Ali Serim
Climate Advocate

Israel Should Help SIDS on Climate Change

Opening ceremony of 4th International Conference on SIDS - Photo Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

A few weeks ago, the world listened to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev addressing participants at the 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States, “Charting the Course Toward Resilient Prosperity,” held in Antigua and Barbuda. He stated, “During our COP29 Presidency, addressing the challenges posed by climate change to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) will be among our priorities. We are planning to hold a SIDS Summit during the Baku COP. We will do our best to ensure that the voices of SIDS are heard loud and clear.” Today, Azerbaijan is emerging as a leading advocate for SIDS, recognizing their priorities and building alliances to provide timely solutions for humanity and combat climate change, which should include partnerships with Israel to expand and accelerate this vision.

In our intricate contemporary world, marked by unprecedented climate challenges, SIDS find themselves in a dire struggle for survival. Spread across the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Oceans, these nations are exceptionally vulnerable to the ravages of climate change. Rising sea levels, intensifying storms, and deteriorating marine ecosystems threaten their very existence. Israel, with its unique capabilities and innovative climate technology, is positioned to be a crucial ally in helping SIDS combat these formidable challenges.

Shared Vulnerability and a Moral Imperative

Israel and SIDS share a common vulnerability: scarce natural resources and a heightened sensitivity to environmental changes. This shared plight forms the foundation for a natural alliance, driven by a moral imperative to aid those who, despite minimal contributions to global carbon emissions, suffer disproportionately from its consequences. Israel was built almost from scratch in the aftermath of World War II, lacking significant infrastructure or natural resources. This historical context makes Israel a compelling benchmark for SIDS, which face similar challenges. For Israel, assisting SIDS is not merely a strategic move but an ethical duty.

Technological Innovation and Expertise

Israel stands at the forefront of cutting-edge technology in water management, agriculture, and renewable energy—areas where SIDS face critical challenges. Israel’s desalination and water recycling technologies could be lifesaving for SIDS grappling with freshwater scarcity. Likewise, Israel’s expertise in solar energy can help these island nations harness their abundant sunlight, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and paving the way for energy independence. Israeli Eco Wave Power and SDE Energy have developed significant technology for converting the energy from sea waves into electricity which can also help SIDS.

Avi Jorisch’s book “Thou Shalt Innovate” profiles the remarkable Israeli innovations that are transforming the lives of billions worldwide and showcased me about Israel’s disproportionate role in solving significant global issues. This role stems from the spirit of tikkun olam, a Jewish concept meaning “repairing the world.” According to Avi, this ethos drives Israelis to leverage their technological and scientific expertise for the greater good, contributing to global well-being far beyond the nation’s size. Learning about such concept, I envision a larger role for Israel in providing assistance and guidance to SIDS.

Promoting Global Climate Leadership

Supporting SIDS will allow Israel to cement its status as a global leader in climate action. This leadership extends beyond technology transfer; it sets a precedent for international cooperation and solidarity. It sends a powerful message to other developed nations about the importance of supporting vulnerable countries in their climate adaptation and mitigation efforts, aligning with global climate goals.

Assisting SIDS in their climate crises also presents Israel with an opportunity to strengthen diplomatic ties with these nations and their regional allies. This collaboration can foster goodwill and open new channels for political and economic partnerships. Additionally, it can amplify Israel’s influence in international forums, particularly in climate policy and sustainable development discussions.

Desalination Technology to Address Water Scarcity

Freshwater scarcity is a pressing issue for many SIDS. Israel’s world-leading desalination technology, developed since 1966 by Sidney Loeb, a Jewish-American chemical engineer working in Israel, can provide a sustainable solution. Partnering with countries like the Marshall Islands and Maldives to build desalination plants would secure a reliable water supply and foster strong diplomatic ties.

Solar Energy Projects for Energy Independence

Many SIDS, such as Fiji and Vanuatu, struggle with high energy costs due to reliance on imported fossil fuels. Israel’s expertise in solar energy can help these islands achieve energy independence by setting up solar farms and providing energy storage technology. Collaborating with the Pacific Islands Forum to implement renewable energy projects can demonstrate Israel’s commitment to sustainable development and strengthen bilateral relations. From 26-30 August 2024, the 53rd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting will be hosted by the Prime Minister of Tonga Hu’akavemeiliku Siaosi Sovaleni which will serve multiple critical functions to announce various pressing urgent issues and welcoming every opportunity to promote stronger international cooperation on climate change mitigation as well as energy independence.

Agricultural Innovation for Food Security

Israel’s advancements in agricultural technology can significantly benefit SIDS. Implementing drip irrigation systems and other water-efficient farming techniques can help countries like Barbados and Seychelles improve agricultural output despite limited freshwater resources. Such initiatives can enhance food security and economic stability, deepening diplomatic relations through shared knowledge and mutual benefit. Companies like CropX, which integrates above-ground datasets with real-time soil data measured by proprietary sensors, and Netafim, which delivers tailor-made irrigation and fertigation solutions, are examples of Israeli innovations that can revolutionize farming practices for SIDS. These examples represent just a snapshot of the diverse innovations in Israeli Agtech. From precision agriculture and drone technology to Biotechnology and irrigation solutions, Israel’s agricultural technology sector continues to redefine the possibilities for sustainable and efficient farming practices which are impossible to have access for SIDS with their developing economies without any support.

Joint Environmental and Conservation Programs

Collaborative efforts in environmental conservation can enhance diplomatic relations. Partnering with SIDS like Palau and the Bahamas to implement marine conservation projects would protect coral reefs and biodiversity. Joint research programs and shared best practices in marine conservation would foster a sense of partnership and mutual respect.

Educational and Capacity Building Exchanges

Providing educational programs and capacity-building workshops focused on climate resilience can create strong people-to-people ties. Offering scholarships to students from SIDS to study climate science and technology at Israeli institutions, and hosting workshops in Israel, would build long-term relationships based on knowledge exchange and mutual respect. As an example, Reichman University’s School of Sustainability in Herzliya revealed the potential of AI-based ocean simulations to prevent pollution, degradation and large-scale damage to marine ecosystems which attracted attention of the Pacific immediately as a reminder of benefits of academic cooperation with Israel.


Israel’s support for Small Island Developing States in climate change mitigation embodies both a moral duty and a strategic opportunity. By leveraging its technological expertise and innovative spirit, Israel can provide indispensable assistance to these vulnerable nations, helping them build resilience and secure a sustainable future. This partnership transcends immediate climate challenges, fostering a spirit of global solidarity and shared responsibility. Israel has so much to offer for SIDS. As the world confronts the pressing specter of climate change, Israel’s proactive engagement with SIDS can illuminate a path of hope and exemplify the power of effective international cooperation during and after the 2024 UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 29), which will convene from November 11 to 22 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

About the Author
With a diverse and dynamic career background started more than two decades ago in Ernst & Young, I bring a wealth of experience in auditing, corporate consulting, entrepreneurship, climate advocacy and publishing. My journey began in auditing, where I honed my ability to scrutinize financial statements and processes, ensuring accuracy and compliance in various industries. Transitioning into entrepreneurship, I founded and developed businesses, implementing innovative strategies that drove growth and operational efficiency. As a corporate consultant, I've advised businesses on strategic decisions, helping them navigate complex market dynamics and enhance their competitive edge. My dedication to social and environmental causes is evident in my active role as a climate advocate, where I've collaborated with NGOs and engaged in volunteer leadership to promote sustainable practices and policies. Additionally, my diplomatic endeavors have involved facilitating discussions and partnerships between stakeholders to address global challenges, particularly in the realm of environmental sustainability. This blend of professional expertise and voluntary commitment highlights my comprehensive approach to contributing to societal and environmental well-being.
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