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Partnering for Environmental, Social and Economic Strength

 

The five heads of local authorities in the Partnership for Regional Sustainability met this week at Ramat Hanadiv to discuss their intentions and the course of action that can help realize their shared vision for 2017 — and gave a unanimous thumbs-up to ongoing cooperation.

The heads of the five local authorities — Alona, Binyamina-Givat Ada, Jisr az Zarka, Zichron Ya'akov and Hof Hacarmel — met with the executive director of Ramat Hanadiv and the Regional Partnership's teams for strategic planning, management, and implementation in order to summarize the progress of the Partnership's planning processes and the means to implement them in 2017.

At the meeting, Amitai Har-Lev, director of the strategic process, presented the Partnership's vision, and the goals and activities that derive from it.  The main points of that vision, as he described it, are: 'To ensure a space that benefits from environmental, social and economic strength... The communities in that space implement the principles of sustainability and act continuously to improve the state of the human, economic and ecological environment. And the local authorities work together with a shared strategy to realize this vision'.

The projects already being carried out in the shared space were presented, among them: Sustainable gardening in some of the authorities; designated parking for car-poolers at the train station; rehabilitation of Nahal Taninim; a leadership course for regional sustainability; dozens of projects in the educational system; and 30 educational and community initiatives to further environmental awareness and conservation.

The authority heads reacted positively to all the subjects, raising their own ideas about dealing with them. Everyone  supported the processes already in place and were enthusiastic about continuing to work together.

The head of the Hof Hacarmel local council, Carmel Sela, expressed his belief in regional cooperation, noting that because the towns and villages in the area are not defined as part of Israel's 'periphery', it's extremely important that they be linked to each other and pool their resources. 'The secret of leadership', he said, 'resides among those who live in the area, and it is up to us to teach them how to connect with leading personalities in every part of our shared space'. 

Arieh Sharon, head of the Alona local council, particularly mentioned the significance of coexistence between residents, nature, and agriculture, and the connections forged between the communities of the area and their different cultures, 'especially regarding our neighbours in Jisr az-Zarka. This is where we can really find the value added of our partnership', he said, 'and that's why it's worth focusing on these aspects of it'. The head of Jisr az Zarka's council, Murad Amash, added that he expects the heads of the stronger authorities next door to help Jisr and support his efforts 'to put Jisr az Zarka on the map'. 

The head of the Binyamina-Givat Ada council, Pinky Zuaretz who's played an active role in these processes since their inception, recommended that the various Partnership teams raise their concerns with their respective authority heads. Clarifying these issues, he pointed out, emphasizing that we expect to see intervention and action, can help focus and streamline the authorities' handling of them.

The meeting's participants also welcomed the incoming head of the Zichron Ya'akov council, Ziv Deshe,  who till now has been taking part in the Partnership's leading forum as a citizen activist.

 

How can we promote a sustainable regional economy? Is the coexistence of nature, agriculture and humans even possible? And how do we encourage sustainable transport in the region?
In recent weeks, three multi-participant working groups have been grappling within these three challenging issues within the framework of the ‘Partnership for Regional Sustainability’ initiative, established by Ramat Hanadiv.
In the region surrounding the Nadiv Valley a partnership was established to connect five neighboring councils: Alona, Binyamina-Givat Ada, Jisr az Zarka, Zikhron Ya’akov and Hof HaCarmel. During the last year the partners, together with Ramat Hanadiv, have worked to improve the quality of life and wellbeing, and the state of the environment, using a sustainable, regional approach. The above issues were chosen during October by residents and interested parties from the five member councils as the most urgent for advancing the region.
The working groups will meet several times during the coming months to formulate a future vision and clear targets for achieving it. The first two working groups, each comprising 25-30 participants, met in December and the sustainable transport group will meet in January. The rationale is that the multi-interest group discussion of the issue produces new insights and abilities for mapping conflicts and finding ways to solve them. They will meet again to define clear aims that will generate a region-wide effort for their accomplishment.
In addition, within the framework of the partnership, there is a growing movement to encourage environmental, community-based and educational initiatives throughout the region.
The council heads describe the reasons for establishing the partnership in this video, that was presented at the ‘Councils Cross Borders’ conference that took place this month in Zikhron Ya’akov.

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