Nature Conservation Knows No Boundaries - and Now it’s Official
Nature protection and conservation is a tremendous and extensive mission, especially given the increasing threats and obstacles brought on by the accelerated development and constant population growth we experience in Israel.
Joining forces with NGO’s from other countries can provide a meaningful advantage in accomplishing such tasks, and SPNI is continuously working to establish these synergetic partnerships and even spearheaded a network of Mediterranean NGO’s engaged in coastal protection and marine issues through the Mare Nostrum network.
Another such partnership marked a significant milestone on March 10, with the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation in Berlin between SPNI and NABU and NAJU – the two leading nature conservation NGOs in Germany.
Moshe ‘Kosha’ Pakman, SPNI’s CEO and Senior VP’s Nir Papai and Yaakov Shaharbani ,and Gili Bezalel, Youth Department Head flew to Germany to meet with their German counterparts. They also held meetings with Dr Elsa Nickels, Director General of the German Ministry for the Environment and Jochen Flasbarth, Deputy Minister for Environmental Protection in Germany, where they discussed the shared environmental interests of Germany and Israel.
The work that preceded the signage spans a period of a year, but the initial story it stretches to 2011, thanks to a pre-army service volunteer at SPNI field school. Following the completion of his army service, he traveled to Germany to study, and as a zealous nature protection person he applied to volunteer with NAJU - a leading nature protection NGO. This experience led him to realize NAJU and SPNI share mutual interests and he introduced the two NGOs.
That initial step progressed to delegation exchanges, including a visit by SPNI team to a nature reserve managed by NABU located at Fehmarn Island on the Baltic Sea between Germany and Denmark and an important migrating birds stopover.
A total of ten delegations have been organized so far promoting the sharing of professional knowledge in the fields of nature protection, environmental education, birding, eco-tourism, urban nature, community gardens, civil monitoring and marine environment.
In addition, the three organizations have submitted a joint proposal to a German foundation to run an educational program for primary school students, focused on crane migration in Israel and Germany. The project will be coordinated by SPNI expert Nadav Israeli, head of the Hula Valley Birding Center.
Future programs that will be developed as a direct outcome of the cooperation memorandum include mutual surveys tracking the lesser spotted eagle migration route and whether the construction of wind turbines in Israel poses a threat to the birds, the creation of a “trail of the senses“ project based on a German concept, and placing “insectarium hotels“ at environmental education centers across Israel.