today, the content is implemented in all elementary schools in Israel. The SPNI is running a network of 14 Eco-Community Centers in the periphery, that build partnerships with communities to create programs that improve the environment while educating, empowering, and mobilizing the communities. The SPNI has also developed the following activities: an Annual Children's Conference that brings together thousands of children, teachers, principals and SPNI guides around a specific environmental topic; It also runs a youth organization (Chougey Sayarut), with an emphasis on the natural environment;  a variety of environmental education programs in public schools (1 to 9 grade); and  the 'Children Make a Difference' multi-year program, that involves 15,000 pupils, and that aims at improving the relationship between the society and the environment.

Nature reserves and national parks visits: The INPA has promoted strategic programs to improve the exposure of nature reserves and national parks to new audiences, including the Arab and strictly Orthodox (Haredi) Jews population as well as Christian pilgrims and the Chinese tourist sectors. Thus, visiting Nature Parks is becoming more and more popular as the following figures show. There are over 120 nature reserves and national parks in Israel, half of which are free of charge. The number of non-unique visitors in INPAs admission charging sites increased from 8 million in 2015 (6 million Israelis, 2 million tourists) to 12 million (9 million Israelis, 3 million tourists). This is an impressive 50% increase in just 3 years. An estimation of 15 million visited the free of charge nature reserves and national parks in 2018. An increasing number of senior citizens participate in organized fieldtrips in national parks and nature reserves, as part of a cooperation with the Ministry for Social Equality (MoSE). In 2018, these numbers reached a peak of 16,000 senior citizens. Numbers of households holding an annual membership card “Matmon”, are increasing each year: from 69,000 in 2015, to 87,000 in 2018 (26% increase). Overnight stays in in payed campsites, increase every year, from 365,000 people in 2015, to 500,000 in 2018 (37% increase in 3 years).

Surveys on public awareness: Unfortunately, there is no annual national survey on biodiversity. The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) conducts a general quality of life survey  that includes the question whether a resident is satisfied with the amount of green spaces, public gardens and/or parks in the area he/she lives in. This data was also incorporated into the Indicators of well-being, sustainability, and resilience of 2018 (see Section II, National Target 03- Incorporation into governmental policy). 58% of people over 20 years of age answered 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied'. There was no significant change between 2015-2018. In cities and towns with relatively high area of green spaces, public gardens and/or parks – satisfaction is over 70% (e.g., Kfar Sava, Ramat Gan, Rishon LeTzion). In cities and towns with relatively low green\ open area – satisfaction is between 10-35% (e.g., Jerusalem, Bnei-Brak). The results of this question can give some insight regarding public awareness of biodiversity. Residents prefer to live near green spaces, public gardens and/or parks in their vicinity.

In general, Biodiversity is still of low priority in the list of issues that the public in Israel is concerned with, ranking low after issues as security, economy, employment, social justice, Israel-Arab relations, housing, and religion & state relations. It usually does not appear in public priority surveys (see a 2019 analysis by the Israeli Democracy Institute, IDI). Another survey found that only 3% of the population think that the environmental issue (which is much broader than biodiversity) should be one of the two main issues negotiated between parliamentary parties while assembling a parliamentary coalition (2019, Gutman Center, IDI).


EN
National Target 01. Increasing Public awareness: By 2020, public awareness to the existence values of biodiversity, its contribution to human wellbeing, and public action towards biodiversity conservation and sustainable use - will be increased.
Measure taken has been partially effective

In the last 5 years, there was a significant increase in communicating biodiversity to the public. However, this issue is still not a high priority in Israel. Biodiversity is still of low priority in the list of issues the public is concerned with, way after security, economy, employment, social justice, Israel-Arab relations, housing, and religion & state relations, etc. It usually does not appear in public priority surveys (see a 2019 analysis by the Israeli Democracy Institute, IDI).

EN

National Target 02 - Action plan

The Israeli National Biodiversity Strategic Plan was published in 2010. As implementation was partial and lacking, the need to update the plan became necessary, in accordance with the existing strategy and Aichi targets. A new biodiversity action plan was intended to be completed in 2017 and implemented since. However, budget constraints prevented the Ministry of Environmental Protection from developing it. In January 2020, The Ministry of Environmental Protection began to develop the new Israeli National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP). It is expected to be finalized in 2021, with implementation to follow hereafter. The Israeli NBSAP will be based on an integrative approach, engaging relevant stakeholders from other government offices and organizations (including NGOs), in order to be ready for mainstreaming at the implementation phase. The Plan will include updated goals and targets in alliance with the CBD post 2020 framework and will be based on the Israel State of Nature report published in 2018. The Plan will include policy measures and action items needed to achieve the targets, including development of new financial, regulatory and management tools for biodiversity conservation. The actions will be prioritized, and a budgetary assessment will be made.

An inter-Ministerial committee headed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection is promoting the NBSAP. The plan will include SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound) targets.

The need for preparing and implementing a national biodiversity action plan, is stated under target 2- Steps to increase natural systems' resilience, in government resolution

4079 from the 29/07/2018, on Adaptation to

Climate Change.

EN
National Target 02. Action plan: By 2017, Israel will develop, adopt as a policy instrument, and commence the implementation of an effective, participatory, and updated national biodiversity strategy and action plan.
Measure taken has been ineffective

The first National Strategic Plan for Biodiversity was approved by the Environmental Protection Minister in 2010 and a National Action Plan was intended to be developed and implemented from 2017 onwards. However, budget constraints, set back these plans and prevented the Ministry of Environmental Protection from developing and implementing the action plan. Developing of the action plan is currently underway, and its implementation is expected to begin on its completion in 2021.

EN

National Target 03 – Incorporation in governmental policy

Governmental Ministries

Abbreviations: Ministry of  Environmental Protection (MoEP), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development- MoARD, Ministry of Energy- MoEN, Ministry of Finance- MoF, Ministry of Economy- MoEC, Ministry of Defence- MoD, Ministry of Transportation- MoTR, Ministry of Construction and Housing- MoCH, Ministry of Justice- MoJ, Ministry of Science and Technology- MoST, Prime Minister Office- PMO, Ministry of Interior- MoI, Ministry of Health- MoH.

Cross-ministerial biodiversity collaboration

Currently, an overarching governmental approach to mainstreaming biodiversity considerations within ministries does not exist. Naturally, the MoEP does most of the biodiversity mainstreaming activities, but more ministries have been incorporating some biodiversity considerations in at least some of their policies. The number has risen from 5 in in the 5 Israel report to the CBD to 11 in 2019 (MoARD, MoEN, MoF, MoEC, MoD, MoTR, MoCH, MoJ, MoST, PMO, MoI). Also, the extent of implementation has risen. For example, the number of units incorporating biodiversity considerations at least in some of the policies has risen from 1 to 2 in the MoF, and from 4 to 7 in the MoARD.

Adaptation to Climate change and biodiversity: Governmental resolution number 4079 from the 29/07/2018, on Adaptation to Climate Change recommended preparation of a NBSAP as a mean for building resilience of biodiversity and protecting ecosystems from the effects of climate change. The general lines of this recommendation coincide with the new NBSAP that is being developed. But it does mean that the new plan will give more emphasis to climate related risks than previously thought and to climate related actions, such as nature-based solutions. The adaptation to climate change governmental resolution involves multiple governmental ministries, and therefore promotes cross-ministerial biodiversity collaboration.

Ministry of  Environmental Protection (MoEP) legislation and policy mainstreaming activities:

The Law of the Regulation of the Practice of Pest Control - the new law approved in  2016 regulates the practice of pest control for pests, that are harmful to humans, their surroundings and property (not agriculture related). The law mainstreams biodiversity considerations: biodiversity conservation is included in the goal of the law; protection exterminations procedures can be applied only for a specific list of species  (pests); extermination will be performed only after testing for feasibility of prevention or treatment without pesticides; and the law requires the pest exterminator to implement measures that prevent damage to the natural environment and biodiversity before, during and after the extermination procedures. Furthermore, a MoEP environmental inspector promotes biodiversity protection values in open landscapes (such as during mosquito extermination).

Prevention of environmental hazard legislation update (civil prosecution), 1992: In 2019, the law was amended (10 amendment), allowing civil prosecution in cases were natural resources or biodiversity are threatened or harmed without a permit. The court can stop or prevent the threat.

The National Mediterranean Sea monitoring program was expanded following Governmental decision number 4399 (23/12/2018). It now includes 6 ministries (MoEN, MoEP, MoST, MoD, MoH, MoARD), and a supplementary annual budget of $2 million USD until 2022, and a supplementary annual budget of $1.3 million USD until between 2023-2028. This program is a part of Israel's obligations to the Barcelona convention.

Research: The MoEP supported biodiversity research with a total of $1.3 million USD between 2015-2019. The main research areas were ecological restoration of Carmel Mt. following the 2010 catastrophic wildfire, mercury pollution in the marine environment, pollution in the Evrona NR following the ecological damage of the major oil spill in 2015, and Haifa Bay pollution effect on the natural environment. Also, the BioClim (Horizon 2020) research climate change effects on biodiversity, sea and beaches was conducted. There is no set annual research budget in the MoEP, and budget for research on the natural environment is usually allocated following a natural environment pollution or damage events.

Israel Planning Administration (IPA), MoF

Open Landscape Forum: The IPA's primary mission is national and regional statuary planning and strategic planning of land use at a national level.  The 2040 Strategic National Housing Plan was approved by the IPA in 2017 and adopted by the government. Following the approval, the IPA formed the Open Landscape Forum with all relevant stakeholders, including the MoEP. The forum's main goal is to improve protection of natural resources in light of the housing strategy and identify key issues for consideration in 4 different aspects: ecology, water resources, agriculture and cultural heritage. Conservation of biodiversity was considered on two levels: integrated planning and action plans.

Integrated planning objectives:

  • Expand the open landscapes (natural and semi-natural) and identify possible areas for natural restoration.
  • Strengthen the rural-agricultural landscapes and the connection between agriculture and nature since agriculture lands constitute ecological corridors and allow roaming of wild animals; natural landscapes supply pollination, natural pest control, land fertility; land erosion protection benefits agricultural lands.
  • Increase the public accessibility to nature for leisure, exercise, education, heritage, culture, physical and mental health.
  • Increase the protection of aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity, especially in  under-represented.

Action plan objectives:

  • Integrating ecological corridors into spatial planning by first identifying and then planning corridors at a regional level. Today, ecological corridors are being planned in 3 out of 6 regional districts.
  • Strengthening statutory protection of bottlenecks in ecological corridors.
  • National Outline Plan 1: NOP 1 (also called TAMA 1) was approved by the government in 2019. The new plan combines and replaces previous NOPs. NOP 1 and strengthens the status of open landscapes in Israel by:
  • Stating in its objectives and principles the importance of biodiversity preservation and connectivity between protected areas. This concept is one of the innovations of NOP 1 which refers to all kinds of protected areas in unison.
  • Designates 5,730 kmof Nature Reserves and National Parks and 1,551 km of forests, (an increase from previously total of 5,000 km of protected areas). This area is 32% of Israel's land area.
  • The streams chapter takes into consideration the ecological function of streams, wetlands, flood plains, springs and minimizing environment damage to these natural resources.
  • The beaches chapter strengthens beaches and adjacent areas by defining them as 'coastal complexes' that require statuary protection. Coastal environment legislation forbids construction and development within 100 meters from the coastline, and heavily restricts it between 100-300 meters from the coastline.
  • The Environmental-landscape appendix which refers instructions for minimizing damage to ecosystems, ecological habitats, endemic species, invasive species, ecological corridors, ecological bottlenecks was updated in the NOP 1.

Maritime Policy for Israel's Mediterranean waters: A marine spatial and strategic plan for Israel's territorial waters in the Mediterranean Sea was published in 2018 by IPA, including biodiversity and environmental guidelines for protected areas, marine infrastructure, economic activities, zoning for different activities. This policy paper wad a combined effort of all relevant ministries and administrations (IPA, Marine Protection department MoEP, MoEN, MoTR, MoD, MoARD, MoJ, INPA, Survey of Israel Center, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research [IOLR]).

See section II, National Target 07 (Reduced land-use change of open landscapes), for urban renewal policy in the IPA.

Ministry of Energy (MoEN)

Offshore fossil fuels exploration is a relatively new sector in Israel but has expanded considerably in the past 10 years. Therefore, only recently, have biodiversity considerations incorporated into this sector's regulations.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for marine oil and gas exploration and extraction was performed for the Israeli Mediterranean Sea economic zone (MoEP, MoEN). It included mapping of all types of biological habitats and establishing guidelines for protecting each type of habitat during oil and gas activities. Existing knowledge gaps were declared and prioritized toward the next SEA and in general.

Guidelines were established for marine background surveys to be done as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of marine oil and gas industry projects, including ecological surveys.

Under the Law for Planning and Construction, detailed plans for development of major marine infrastructure construction projects such as ports and gas pipelines and platforms include requirements for Environmental Monitoring and Management Programs (EMMPs), to be approved by the Marine Protection Division (MPD) in the MoEP. The MPD also has the authority to enforce the EMMPs, under the Protection of the Coastal Environment Law. Several EMMPs were approved during the reporting period and include observations of marine mammals and turtles around working vessels and online monitoring of turbidity between dredgers and sensitive habitats. Work stops when turbidity limits are exceeded or when mammals or turtles are observed within a 50-meter radius from the working vessel.

Guidelines for spatial and temporal biodiversity sensitivity levels were defined for the marine environment. For example, sea turtles' reproduction season, areas prohibited for seismic activity, 1 km no mining buffer zone around sensitive marine areas,

Guidelines were established for construction of pipelines in the marine environment (oil, gas, desalination, etc), including rehabilitation of the seabed and EMMPs around dredging activities.

Guidelines were established for sand import for beach nourishment projects and ecological guidelines for all beach nourishment projects, including monitoring programs.

Coordination between the MoEN and the INPA in areas shallower than 120 meters was determined.

Ministry of Justice (MoJ)

The state has decided that, because it is the Natural Resources public trustee, it is the appropriate prosecutor in court cases of ecological and environmental damage (that harm natural landscapes and biodiversity), and that ecological compensation can be sought. In the last 5 years, the state prosecuted offenders in 3 big cases: The Evrona NR oil spill event, the Ashalim stream contamination event, and the dieselgate pollution scandal. See Section II, National Target 04 (Economic incentives).

Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and MoEP

National Indicators of Well-being, Sustainability, and Resilience - Biodiversity index: In 2015, Governmental Resolution #2494 on  National Indicators of Well-being, Sustainability, and Resilience was adopted, obligating the CBS to publish well-being, sustainability, and national resilience indicators in 11 domains, among them the environment. One of the 8 wellbeing indicators under the environment domain is overall biodiversity status. This is the first time that government reporting of biodiversity status is mandatory.  In order to report this indicator, the Biodiversity Index was developed by the MoEP, together with the CBS and HaMaarag, based on the National Biodiversity Monitoring data (see National Target 06).

This index in composed of 3 components: the extent of natural landscape areas, state of wild species (endangered species, eruptive (local invasive) alien invasive species), and connectivity of natural landscapes. These 3 components were calculated in the 9 different ecological systems in Israel. The index was first published in 2019 and was calculated for 2013-2017. During this period, the value of the biodiversity indicator had worsened.

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD)

The MoARD is investing in reducing pesticide use, soil preservation, changing fishing to a more sustainable sector, conflicts reduction with medium and large wild mammals, genetic diversity and more.

See Section II, National Targets 08 (Fisheries), 10 (Agriculture) and 19 (Genetic diversity).

Ministry of Interior (MoI)

In 2018, The Ministry of Interior (MoI) published a practical guide on sustainability as a development tool in local authorities. Relevant chapters to biodiversity are  how local authorities can create a biosphere, green infrastructure, energy efficiency (rooftop PV), sustainable use of food and food security and means for promoting local businesses, agriculture, tourism, and other activities.

Ministry of Construction and Housing (MoCH)

The MoCH incorporates biodiversity considerations in its activities:

  • "360 neighbourhood" policy   - The tool was developed by the MoCH and the Israeli Council for Green Building. assesses and promotes development of quality, healthy, prospering neighbourhoods with regards to equity, the environment, and economics. Biodiversity-related measures account for 8% of the total score. This includes biodiversity conservation during the planning phase, during and after development, as well as reducing the risk of invasive species.
  • Publication of recommended local plants lists for gardening in the different climatic zones.
  • Funding urban nature surveys– 2 surveys were funded during the reporting period in peripheral cities (Carmiel and Netivot).
  • Initiating pilot projects of urban ecological infrastructure master plans in different climatic zones. The goal is to create a functional network of urban open landscapes that will serve the residences and the ecosystems alike.
  • Promoting the use of biodiversity preservation principles in spatial planning (in line with the IPA guidelines). Although this is not yet mandatory, it is used today in all the development plans in Israel's Southern regional district (covering 64% of the country's land area, and 15% of its population).
  • Added the 'Ecologist' category to its planners list. This addition allows distinction between an environmental consultant and an ecologist and assures the employment of the relevant experts for ecological tasks.
  • Has set the schedule of trees survey to the beginning of the planning process, so the planners can take them into account as early as possible.

Ministry of Economy (MoEC)

Following the National plan for green growth (2011), the MoEC started to initiate several projects in circular economy and resource efficiency.

See Section II, National Target 05 (Green growth and its implementation in the business sector).

Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST)

Between 2017-2019, the MOST published 6 calls for research proposals (3 Bi-national calls) relevant for biodiversity, with a combined budget of $5 million.

In 2017, Israel and France launched the high resolution multi-spectral micro-satellite VENμS. The satellite monitors ecological systems and vegetation. Israel invested $20 million in the satellite and $1.4 million in data analysis research grants.

Local Authorities (municipalities, local and regional councils)

Urban areas – Municipalities and Local Councils

In the last decade, municipalities and local councils were incentivized by MoEP to prepare Urban Nature Surveys. The surveys are intended to serve as a basis for development of municipal management and policy tools for open landscapes and urban nature sites in cities across the country. The data is to be incorporated into municipal spatial planning as well. To date, 50 local authorities across the country have produced an Urban Nature Survey doubling the amount since 2014, of which 90% were funded by the MoEP. The MoCH supported two of the surveys (see above), and two more municipalities conducted an independent survey.

As of 2019, four municipalities prepared an urban nature policy document (Jerusalem, Be'er Sheva and Tel-Aviv, Kiryat Gat), and Jerusalem was the first municipality to incorporate urban nature sites and guidelines into the statutory District Outline Plan. A few other municipalities have incorporated their urban nature survey into their statutory Local Outline Plans, all of them in the reporting period between 2015-2019.

Another positive effect of the Urban Nature Surveys has been the incorporation of Ecologists within Local Authorities. This new field of expertise has developed over the past decade in parallel with the Urban Nature Surveys. Approx. 10 Local Authorities now employ an Urban Ecologist, compared to three in 2014. The ecologists oversee integrating the data collected in the surveys in a wide range of municipal activities and provide the expertise needed for protection of biodiversity at a local level.   

Finally, the surveys promote the development of urban nature sites for the public, while integrating ecological principles in management of these sites. For instance, the Gazelle park in Jerusalem was opened to the public in 2015 and has an 3 parts – the biodiversity core that protects free roaming gazelles, the extensive part with minimal management of flora and the extensive area for visitor gathering and activities. The park also has a green roof above the visitor center. The Natanya seasonal pool and Herzliya park are two other good examples of urban nature parks.

Rural areas – Regional Councils

There are 54 regional councils in Israel, responsible for 85% of the open landscape area in Israel. According to the Regional Council Association (RCA) report in 2019, eight councils reported to have prepared a Master Plan for Open Spaces, and ten more are in preparation, (33% of all the councils in total).

In parallel, the IPA encourages the regional councils to prepare statutory Local Outline Plans. One regional council has completed a statutory Local Outline Plan, and 19 regional councils are in the process of preparing such a plan. Of the 20 Regional Council Development Master Plans, all but one reported to include an ecologist in their planning process. The RCA also published two planning guides incorporating biodiversity considerations (see Section II, National Target 06).

EN
Measure taken has been partially effective

Progress has been made towards this target as some government ministries have incorporated biodiversity considerations in their policies. However, the incorporation of biodiversity consideration is not mandatory, and there is no overarching government policy that requires mainstreaming of biodiversity in government ministries. Thus, incorporation is not homogenous among the ministries, and it is not clear whether some of the measures are sustainable in the long run.

EN

National Target 04 - Economic incentives

Incentives that support biodiversity

Open Spaces Conservation Fund

The Open Spaces Conservation Fund is managed by the Israel Land Authority serves as an offset for land development projects (mainly housing). Today, the fund is one of Israel's most prominent economic tool to promote biodiversity conservation and plays and important role in mainstreaming biodiversity in Central and Local Government (see Section II, National Target 03). The establishment of the Open Spaces Conservation Fund in 2012 by law was a landmark implementation the legislation of economic tools for the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable development in Israel.

Over 90% of the land in Israel is owned by the State and managed by the Israel Land Authority. The Fund designates one percent of its annual income from land sales and long-term leases and distributes it national by mean of a call for projects mechanism. Given Israel's projected high rate of population increase, land continues to be a highly valuable resource so that future income for the Fund is stable and likely to continue. The main aims of the Fund are: rehabilitation, restoration and conservation of open spaces including development of recreational parks for public use; treatment and removal of environmental hazards and invasive species; restoration and rehabilitation of rivers and aquatic habitats and their surrounding areas; collection and processing of data, monitoring, and research and spatial planning of open spaces to ensure sustainable development and land-use.

From 2012 to 2019, funding has been distributed to more than 350 projects nationwide for a total sum of about $180 million USD. Projects that that have received funding include the following: restoration of the Zippori Stream; rehabilitation of the bat populations in Hamat Gader; spatial planning of ecological corridors of national importance; ecological and agricultural restoration program of Beit Netofa Valley; Palmachim dunes clean-up and treatment of invasive plants; and supporting Israel's National Nature Assessment Program - "HaMaarag" (see Section II, National Target 06). 

Quarries Rehabilitation Fund

The Quarries Rehabilitation Fund, managed by the MoEN, is operational since 1978. Taxation on mining activities provide the Fund's income, with a rate of 0.1-6% of the mined material wholesale price. The Fund is used mainly for rehabilitation of quarries after site closure. The projects include land scape rehabilitation, safety, accessibility, and ecological restoration. Between 2015-2018, the Fund's income was $21 million (annual average $5.4 million), and expenditure during this period was $14 million on 144 quarries rehabilitation projects. Between 2015-2017, the Fund has rehabilitated a total of 61.6 km.

Sea Pollution Prevention Fund

The Sea Pollution Prevention Fund, managed by MoEP, is dedicated to prevention of sea and beach pollution, and assisting in cleaning activities of local authorities. The Fund also contributes to research, procurement of marine-pollution prevention equipment and decommissioning of trawlers (see Section II, National Target 08).
The Fund's main sources of income are fees and levies on the following polluting activities: oil tankers calling at seaport fees, oil pollution-related fines, financial sanctions and other fees collected from vessels and fuel terminals. Other minor funding sources come from
state annual budget and donations. In 2015 the Fund's income was $9 million, but this dropped to $3.4 million in 2019. This reduction reflects some reduction in sea pollution but is mostly due to a reduction in fines and levy collection. In 2015 the Fund's expenditure was $4 million, compared $6.6 million in 2019.

Funding for projects reducing agriculture-biodiversity conflicts

Soil Conservation and Protection - The MoARD supports farmers that carry out soil conservation and protection measures. Between 2015-2019, MoARD support for these measures was $17 million. 30% of the budget was invested in conservation tillage measures, 65% supported engineering measures (ditches, levees, etc.), and a small percentage supported surveys and planning. The support is $100/hectare/year for conservation tillage measures, and $1,400-7,100/hectare/year for engineering measures. Only farmers that comply with the MoARD soil conservation and Protection standards, receive this support. See Section II, National Target 10 (Agriculture).

Cranes and pelicans feeding projects - Migrating cranes and pelicans can cause damage to field crops, and fishponds. Since 2006, multiple stakeholders (farmers, Galil Elyon regional council, KKL-JNF, MoARD, INPA, MoEP) initiated a joint project to resolve the conflict between agriculture and biodiversity conservation and have been investing in feeding projects of Cranes ($1.2 million per annum) and Pelicans ($0.3 million per annum). However, some of these organizations have been less engaged in the project in recent years and financial support has not consistent. For instance, MoEP had stopped its participation in recent years. 

Rangelands- Sheep, goat and cattle herds are subsidized according to the carrying capacity of a designated rangeland area, with an annual sum of $9 million (Rangeland Authority, MoARD). Herds that deviate from their carrying capacity are penalized. The authority subsidizes an annual average of 170 km of large rangeland fences that prevent cattle from passing, but allow large wild mammals (boars, gazelles, wolves…) to pass underneath. Thus, these fences reduce fragmentation as new fences replace old ones. Between 2015-2019, the authority funded approx. 850 km of rangelands fences (jointly with KKL-JNF). Specifications for these large-mammals-friendly fences are given in the authorities tenders for these fences.

The authority also subsidizes 80% of the carcass-clearing Fund and the Insurance Fund for Natural Risks in Agriculture (KANAT). This reduces wild predator-farmer conflicts (such as jackals and wolves), reduces over-population of predators (mostly jackals), and reduces the chance for spread of diseases (such as rabies).

Legal culling of wolves by farmers is permitted by the INPA when there is a need to decrease the number of wolves in a certain area and according to quotas. The authorized farmers undergo specific training and receive a fee per wolf from MoARD.

Fisheries- A buy-back plan for decommissioned trawlers was established and enabled the reduction of the Israeli fishing trawlers fleet by 22% between 2015-2019, from 27 to 21 vessels.

For more details, see Section II, National Target 10 (agriculture).

Noticeable class acts in cases of Ecological damage

Since 2015, the state has decided to join as a prosecutor in important court cases against entities that have caused substantial ecological damage.

In December 2014, 5,000 m of crude petroleum leaked from a major pipeline in Erava desert, specifically in the Evrona NR, during pipeline renovation works performed by the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC). Initial ecological damage was estimated at $80 million. Following a class action, a settlement was reached and EAPC will pay $30 million indemnities for legal fees, rehabilitation of the NR, research, and compensation to effected stakeholders, including the local residents. In a way, this settlement is revolutionary, as it is the largest sum paid in Israel for environmental damage.

In 2017, a wall of a phosphogypsum pool, belonging to a Rotem-Ampart phosphate plant, collapsed and contaminated the Ashalim stream with appox. 200,000 m of acidic industrial wastewater. The MoEP estimated ecological damage at $113 million. A class action against the Rotem-Ampart company is ongoing.

For more information, see the Other relevant information part bellow; Section II, National Targets 03, 11 and 16.

Rooftop PV electricity production tariff

Israel is increasing its renewable energy sources: the main source being solar energy, and wind energy in a much smaller scale. Between 2017-2019, solar energy production tripled, mostly via ground photovoltaic panels (PV) on agricultural land and open landscapes. However, a relatively high rooftop PV solar electricity production tariff by is still in force, at least until the end of 2020. The tariff is $0.128-0.137/kWh, which is about 80% of the present electricity price for the public, and 3-5 times higher than ground PV solar electricity cost to the national power grid. This high tariff supports rooftop PV production over fossil fuels and also over open landscapes use for ground PV. Combined with removal of other regulatory barriers and with PV installation prices continuous drop, rooftop PV installation rises steeply. By the end of 2019, rooftop PV comprise ~40% of all installed and under construction PV. If this rooftop PV installations had been replaced with ground PV, they would have captured 2,300-3,680 more hectares of open landscapes.

Natural Resources fund

In 2011, a new tax on natural gas and petroleum profits came into force. When the accumulated income from on natural gas or petroleum well exceeds 150% of the expenses from the well, the company pays 20% tax. and when the income exceeds 230% of the expenses, the tax rises to 50%.

In 2015, a new tax on profits from natural resources (excluding natural gas and petroleum) came into force. It is taxing profits from natural resources such as Dead Sea minerals, phosphates mining, etc. Calculation of this tax is more complicated- if the excessive profit from a natural resource, is up to 6% of the deducted fixed assets, the company pays a 25% tax; if the excessive profit exceeds 6%, the tax rises to 42%.

These taxes comprise the Natural resources fund income. The fund should begin to pass revenues to the state when it accumulates $300 million USD, which was predicted to pass by the end of 2017. However, by the end of 2018, the fund's cumulative income was $128 million USD, of which only $36 million USD were gained between 2015-2018. An updated estimation in 2020, is that the fund's $300 million USD target, is expected to be reached only by the end of 2021. The state will decide how to use the revenues, during the yearly budget discussions.

Phasing out of harmful incentives

To the best of our knowledge, no significant harmful incentives were eliminated, phased out or reformed during the reporting period.

EN
National Target 04. Economic incentives: By 2025, economic incentives that harm biodiversity will be significantly reduced, and positive incentives to protect biodiversity and its sustainable use will be implemented.
Measure taken has been partially effective

The Open Spaces Conservation Fund has been a highly effective economic tool in restoring and rehabilitating open spaces, natural landscapes and protecting biodiversity. The other funds mentioned are contributing significantly to specific targets of preventing marine pollution and rehabilitation after destructive activity (mining). However, to the best of our knowledge, no significant incentives harmful for biodiversity were reduced during the reporting period.

EN

Application and assimilation of conservation tillage and conservation agriculture in Israel 2019. Alon Maor, Eliana Ein-Mor, Beni Ya'akovi. Soil Conservation and Drainage department, MoARD. In preparation.


Evrona Oil Spill

In December 2014, a major oil spill occurred in the vicinity of the Evrona Nature Reserve in the Arava Desert with an estimated 5,000 m of crude oil leaking from a breached pipeline about 18 km (12 miles) north of Eilat  that occurred during maintenance works on the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC).

Much of the Evrona NR was contaminated, making this event one of the gravest natural disasters in Israel's history. It put the fragile ecosystem in the area in danger, while affecting the quality of life of the human population living nearby. Immediate response was given by MoEP and the INPA for initial clean-up, and it was estimated that rehabilitation of the area would be costly and ecological restoration was likely to take decades. 

Four class action lawsuits were filed against the company, which were then consolidated into one lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of shekels worth in damage, including compensation local residents living in the area, as well as the ecological restoration, oversight and future damages. After 5 years, a settlement was reache, and the EAPC was made responsible for the ongoing impact of the leak. It paid a total of $30 million USD in compensation to the public and the claimants, including the INPA who manage Evrona NP.

The agreed compensation for non-pecuniary ecological damage to the public is the highest settlement of environmental hazard class actions in Israel. The State Attorney's Office and the MoEP see it as a significant milestone in promoting environmental law in general, and civil enforcement on behalf of the state in particular. The fact that an assessment of ecological services has been carried out to evaluate the damage in this lawsuit is also innovative, together with the fact that the state joined the class action lawsuit that includes ecological damage.

 

Ashalim industrial wastewater Spill

In July 2017, a collapse in the wall of a holding pool for phosphate of the Rotem Amfert Company near the Dead Sea, sent approx. 200,000 m of acidic water and other pollutants rushing through The Ashalim Stream Basin, and contaminating this NR.

The MoEP began with a criminal investigation and also ordered the company to stop using the partially collapsed evaporation pool until the investigation was complete. Necessary changes were implemented in order the reopen the NP for hikers. Environmentalists warned that it would take years before the full extent of the damage is known, and far longer for the area to rehabilitate. An economic assessment of the damages, led by the MoEP and the INPA, led to a lawsuit filed by the Southern District Attorney's Office (civil) accompanied by the Civil Enforcement Unit in the State Attorney's Office. The economic assessment was nearly $114 million, including the restoration of the stream and its surroundings as well as the compensation for the ecological damage. The Ashalim Stream reopened to hikers 3 years after the contamination occurred, and the lawsuit is still ongoing.


We hope these class actions set examples for the progress in the Israeli law system with regards to how companies should take responsibility for ecological and environmental damage they cause.    

EN

National Target 05- Green Growth and its implementation in the business sector

Governmental resolution on green growth

National plan for green growth, governmental resolution # 3768, 23/10/2011. Most of the Governmental resolution on green growth was implemented: circular economy initiative, Integrated environmental permitting for businesses, green R&D funds, center for resource efficiency.

Due to the economic and the environmental potential of shifting the Israeli industry towards circular economy, the Industry Administration in the Ministry of Economy (MoEC) and MoEP, developed the National Israeli action plan for circular economy in the industry. The vision is to facilitate the transition of the Israeli industry from resource-intensive and import-dependent production into competitive production, which is based on circularity, innovation, and resource efficiency. The action plan aims to facilitate this transition using the adjustment of regulation towards circularity and providing financial support where needed. Two supporting tools were launched in 2019: a pilot for industrial symbiosis ($1.5 million USD support) and a center for resource efficiency ($15 million USD support).

Direct annual governmental investment in environmental R&D had an average of $19 million USD between 2012-2017. Since 2018, it increased to an annual average of $25 million USD.

Environmental Impact Index for Industrial Companies

Since 2013, the MoEP has been publishing an annual environmental impact index for all governmental and public industry companies with a large environmental impact as defined by the following criteria: Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) report, environmental risk of materials, proximity of the company's facilities to residents and sensitive hydrological sites. Overall, there are over 40 companies in the index, which operate 100 factories and 800 petrol stations. This index can help investors understand the environmental risk these companies pose. In 2019, two biological diversity parameters were included in the index: risk for marine environment, and voluntary reporting according to the TevaBIZ index (see below).

New environmental regulation on infrastructure and industrial activity

EMMPs are environmental monitoring programs for major marine infrastructure construction projects such as ports and gas pipelines and platforms. For more information, see Section II, National Target 03.

Since 2018, every quarry is obliged to develop an invasive species management and prevention program in order to receive its business permit. See Section II, National Target 12.

Voluntary guidelines, protocols, and their implementation

The MoEC has written specifications for sustainable industrial zone planning, that includes biological diversity protection actions: lowering contact between the industrial zone and open landscapes; light pollution reduction; use of local plants and non-invasive species in gardening; collection and removal of organic waste for reduction of eruptive species (local invasive species); and prevention of birds nesting on buildings, poles and signs. A pilot implementation project was conducted according to these specifications in an industrial zone in the periphery (Yerucham Local Council).

The TevaBIZ initiative- Let's Talk Business, was initiated by SPNI in 2014 and was joined in 2015 by the MoEP and the INPA. The main activity is issuing calls for proposals (3 calls so far) for projects mainstreaming biodiversity considerations into the core activities of governmental and private companies. The winning projects receive funding for hiring ecological advisors equivalent to $30,000 USD per project, and the companies are required to provide resources for implementation. By 2019, 15 projects have been completed (with 12 companies), and 4 more were initiated. The projects are in the following sectors: infrastructure (mainly major governmental companies) – including energy, transportation infrastructure, quarries, water supply and wastewater treatment; agriculture and food production; tourism and development companies of regional councils. As part of the initiative, the projects are using advanced tools as an ecological vulnerability GIS data engine, and management and reporting software. Many of the protocols developed in these projects are mainstreamed into other companies in these sectors, mainly through EIA.

In addition, as part of the TevaBIZ initiative, an index was developed to measure the management and mitigation activities of the effects a company has on biodiversity. This index is intended to be used in Corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports, and in the MoEP Environmental Impact Index for Industrial Companies (see above).

Sustainable Development reports

Governmental companies are expected to deliver an annual Sustainable Development report. Amongst the 62 business governmental companies, 15 delivered the report in 2019 (24%). However, delivering these reports is not enforced. A few companies, such as the Netivey Israel (National Transport Infrastructure Company), chose also to deliver CSR reports with GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) standards. The effectiveness of this measure is very limited, as it is voluntary, and most companies do not find it important.

EN
National Target 05. Green Growth and its implementation in the business sector: By 2020, the governmental resolution on Green Growth will be implemented, and biodiversity considerations will be incorporated in the business sector, so that use of natural resources will be within safe ecological limits.
Measure taken has been partially effective

A few overarching national processes towards the target were performed. Most of the Green Growth Governmental Resolution was implemented: The preparation of a national Israeli action plan for circular economy in the industry, the development of the Center for Resource Efficiency, pilot projects for industrial symbiosis, an increase in environmental R&D funding, Integrated environmental permitting for businesses, promoting Green Public Procurement, and a plan for Prevention of green washing.  

At a national level, the recent Green Infrastructure act has been approved and will be implemented from 2022.

However, biodiversity is still not a main factor for consideration in almost all companies. and natural resources are not used within safe ecological limits. One exception is the TevaBiz program specifically for mainstreaming biodiversity considerations within the business sector focussing on infrastructure and agriculture sector.

EN

National Target 06 – Knowledge base

Scientific knowledge base:

Updated Red Lists of endangered species: See Section II, National Target 17 (Endangered species).

The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History (SMNH) provides national level scientific services to various governmental and non-governmental institutes and organizations. Details are provided in SMNH annual reports. Some examples for institutions under the auspices of the museum include:

·   HaMaarag – Israel’s National Ecosystem Assessment Program is a national consortium of organizations and stakeholders that are responsible for natural resources management in Israel: The MoEP, the INPA, the KKL-JNF and independent and academic researchers (See more details below).

·   Open Landscape Institute (OLI): Since its establishment at the beginning of the 1980’s, OLI conducted open landscape surveys covering 67% of the total area of Israel. However, many of these surveys are outdated and should be repeated, as landscapes have gone through tremendous changes and new methodology and technology implemented. Between 2015-2019, The OLI survey unit conducted 15 field surveys throughout the country, from the upper Galilee in the north to the hyper-arid desert in the south, covering a total area of 2,750 km (ca. 12.5% of Israel’s land area). These surveys provided data for various planning programs conducted by regional municipalities. The OLI has been focusing on implementation of biodiversity considerations into policy decision making processes. In addition, OLIs survey unit conducts a multi-annual survey of endangered plants in Israel for the INPA. More details regarding this survey are provided in the Other relevant information section below. At the same period (2015-2019), the research unit of OLI conducted over 20 studies in open landscape policies, regulation, planning, practices, legislation, management, conservation etc. All studies are available (in Hebrew) at OLIs website. More details and examples are provided in the Other relevant information section below.

·   The Israel Center for Aquatic Ecology (ICAE): the center was established in 2015 as a joint venture between the MoEP and the INPA. The main aim of ICAE is to promote and apply methods for biological monitoring and assessment of streams in Israel. For the past 5 years, ICAE has been advancing the development of bio-assessment schemes, largely based on the European system of biological monitoring in the EU-WFD (Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC). ICAE is working closely with environmental agencies, including river and drainage authorities, the INPA, the MoARD, the academia and others. Such projects include adaptation and implementation of biological indices of streams in representative drainage basins in Israel, such as the Jordan Basin, Western Galilee, the Kishon and Yarkon streams, Dead Sea wetlands, “Emek HaMa’ayanot” (Springs valley) and more. In addition, ICAE partakes in several projects, where the ICAE staff contributes its unique knowledge on the local aquatic macroinvertebrates, to projects such as monitoring stream restoration, and the effects of industrial pollutants and heavy metals on the polluted Ashalim stream. Between 2015-2019, ICAE published five scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, one book chapter, and four scientific reports, including a chapter regarding Aquatic Ecosystems as part of the State of Nature Report 2018.

·   The Israel Taxonomy Initiative (ITI): is a joint project of the higher education system of Israel, government ministries and agencies, and research institutes. It was established to promote the training of a new generation of taxonomists and to enrich the basic knowledge of the biodiversity of Israel. The main goal of the initiative is to revive taxonomic studies in Israel for the purpose of conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems in Israel. ITI began its activities in 2009 and to date provided 104 grants intended for the improvement and strengthening the field of taxonomy in Israel.

·   The Entomological Lab: Provides identification services to the Plant Protection and Inspection Services of the MoARD, regarding suspicious specimens caught by its inspectors, in agricultural imported shipments at the checkpoints of the Israeli airports and seaports. The inspectors of the Plant Protection and Inspection Services also visit the entomological collections on a weekly basis, in order to consult and learn from the lab's specialists, (especially on beetles and molluscs). See Section II, National Target 12 (Invasive species).

·   The Feather Identification Lab: Heavy Aviation (Military and civilian) in a narrow air space shared with half-billion migratory birds that pass-through Israel twice a year, cause conflicts. This co-existence holds a tremendous risk of bird collision that may lead to substantial material damage, ecological damage, and loss of human lives. Therefore, it is essential to identify bird species responsible for accidents, whether high in the sky or around airfields. Since 2011, the Feather Identification Lab is working closely with the Israeli Air Force, the Israel Airports Authority, and the Civil Aviation Authority. In addition, the lab assists INPA to investigate suspected poaching of wild birds and identify bird species collected in surveys on the effects of wind turbines and electric lines on wildlife. Between 2015-2019, the lab examined 628 bird strike cases, and 983 cases for INPA, including 217 genetic analyses. This project reduces the abovementioned conflicts.

MONITORING

National Monitoring System

HaMaarag – Israel’s National Ecosystem Assessment Program (under the auspices of the SMNH), is a national consortium of organizations and stakeholders that are responsible for natural resources management in Israel: The MoEP, the INPA, the KKL-JNF and independent and academic researchers. HaMaarag acts within its current framework since 2011 and supported by Yad Hanadiv foundation and the Heritage Project of the PMO. Its primary mission is to provide policymakers with a national level knowledge-based synthesis on the state of ecosystems and biodiversity in Israel, as the basic tool for planning and management of open landscapes and natural resources, based on continuous production of scientific knowledge. This knowledge will be accessible both to policymakers and the general public. The two main outputs of HaMaarag are the State of Nature periodical reports, based on the National Terrestrial Biodiversity and Open Landscapes Monitoring Program, and Israel National Ecosystem Assessment report. Between 2015-2019, two State of Nature reports were published (2016, 2018), analysing and summarizing the first and second rounds of the monitoring program. The National Ecosystem Assessment project published an interim report in 2017, and the final report is planned to be published during 2020.

·   State of Nature reports 2016, 2018: Israel’s State of Nature Assessment Program, the first of its kind in Israel, presents trends and processes in the state of Israel’s ecosystems, and to the ecological data collected in each ecosystem. The reports are part of a series of publications by HaMaarag dealing with the state of nature in Israel and are a continuation of previous publications by Hamaarag dating from 2010, that presented information based on data collected by other organizations. The main sources for the last two reports (2016, 2018) are data from Israel’s National Terrestrial Biodiversity and Open Landscapes Monitoring Program and in-house analysis of spatial data, with additional out-sourced monitoring data. The main goal of the State of Nature Reports is to promote the consolidation of strategies, and the development of conservation interfaces, for the advancement of sustainable management of open landscapes and natural resources in Israel.

·   Israel National Ecosystem Assessment (INEA): is a large project led by HaMaarag since 2012. The project aims to present a national picture of services and benefits that Israel’s residents receive from ecosystems within the country’s borders. The assessment process was not designed to collate and synthesize existing knowledge relevant to decision-making, planning, and policy design, regarding a subject of public significance: the importance of the services that Israeli society receives from open landscapes, and quantification of their value. The conceptual framework of this project was detailed in the previous report of Israel to the CBD in 2014 (section 2.3.4.1). An interim report was published in 2017 (in Hebrew) and includes a description of the mechanisms that enable ecosystem services, their value, and their state, while emphasizing the importance of biodiversity in providing these services. The final report is planned to be published during 2020, and will include three outputs: key-findings report, detailed reports of each chapter, and a synthesis report (more details are provided in the “Other relevant information” section below).

·   Long Term Ecological Research Stations (LTER-Israel): Founded in 1997 and currently includes 13 terrestrial sites across the country’s climate and demographic gradients. The network’s foci include: the establishment of a common theoretical framework (ecological integrity); harmonization of data collection to facilitate cross-site research; and the implementation and operation of new socio-ecological (LTSER) research platforms. The results from the ongoing research are used to enhance decision-making and improve planning and management of natural resources, ecosystem services and biodiversity. KKL-JNF operates five LTER stations (see details in "other relevant information" section), INPA operates three stations, MoARD operates two stations, and the rest are operated by research institutes (Tel Aviv university, Ben Gurion university and the Hebrew university), and a private fund (Yad HaNadiv). Scientists from Weizmann institute, the Arava-Dead Sea Science Center (ADSSC) and the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) provide academic sponsorship to the non-academic sites. Another LTER station is a marine site, operated by the University of Haifa.

·   The Mediterranean Sea monitoring program was expanded following Governmental decision number 4399, from the 23/12/2018 (MoEN, MoEP, MoST). This Section II, National Target 03.

·   Effects of desalination facilities on marine ecosystems: The MPD (in the MoEP) initiated a major academic research project to examine and model the accumulative effects of Israel's array of seawater desalination plants on the Mediterranean Sea ecosystems and food web.

INFORMATION SYSTEMS

  • BioGIS – the dedicated GIS-based system that serves as the national species distribution database (see also Israel 5 report to CBD). The system is developed by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and supported by MoEP and INPA. BioGIS is also the Israeli node to GBIF (see below).Data providers are the major academic institutions in Israel, OLI, HaMaarag, Bird and Mammals Centers of the SPNI, the IGB (see Section II, National Target 19) among others. During the reporting period, new species distribution models were integrated into the system as well as models of climate change effects on species distribution the user interface was significantly updated. The current total number of species location records in the database is about 1,009,000, of which over 250,000 were added between 2015-2019.
  • Livestock carcasses early-warning system: INPA developed an early-warning system to locate livestock carcasses and illegal poisoning activities. This innovative system uses Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) with GPS tags to assist managers with locating carcasses of livestock and wildlife in the field. This is important as it assists INPA’s large-scale program of “sanitation”, whereby livestock carcasses are removed from the field as soon as possible, in order to reduce food availability to overabundant scavenger predators, such as golden jackals (Canis aureus). The sanitation project helps keep jackal numbers down, therefore early-detection of carcasses is crucial. In addition, farmers sometimes illegally lace carcasses with poisons in order to kill predators, so this innovative system enables early-detection of such events before they can become overly devastating to wildlife. Thus, the integration of technological advances and information technology in this project maintains and enhances an important ecosystem service of sanitation provided by the vultures.
  • Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS)- Israel had participated in the project SEIS II South between 2016-2020. The project shares waste data between all the Mediterranean Sea countries, with a long-term goal to reduce Mediterranean Sea pollution. The project was funded by the EU (European Environment Agency, EEA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

CAPACITY BUILDING and PUBLIC AWARENESS

  • Birdwatching sites (KKL-JNF Wings - “Kanfei KKL”) and National Bird Database: KKL-JNF develops and operates a network of birdwatching sites in Israel (currently, 11 are open or under construction), where resident and migratory birds live, rest and refuel. A masterplan for these sites is in preparation and will lay the guidelines for the development of these sites for recreation, instruction, education, research and monitoring. In cooperation with the Yehoraz Kasher Israel National Bird Database, “KKL-JNF Wings on the Net” has built a comprehensive database on birds in Israel.
  • "Forest" – the Israeli Journal of Forestry, Woodlands, and Environment (Hebrew with English summaries): published by KKL-JNF. Since its initiation in 2002, it was the only platform in Israel publishing professional articles on plant ecology, woodlands and forestry. Between 2015-2019, five issues of the journal were published, and available online. KKL-JNF also supports the web-site Wildflowers of Israel, where an online guide for some trees and bushes in KKL-JNF forests is integrated.
  • The Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences (ISEES) is supported by the MoEP, INPA, KKL-JNF and SPNI. Its biodiversity knowledge base projects include (see also Section II, National Target 1):
    • Ecology & Environment – A Journal for Science and Environmental Policy: A peer-reviewed journal in Hebrew, exploring science, sustainability, and environmental policy. Between 2015-2019, the journal published over 300 articles, of which almost 50% dealt with different aspects of biodiversity. All the articles are freely available online.
    • Zavit – Science and Environment News Agency: Between 2015-2019, the news agency published to the general public over 500 articles and interviews related to biodiversity. Most of these articles were published also in many Israeli news media outlets (newspapers, online news websites, TV, radio) and in social media. Zavit also publishes videos that accompany the subjects of the articles. All the articles are available online.
    • Experts Opinion Forums: Between 2015-2019, the ISEES initiated 8 forums that addressed biodiversity-related issues in order to assist regulators and decision-makers in creating evidenced-based environmental policy. All the summaries of the forums are published online.

Accessibility to information

The INPA developed an open source integrated information system for the management of biodiversity conservation. The system implements, among others:

·   Management of NRs and other land assets using wiki-style information.

·   Management of taxonomical lists, attributes, and textual wiki-style information.

·   Records collection and management system, for various topics from biodiversity surveys and observations to enforcement of biodiversity protection laws, forest-fires, illegal poisonings, and ecological management.

·   Custom push-notifications on various user defined queries for automated online alerting of relevant personnel on attention demanding records.

·   Reporting tool, automated reports for nature reserves, species, hotspots, etc.

·   Various spatial analysis tools and cross filters for data in different nature conservation topics.

By the end of 2019, the information system had more than 1,800,000 records, the majority are field observations and nature conservation related data, reported using the Cyber Tracker application. The innovative information system, that serves more than 500 active users, facilitates data-driven biodiversity management, and enhances knowledge-based biodiversity conservation decisions. See Section II, National Target 16 (Management).

Species Occurrence Records Accessible Through GBIF

There were 1,224,980 species occurrence records accessible through GBIF for Israel in 2019. For the period for which data are available, the number of species occurrence records accessible through GBIF increased at an annual rate of 9.05%.


Assimilation in management and decision making

As yet, there is no whole-government approach for assimilation of biodiversity data in governmental ministries. But, besides the MoEP, the number of ministries that are assimilating biodiversity data at least in some of their projects has risen from 5 (MoARD, MoEN, MoF, and MoEC, MoD) in the 5 Israel report to the CBD, to 11 (MoARD, MoEN, MoF, MoEC, MoD, MoTR, MoCH, MoJ, MoST, PMO, MoI) in 2019. Also, the extent of implementation has risen. For example, the number of units assimilating biodiversity data at least in some of their projects has risen from 1 to 2 in the MoF, and from 4 to 7 in the MoARD.

Practical guides for local authorities: In 2015, A Guide to the Planning and Management of the Open Landscapes in Regional Councils was published by the RCA. The Guide is an innovative tool designed to empower opportunities and reduce threats to open landscapes through the creation of an operational "toolbox" for planning and managing open landscapes at the regional level and led by the regional councils – while embedding internal and structured processes into the patterns of the ongoing activities in the regional councils.

In 2017, The MoEP published a policy paper for Urban Nature in Municipalities. The policy paper is an implementation tool following the urban nature surveys that have been conducted in 50 cities so far.   

In 2018, The Ministry of Interior (MoI) published a practical guide on sustainability as a development tool in local authorities. One chapter explains how local authorities can create a biosphere, to protect local nature while promoting business, agriculture, tourism, and other development activities.

In 2019, the RCA published A Guideline for Planning Settlements in Rural Areas. The guide details how to plan settlements, agriculture, environmental protection, and tourism based on sustainable development principles.

EN
Measure taken has been effective

A large body of scientific data accumulated during the discussed period (2015-2019), regarding various aspects of biodiversity, including national, regional, and institutional level research, monitoring and surveys. Information platforms were established, improved the accessibility to the data, and provided better ability to assimilate biodiversity considerations in management and policy.


EN

Scientific knowledge base:

Main outputs of the Israel National Ecosystem Assessment (INEA):

·      Key Findings Report: A printed document summarizing the key findings, based on the information collected for each service and topic of each chapter. Each chapter includes an introduction, key-findings and summary of the change-causing factors that affect the services presented by the chapter.

·      Detailed reports of each chapter: Contain all the relevant information collected during the project work, which served for the analysis of the key findings of each chapter, including a full reference list of the literature used in each chapter. The chapters will be available for download from the project’s website.

·      Synthesis report: A printed document with a very concise summary of the project and its main findings along with insights emerging from it in several areas. The synthesis is intended for a wide audience of readers, including stakeholders, policy makers and the public, and its main part is devoted to questions and answers relevant to decision making regarding the future of open landscapes and nature in Israel.

Ecological surveys:

·      Endangered plants survey: The multi-annual endangered plants survey and distribution monitoring is conducted by OLI’s survey unit (SMNH), Starting from 2013. Each year the steering committee sets-up a survey program, where endemic threatened plants were surveyed first, then sub-endemic, extremely rare, and newly discovered species. The most vulnerable habitats and regions were surveyed first: The Coastal Plain, Deep heavy soils, and Aquatic habitats. Every year approximately 15 species have been surveyed in 50-100 sites. By the end of 2019, ca. 80 species were surveyed. The study indicated on local extinctions, population size trends (decline/expansion), and possible threats to each species. The survey is used for revaluation of the status of the surveyed species (see also Section II, National Target 17).

·      Urban Nature Surveys - For the past decade, the MoEP has supported and funded "Urban Nature Surveys". The primary goal of these surveys is to create an overall data base of the existing natural sites, characteristic fauna and flora and phenomena within each municipality. This information represents the first step towards the development of local urban nature policies and practices that constitute the basis for all activities in urban nature sites. The data can also assist in bringing urban nature sites to their optimal condition and preserving them and their functions, developing recreational activities and community programs that allow people to connect to their natural environment. Since 2008, 50 local authorities from all parts of the country have completed urban nature survey. Some of the surveys have discovered rare, endangered or near extinct species. On one occasion a new species to science was suspected to be discovered and analysis of this plant is still ongoing. 

·         Marine mammal surveys: The IMMRAC is a non-profit NGO dedicated to the study and conservation of cetacean populations that inhabit the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf of Eilat, under the academic supervision of the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, University of Haifa. Between 2015-2019, IMMRAC conducted visual and acoustic surveys in coastal and open waters along the Israeli coastline, accompanied by photo-identification methods, to assess marine mammals’ distribution and abundance, and obtain relevant biological information; Stranding data collection network was also established, aimed to assess the occurrence of anthropogenic-caused mortality; and citizen science data collection application was also implemented, in order to expand data collection resources. Some of these works were published in two peer-reviewed papers, one book chapter, one M.Sc. thesis, and three proceedings of scientific conferences. 

National Monitoring System:

Main findings of the State of Nature reports 2016, 2018 (HaMaarag):

·      Trends at the national level:

Cartography and conversion of land-cover: Approximately 67% of Israel’s land cover is natural habitats and planted forests. Together with 19% of agricultural lands, open landscapes cover about 86% of the total land area of Israel. The rate of land-cover conversion between 2014–2017 was the highest in the last 20 years, during which, approximately 55 km were converted from open landscapes into built-up areas. Another 53 km were converted from natural landscapes and planted forests into agricultural lands. Most Israel’s built-up areas and agricultural lands are situated north of the city of Beer Sheva, in the Mediterranean-desert transition zone. Conversion rates in this area are four times higher compared to the area south of the city. Besides direct destruction and degradation of natural habitats, development of settlements and infrastructure also cause habitat fragmentation and edge-effects on the remaining adjacent natural areas. The index for open landscape continuity shows that in the north and center of the country, the level of habitat fragmentation is extremely high, whereas the south of the country still contains relatively large and continuous open landscapes. Fragmentation caused by Infrastructure and settlements have substantially negative effects on open landscapes and natural resources. It is thus imperative to consider these effects on the state of nature in Israel when planning future infrastructure development and expansion of settlements. Although since 2015 there has been an increase of 6% in nature reserves area and 5% in national parks area under the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), the existence of sustainable, functioning ecosystems, depends also on their size and connectivity to neighbouring ecosystems. Protection of the continuity of open landscapes, representing sizable and diverse ecosystems and habitats, is arguably Israel’s main challenge, present and future.

Flagship species: Flagship species are species with ecological, ethical, or public importance. Monitoring of such species by the INPA reveals that in the last decade, populations of the mountain gazelle, dorcas gazelle, acacia gazelle and Nubian ibex are stable. Nonetheless, these populations are small, and therefore sensitive, especially to extreme events with negative impact. Moreover, these species are all classified as either threatened or endangered globally, making the Israeli populations highly valuable. The population of the griffon vulture is apparently increasing in recent years, despite the collapse of the species main breeding colony in Gamla Nature Reserve at the Golan Heights. Approximately 20% of the current griffon vulture population are reintroduced from captive breeding and specimens brought over from Spain. Results from the KKL-JNF monitoring program in planted conifer forests, suggest that they might be suitable nesting sites for at least six species of diurnal raptors. Some of these species, like the long-legged buzzard, snake eagle and the Eurasian hobby, are of conservation concern. Beyond the importance of monitoring continuation, it is apparent that conservation efforts directed at the above species show positive results.

·      Trends at the regional level:

In Israel, abiotic parameters (geology, soil, precipitation, temperatures etc.) vary greatly over short distances, affecting ecosystems variability. This unique ecological diversity dictated the development of HaMaarag’s monitoring program around eight different ecosystems/landscape units: Mediterranean maquis, planted conifer forests, scrubland and herbaceous steppes, coastal plains sand dunes, Mediterranean-desert transition zone, loess plains of the northern Negev, Negev highlands and the Hyper-arid desert. The current initiative is designed as a question-driven monitoring program to identify trends and processes. Teams of experts determined the main impacts and threats for each of the above-mentioned units, and decided on the indicators for each impact/threat. The primary indicators for most of the units were woody vegetation, large mammals, and birds. Climate changes and anthropogenic developments (rural settlements, industrial infrastructures, military bases, and agricultural fields) were defined as principle factors affecting open landscapes.

Over 90% of land-cover in the hyper-arid south and the Negev highlands desert ecosystems are open landscapes, and land-cover conversions are relatively minor. However, anthropogenic developments and activities are significant at the local level, as settlements and agricultural fields become hot spots for invasive and commensal species. In the Mediterranean-desert transition zone, a region under heavy development pressure, natural lands and planted forests constitute approximately 35% of the total area. Differences in spatial distribution and activity of vertebrates between sites near and far from anthropogenic developments were observed in these monitoring units. Generalist, invasive, commensal, and Mediterranean species were found mainly near anthropogenic developments, whereas specialized, local species were found mainly far from anthropogenic developments. These effects again emphasize the importance of protecting substantial open landscapes, ecosystems connectivity, and the necessity for sustainable development planning.

In the loess plains of the northern Negev, it was found that rainwater-runoff-harvesting plantations, and extensive traditional Bedouin agriculture, account for changes in local communities of plants, birds, and reptiles. Here also, specialized, local species were observed at higher rates in natural loess habitats. These findings stress the ecological value of this unique habitat, and the ecological changes caused by land modifications activities.

In coastal dunes, another vulnerable habitat under heavy development pressure, dune stabilization processes account for changes in local plant communities. Significant differences in reptile and arthropod communities were found between northern and southern sites, inferring on this habitat’s diversity and heterogeneity. The phenomenon of differences in plant, bird and reptile communities in similar habitats situated in different geographical zones, was observed also in Mediterranean planted conifer forests and natural maquis.

These findings emphasize the importance of conserving these habitats across their geographical range. Generalist, invasive, commensal, and Mediterranean species comprised considerable portion of the bird communities in planted conifer forests. Generalist and commensal mammal species in Mediterranean maquis were observed in sites near settlements at higher rates compared to sites far from settlements, whereas species considered sensitive to anthropogenic activities showed opposite trends.

Bird community structure in steppes was affected by proximity to agricultural fields. Species typical to steppe habitats were observed more frequently far from agricultural land uses. In addition, bird communities differed between shrubs and herbaceous steppes. This phenomenon suggests that these two habitats should be considered as different ecosystems in terms of future conservation efforts. Analysis of high-resolution remote sensing data of woody vegetation cover in scrubland steppes, revealed an apparent trend of vegetation density increase near agricultural fields, probably due to the effect of irrigation water runoffs. In contrast, areas far from agriculture, where water balance is determined only by rainfall, exhibited a trend of decrease in vegetation density.

Additional monitoring programs:

Marine and aquatic monitoring: The national aquatic monitoring programs of the Sea of Galilee, the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Eilat, performed by the Kinneret Limnological Laboratory, IOLR, and the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat, respectively, have been running for several years, examining differences in both biotic and abiotic variables. The State of Nature reports also summarize the results of these monitoring programs that are relevant to biodiversity in open water, coral reefs and the intertidal zone habitats. In the Kinneret, densities of large fish were close or even below the minimal values recorded in 2011, most likely because of a steep decline in water levels. The number of immigrant species invading the Mediterranean Sea is constantly on the rise, resulting in continuing changes in community structure and dynamics. The overall condition of Eilat’s coral reefs is generally improving over the last 10 years (See Section II, National Targets 11 and 13).

Monitoring of wetlands: by ICAE (see above) involved indices based on aquatic macro-invertebrate communities to assess the state of water bodies. Findings suggest that rivers and streams of the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea basins support a high diversity of invertebrates that are indicative of good water quality. Yarkon and Kishon Rivers on the other hand, were characterized by a high diversity of invertebrate species that are resistant to low water quality.

Raptor nesting in KKL-JNF pine forests: In 2015, KKL-JNF initiated a long-term study of raptor nesting in pine planted forests. The raptors, who are at the top of the food chain, serve as a good indicator for the state of the habitat. Some of these raptors are endangered and may also serve as flag species for the conservation of natural and planted landscape. The aims of this research are to study the distribution and population trends of diurnal raptor nesting in mature planted pine forests, and the effects of forest structure and human activities on nesting success. Another goal is to increase the awareness of forest managers to the importance of raptor protection in planted forests, and to assist with statutory protection efforts on forested landscape in Israel.

Agroecosystems monitoring: Agricultural fields comprise 19% of Israel’s land cover. HaMaarag’s monitoring program to assess biodiversity in agroecosystems during 2014-2016, suggested that a long-term, specifically targeted monitoring program is needed in order to gain an understanding of the dynamics and interactions between natural habitats and agricultural practices, and their mutual impact on biodiversity.

Botanical monitoring: OLIs survey unit (SMNH) was in charge on the botanical monitoring program for HaMaarag. During these years, the following survey units (representing ecosystems in the monitoring program) were surveyed: Loess plains of the northern Negev (2015, 2016, 2018), Coastal plains sand dunes (2015, 2017), Mediterranean-desert transition zone (2016, 2018), Hyper-arid desert (2016, 2018), Mediterranean maquis (2017), Planted conifer forests (2017), Negev highlands (2018) and Internal sands (2017, 2019). Additionally, in the years 2016-2017, a botanical monitoring program was developed and employed for INPA, along the shores of the Dead sea.

National Freshwater Fish Survey: Long-term national freshwater fish survey in natural habitats had been conducted between 2014-2019. The objectives were: to monitor the local and invasive fish communities in Israeli freshwater habitats and characterize the condition of the streams based on the fish communities’ composition.

National Amphibian Survey: Amphibian survey is carried on a national scale since 2015, in over 140 water bodies from the southern coastal plain to the northern Golan Heights. A complete survey lasts 3 years, so 1 round was completed between 2015-2017 (data was analyzed and published), and the 2 round is ongoing. The survey is conducted in collaboration with INPA’s North, Central and Judea & Samaria districts. The objectives are to monitor the status of amphibian populations and winter ponds in Israel. The assessment methods of amphibian species risk status were reviewed, appropriate methods were selected accordingly, and re-evaluation of Israel's amphibian current risk status project was initiated.

Long Term Monitoring system (LTM) in mature Planted pine forests: was deployed by KKL-JNF across the country in 2013, as a monitoring system aiming to better understand the dynamics of mature pine stands, in order to support old-growth stands, enhance the natural processes and asses their regeneration and sustainability.

KKL-JNF managed forests: In recent years, KKL-JNF supports many long-term monitoring and research studies of endangered species. Examples include: The five Oncocyclus Irises species conservation plans in KKL-JNF forests, in collaboration with Tel Aviv University and INPA, aimed to understand population condition, detect changes over time, understand the population dynamics and ecological influences and search for new populations; Long-term conservation and monitoring program of endangered plant species in deep soils (Alluvium, loam and loess), many of them are endemic, in collaboration with The Hebrew University. Two conservation projects of critically endangered lizards: Be'er Sheva fringe-fingered lizard (Acanthodactylus beershebensis) and Schreiber's fringe-fingered lizard (Acanthodactylus schreiberi) were also supported by KKL-JNF in collaboration with The Hebrew University. Together with the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) and the University of Haifa, KKL-JNF established a long-term research and monitoring plan for the conservation of the vulnerable mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella) found forests; Another program is the raptor nesting in pine forests long-term monitoring aimed to study the distribution and population trends of diurnal raptor nesting in mature planted pine forests, and the effects of forest structure and human activities on nesting success.

EN

National Target 07 – Reduced land-use change of open landscapes

Land-use changes trends:

As of 2017, Israel's total open landscapes cover is 86% (figures from the 2018 State of Nature report published by HaMaarag – Israel’s National Ecosystem Assessment Program): 67% of Israel’s land cover is natural habitats and planted forests and approx. 19% is agricultural lands (cropland and orchards). The rate of open landscape land-use changes between 2013-2017 was high. A new measurement methodology (2013) shows that the total area of the terrestrial open landscapes area was reduced during these 4 years by 0.4% from 18,981 km (86%) to 18,891 km (85.6%).

For example, between 2015 and 2017, approx. 55 km was converted from natural landscapes (17 kmof them natural or afforested, the rest agricultural), into developed areas (including housing and infrastructure). Another 53 km were converted from natural landscapes and planted forests into agricultural lands. Only a few km of terrestrial natural land area was added due of the continuous drying process of the Dead Sea.

Israel is a small country with a very high population growth rate.  Thus, increasing demand for new housing and infrastructure is causing more pressure on open natural landscapes and is adding to land scarcity. The government has responded to housing demands and land scarcity by developing a National Housing Strategy (based on Govt. decision #2457), with targets that include a 1.5 million units to be built by 2040 and extra 1.1 million units in the national inventory (total of 2.6 million new housing units). The strategy emphasizes the need to minimize the damage to the open landscapes, with diversion towards building urban renewal. Within the four large metropolises: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Be'er Sheba, at least 35% of these units should be developed as urban renewal projects. In order to cater to Israel's development needs and as a response to the new Housing Strategy, the Israel Planning Administration is preparing a Strategic Plan for Open Landscapes (SPOL) that includes four chapters: ecology, water, heritage, and agriculture (see also Section II, National Target 03).

In practice, recent years results show the following trends:

Negative effects on Open Landscapes:

1.       A large part of low-density suburban style construction plots, based on old development plans, were approved for construction.

2.       In order to cater to increasing housing demands and rising of prices, the government established The National Planning Committee of Preferred Housing in 2014. The aim was to ease planning processes and allow quick development of large-scale high-density housing projects. Between 2014 and 2019, the committee approved 66 construction plans, adding 226,000 housing units to the planning inventory. Of these plans, 15 projects reached development stage by the end of 2019 (Committee Annual Report, 2019). Most of these projects have been planned on open landscapes in city outskirts and or on agricultural lands. Little attention has been given in these plans to the negative effects of the land conversation and biodiversity considerations in these plans were relatively small.

3.       Between 2015-2019, the National Council for Planning and Construction (in the IPA) recommended to the government to establish 7 new settlements (that are now waiting for governmental approval), and the government approved establishing 4 new (other) settlements.

4.       The total agricultural land at risk of conversion by the National Planning committee of Preferred Housing is 400 km. By the end of 2018, 72 km of agricultural land was to be developed (The influence of the 2014 National Committee for Planning and Construction of Preferred Housing Compounds on the identity of Israel, 2019, Hebrew).

5.       The National Planning Committee of Preferred Housing Compounds is also planning conversion of 32 km of natural landscapes to residential areas. Moreover, 24 km of these areas are planned on ecological corridors. This will have a detrimental effect on natural habitats, especially in central and northern Israel (The influence of the 2014 National Committee for Planning and Construction of Preferred Housing Compounds on the identity of Israel, 2019, Hebrew).

6.       In the past decades, the government invested heavily in development of new roads and highways and connecting the periphery to the center of the country. Although the last decade expirienced large government investments in improving the Israel Railway system and developing new lines, population growth and suburban expansion coupled with lack of investment in other means of public transportation, encouraged the use and purchase of private cars. Between 2010-2019, the annual rate of paved road area was constant at approx. 2.9 km, with a total of 15.4 km between 2015-2019.

7.       Currently, there are two existing wind farms (Ramat Sirin, Gilboa), at least ten farms at various planning stage, three wind farms under construction. Israel is a migratory path for over 0.5 billion birds annually (from Eurasia to Africa and back), as well as a Hotspot for bats (33 species, many endangered). Monitoring results since 2016 have shown that wind turbines have a serious effect on birds and an even more severe on bats. This makes windfarms a less preferred option for Israel. Furthermore, the turbines have an accumulation effect on the landscape and biodiversity, which is another concern. Although the new farms are required to implement stringent prevention measures to reduce bird and bat fatality, the success of these measures is still to be assessed (see Section II, National Target 17).

Positive effects on Open Landscapes:

1.       Urban renewal policy is being promoted by the government and in 2016, the Urban Renewal Authority was established. The defined target of 20% of the new units planned as part of urban renewal projects by 2020 is on track to be met (Governmental Urban Renewal Authority, Annual Report, 2019).

2.       The annual number of new low-rise residential buildings (1-2 story, houses) decreased by 27% from approx. 15,000 building between 2008-2013, to approx. 11,000 units between 2017-2018. At the same period, the annual number of new mid and high-rise residential buildings increased by 57% from approx. 21,000 to 33,800 units. Furthermore, the number of new apartments added to existing buildings increased by 270% from approx. 1,400 to 3,800 units.

3.       In 2016 an update of the Landscape National Outline Plan (NOP35/1), increased the protection measures and restrictions on ​​37 important landscape areas according to the specific characteristics of each landscape (traditional landscapes, historic landscapes and ancient routes, threatened aquatic landscapes and outstanding landscape views).

4.       Tools for the protection of ecological corridors is being strengthened by implementation in regional statutory plans. 

5.       In recent years, there have been hundreds ecosystem rehabilitation projects, resulting in an area increase of ecologically functional open spaces including wetland habitats, abandoned fishponds, and abandoned quarries (see details in National Targets 04 – Economic incentives, and 18 – Restoration of ecosystems and populations).Israel's renewable energy target in the Paris was set at 20% by 2030. In order to reach this target, extensive agricultural areas and water reservoirs were allocated for development of photovoltaic fields. In order to protect the open spaces, in 2019, MoEP published a policy for development of PV on roofs and existing infrastructure. The MoEP also conducted a survey and concluded that at least 50% of Israel's renewable energy can be achieved by construction of PV's urbanized areas.

Recently, there has been a slight shift in government transportation policy, and although extensive promoting and investing in public transportation is needed, other transportation congestion solutions have been developed such as Inter-city bus and carpool lanes, Park and Ride compounds and door to door public transportation initiatives (such as "Bubble" in the Tel Aviv Metropolitan). The biggest Park and Ride compound in Shafirim, provides free transportation to Tel Aviv and is currently being expanded due to high demand. The Jerusalem light rail is being extended to most parts of the city and the Tel Aviv Metro is under construction. Low Emission Zones have been promoted by MoEP and have been implemented in Haifa and Jerusalem and other cities are to follow.

EN
National Target 07. Reduced land-use change of open landscapes: By 2025, the rate of conversion of natural habitats and all open landscapes will be reduced by half, reducing new low-density housing construction, and conversion of agricultural land to constructed areas.
Measure taken has been ineffective

Since 2013, the land-use changes are monitored as part of the Israel State of Nature reports (see also Section II, National Target 06), and the calculations are based on orthophoto images provided by the Survey of Israel Center. The analysis shows how much land was converted from natural to agricultural or developed areas, and from agricultural to developed areas, and vice-versa. The results indicate that although specific actions have been made in order to achieve reduction in natural landscape conversion, overall, the conversion rate has not been halted, but increased.

EN

Human pressures indicator: One of the most important components of human pressures on the environment, is land conversion. Most areas north of Be'er Sheva, located in the Mediterranean-desert transition zone, are under medium-high human pressure. The south of Israel is mostly under low human pressure (MapX, UNEP). See more bellow under the Other relevant information part. As of 2017, land use (built or agricultural) north of the city of Be'er-Sheva, is 18.5%, while in the southern part of the country only 3.7% is developed land. Conversion rates North of the city of Be'er Sheba, are four times higher compared to the desert ecosystem south of the city. See accompanying map.

Global Grid of Probabilities of Urban Expansion to 2030: This indicator (Güneralp and Seto 2016) ranges between 0-100. It shows that many parts of Israel north of Be'er Shava have extremely high probability of urban expansion by 2030. Most of the coastline, the open landscapes around Jerusalem and around the Sea of Galilee have a score of 100, with high probability to be fully converted to urban area. Northern Israel has a medium probability score of 50-60. The Judean plains have a medium-low probability score of 34, and the Negev has a low probability score of 5.


EN

National Target 08 – Fisheries

Legislation & regulation:

In recent years, the Fishing and Aquaculture Division in the MoARD have developed a significant reform of Israel’s marine fishery policy. By the end of 2016, MoARD adopted new fishing regulations that revise the fishery legislation in a manner that encourages sustainable fishing. The new regulations were adopted by the Economics Committee of the Knesset (Israel's parliament) and imposed restrictions on trawlers fishing (half of the Israeli Mediterranean territorial waters were banned for trawlers fishing), prohibited the use of SCUBA diving equipment for spearfishing, raised minimum fish retention sizes for important species like groupers and Argyrosomus in the Mediterranean Sea and Tilapia in lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), increased the minimum fishing nets mesh sizes in seashore and trawler fishing, defined annual breeding and recruitment seasons per fish species, in which their retention is forbidden (between 1-3 months, depending on species), prolonged the annual closure period of Tilapia nesting area in lake Kinneret around the breeding season , set the maximum daily recreational catch limit to 5 kg per fisherman, and defined a "whitelist" of allowed fish species for aquaculture and fishkeeping (ornamental fish). In addition, in 2017, a reform in fishing licenses distinguished between commercial and recreational fishermen. To complete these efforts, a buy-back plan for decommissioned trawlers was established and enabled the reduction of the Israeli fishing trawlers fleet by 22% between 2015-2019, from 27 to 21 vessels (as of October 2019).

The Rosh Hanikra-Achziv reserve in the northern Israeli coast was declared in 2019. The reserve is approx. 10 hectares in size and is the first large scale marine reserve in Israel. Fishing is not allowed within the reserve, which makes the reserve as a protected source of fish that are allowed to be fished elsewhere.

The establishment of a marine ranger force:

In 2018, INPA was given authorization by MoARD to enforce the new fishery legislation. Having assumed the new responsibility, INPA established the Marine Ranger Force (MRF) with 20 new trained staff members. The MRF started its operation with a large-scale educational campaign, aimed to transform the fishermen’s awareness with customized illustrative and informational tools:

·   A Fisherman Information Book explaining the principal fishing regulations was issued in four languages: Hebrew, English, Arabic, and Russian.

·   A short animated social media clip targeted for the public highlights sustainable fishing policy and key regulations of the new reform, and their importance for the recovery of the fish populations.

·   Dozens of meetings with hundreds of fishermen across Israel were held. Separate meetings for commercial and recreational fishermen were conducted, in concurrence with the different fishing methods.

·   Media reports were followed up throughout the year.

Since the establishment of MRF and until the end of 2019, 6,376 individual fishing licenses, 428 recreational boat fishing licences, 911 commercial individual fishing licences and 407 commercial boat fishing licences were issued. 2,923 vessels and 129 trawlers were inspected, and 10 vessels were seized; 1,121 suspects were questioned, 1,482 incidents of prohibited driving on the beach and 140 incidents of prohibited fishing in nature reserves were fined, and 714 offense files were opened.

In summary, the initial educational campaign was successful in opening a communication channel between the MRF and the fishing industry in Israel to mainstream the new regulations. The supervision must be continued year-round with emphasis on offenders within professional fishermen. In the following year (2020), MRF intends to start enforcement activities in the deep sea as well.

Monitoring:

There is no dedicated monitoring program regarding the new fishing regulations: no soft-bottom monitoring in the prohibited vs. allowed trawling areas, and no monitoring of target fish species, with the exception of INPAs monitoring in rocky-bottom near-shore nature reserves (see below), and trawlers fish catch inspections of the Fishing and Aquaculture Division (MoARD). However, non-specific fish population monitoring is part of the expanded national Mediterranean Sea monitoring program, including a DNA barcoding project for all Mediterranean fauna and flora, and the establishment of a GIS biological database (see also National Target 06 – Knowledge base). It is possible that this monitoring will provide some indirect evidence for the success of the new regulations, but a more specific monitoring program should be implemented.

:

Trends over the years of 6 fish surveys conducted between 2015-2019 in rocky-bottom shallow-water near-shore marine reserves, indicate the successful role of the reserves in protecting the fish populations within the reserves, and especially in “Rosh HaNikra-Achziv” reserve, which is the largest protected marine reserve. Indicators include: higher biomass of all commercial species in the reserves, in comparison to equivalent unprotected control areas; higher frequency and biomass of

“Rosh HaNikra-Achziv” reserve. No such trends were found in non-commercial fish species, in comparison to nearby unprotected similar

outside reserves boundaries.


EN
National Target 08. Fisheries: By 2020, fishing in the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea will be sustainable, avoiding overfishing and damage to protected natural assets, endangered species and marine ecosystems.
Measure taken has been partially effective

Since April 2018 to December 2019, there has been a substantial increase in the number of fishing licenses applications and authorizations: a 31% and 93% increase in the number of commercial licenses, for boats and personal applications, respectively; a 190% and 245% increase in the number of recreational licenses, for boats and personal applications, respectively; and an increase from $162,000 USD to $475,000 USD (293% increase) in fishing licensing fees between 2017-2019. These substantial overall increases demonstrate a positive trend in the compliance of fishermen to abide the regulations and cooperate with the MRF. The fishing trawlers fleet decreased by 22%, and fish surveys in Mediterranean rocky-bottom coastal reserves indicate on their success in protecting the fish communities within the reserves.

However, trawler fishing is still allowed and is still a major concern.

EN

There is still no specific monitoring program to monitor the success of the new fishing regulations.

EN

National Target 09 – Forest Management

Forestry Legal Framework:

Most of the planted forests in Israel are managed by the KKL-JNF, which functions as the major tree planting organization in Israel, pursuant to a covenant signed with the Government of Israel in 1961. The National Outline Plan for Forests and Afforestation (No. 22) was approved in 1995 and 1,606 km of land was designated as forests. These forests areas are divided into several types, the main ones are planted forests and natural forests. KKL-JNF manages some other areas which are not within NOP22, so that the total area of planted forests under JFK-KKL management is 700 km. (National Outline Plan No. 1, adopted in 2019, incorporates and replaces NOP22 (see Section II, National Target 03).

Additionally, since 1995, KKL-JNF prepared 190 detailed statutory plans for forests, which are a legal requirement before actual afforestation, 160 have been approved, 13 of these were approved between 2015-2018.Following the statuary approval, the actual planting design is brought to the Professional Forest Committee (under NOP22), headed by the MoEP and other six representatives from government bodies and NGOs. The committee discusses the specific polygons, tree species, planting instructions, maintenance guidelines and other issues in order to ensure the ecological benefits of the forest and reduce negative planting procedures and afforestation impacts especially on ecosystems that are not naturally forests, areas that have protected species or the forest's surrounding areas.

As part of the Israel Land Authority's management schemes (ILA), some land areas, mostly in the Northern Negev area and smaller parts of the North, have been designated to KKL-JNF for afforestation and management purposes. KKL-JNF activities in these areas include mostly tree planting but also clean-up of illegal waste dumping and other hazards.

An additional level of protection of forests is provided by declaring them as forest reserves by the Forest Commissioner (MoARD). Between 2015 and 2019, the Forest Commissioner promoted the declaration of an additional 200 km of forest reserves. As of 2019, 1,024 km of forests are designated forest reserves (4.6% of the country's area).

Additional planted forests are within Nature Reserves (NRs) and National Parks (NPs), which by law are managed by the INPA. But, most afforestation activities preceded the declaration of NRs and NPs and is now very rare. The principles of logging management within NRs and NPs are formulated by the INPA's Forest Commissioner in two policy papers concomitant with the purposes of NRs and NPs by law.

The major planted forests in NRs and NPs are concentrated in Mt. Meron, Mt. Carmel, Mt. Gilboa and Judea hills, and the dominating planted tree species being the Aleppo pine (Pinus halaepensis). In addition, on coastal dunes and in some Mediterranean lowland habitats, river red gum eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus camadulensis) groves were planted.  For additional information on forest management by the INPA see Section II, National Target 16.

Forest Management Policy (FMP):

In light of the directives contained within NOP22, KKL-JNF published in 2014 an updated Forest Management Policy for Israel (FMP), which was officially adopted by the MoARD. Based on this new FMP, afforestation and reforestation policy is designed to supply ecosystem services based on the principles of sustainable development. The primary and derived goals of the FMP were described in the 5 Israeli national report to the CBD and will not be repeated here. The FMP furnishes an obligating professional basis for managing forests by KKL-JNF in a goal-oriented and sustainable fashion, defines and outlines the forestry goals in Israel and the planning and management principles that direct the formation of particular Master Plans for Forest Management.

In concordance with the FMP principles, currently implemented forest management policy relies more and more on natural processes, such as realizing the potential for natural regeneration of the forest, and less emphasis on planting, and on the use of local species of trees. The aims are to create a forest based on a mosaic design of vegetation formations and different levels of cover; to increase patchiness; and allow diverse habitats and ecological niches. As part of the actions to implement this concept, KKL-JNF launched two adaptive forest restoration management projects for forests affected by extreme weather events: Birya Forest after the severe snowstorm in 2013, and Neve Ilan Forest, after a large forest fire in 2016. These were accompanied by long-term monitoring focusing on natural regeneration of man planted forest.

Forests Master Plans:

To implement the FTP in forest management, preparation of forest Master Plans was initiated in 2013. These Master Plans consist of a holistic landscape approach that integrates various functionalities such as recreation, heritage, and biodiversity conservation, as well as the provisioning of various regulating ecosystem services. The forest design planning is based on the division of the forest into management units according to their designated functionalities or goals and the ecosystem services they supply. Each unit is then characterized for its desired vegetation type which appropriately provide the specific goals of the unit, and specific required forest management actions and priorities. Such Master Plans are coordinated with approved statutory and any other relevant plans. The degree of detail found in the Master Plan is more comprehensive than in the statutory plans. By 2019, 12 masterplans and long-term maintenance plans for forests were prepared, covering an area of 300 km, which is 20% of the required area in NOP22, and 3 more plans are now in preparation.

Among other targets, biodiversity conservation in the forests, protection of special and unique natural assets, and eradication of invasive species, are defined in detail as part of these plans. In addition, new policy instructions, professional definitions and methodology were developed and implemented, in order to protect natural assets and special habitats in in areas managed by KKL-JNF, during management actions such as forest thinning and afforestation.

Research and Monitoring:

In order to base KKL-JNF’s policy on sound scientific knowledge, and support better informed decision-making implement adaptive forest management, KKL-JNF operates several long-term monitoring systems (5 LTER stations, LTM system, water-soil-vegetation dynamics), and initiates dozens of research projects every year. Some KKL-JNF forests are also monitored as part of the HaMaarag national long-term monitoring program (for more details, see National Target 6 – Knowledge base).

KKL-JNF also established a new Ecology Department in 2019 and hired more ecologists
EN
National Target 09. Forest management: By 2020, planted forests will be sustainably managed according to the new forest management policy of the body in charge of afforestation.
Measure taken has been partially effective

Between 2015 and 2019, the new FMP was effectively implemented in KKL-JNF; 200 km2 of forests were declared as forest reserves; 13 statutory plans were approved; 12 master-plans and long-term maintenance plans for forests were prepared covering an area of 300 km2; long-term monitoring systems are operating; and dozens of research projects are initiated every year.

Forest management practices are usually followed by monitoring the following:

Species richness and species diversity of various systematic groups is monitored, when the goal is biodiversity; In case of the prevention of safety hazards for the public, the vulnerable areas are permanently monitored; Fire prevention practices effectiveness has been studied by various researchers especially in the Carmel area, and the results have been monitored.

 KKL-JNF is still planting forests and groves in habitats that do not support them (deserts, semi-arid areas). Better implementation of the FMP principles, with emphasis on protection of Biodiversity of these ecosystems together with the development more master plans and continuous activity of the NOP 1 Professional Forest Committee can address this obstacle. 

EN

In the case of Eucalyptus logging in Alexander stream National park, a Ph.D. study (Aviv Avisar, Tel Aviv University) demonstrated a gradual regeneration of local plant and animal communities.

Forest thinning – protocols for mapping protected species and unique habitats Thinning of the forest is the most significant maintenance activity in the Israeli planted forests, and essential for tree health natural regeneration of the forest undergrowth, and to the increase of its plant community diversity including protected species. However, direct, or indirect damage to specific species may occur during the thinning process. Hence, in 2019 a study was initiated in order to develop protocols for ecological surveys before thinning in order to map and mark protected species, unique habitats and large old trees, before thinning, in order to mitigate the damage during the thinning. In 2019, 5,000 km of forests were surveyed, important concentrations of endangered plant species were marked and protected, and preservation guidelines for field workers were defined.

Policy for endangered species conservation in the KKL-JNF managed forests:

As part of the implementation of the new Forest Management Policy, KKL-JNF designates broad areas of properties under its authority, for conservation of endangered species, communities and habitats, as part of the preparation and application of master plans and long-term management plans. One example is the definition of loam soils, kurkar sandstone and streams in loess soils of the Northern Negev, as endangered unique habitats for conservation in master plans and management plans of KKL-JNF properties in these regions.

EN