Israel’s leading environmental organizations awarded the “Green Globe”, Israel’s most prestigious environmental prize, to the SHATIL-coordinated Forum for Responsible Planning in a ceremony marking International Earth Day On April 22nd. Known as “Israel’s Environmental Oscar,” the Green Globe has been awarded annually since 2003 to individuals or organizations for outstanding environmental achievements and excellence.
The Forum was awarded the prize for saving Israel’s environment from potential disaster by eliciting cooperation between environmental and social justice organizations and incorporating public activism, legal, political and media efforts that elicited significant amendments to the proposed reform of Israel’s Planning and Building Law and lead to the delay of the reform’s legislation,
“By bringing together such a diverse group, not only did the Forum present a united front that empowered activists to face a concerted government effort; it also created a collective agenda for change,” said attorney Debbie Gild-Hayo ACRI’s Director of Advocacy and an active member of the Forum. “We were able to bring to light anti-social, environmentally harmful and anti-democratic aspects of the government plan, presenting a collective agenda that appealed to many Israelis.”
Since 2009 the Forum for Responsible Planning, a diverse coalition of more than 30 environmental and social organizations has leveled a successful campaign to prevent the government from legislating a new Planning and Building Law which would significantly harm Israel’s environment. In the four years since its establishment, the Forum succeeded in blocking the law’s legislation on numerous occasions, achieving its greatest success in March 2012, when it prevented a Knesset vote on the government proposal and effectively put an end to the proposed reform.
SHATIL played a critical role over the weeks leading to the 2012 Knesset vote, connecting activists to professional advocacy and media experts and coordinating an intensive campaign which included public demonstrations, a major public conference, petitions to policy makers, an internet campaign and a media blitz. Thanks to these efforts a genuine public outcry emerged, leaving the government no choice but to abandon its plans.
The decision to grant the award to a group integrating environmental and social activists reaffirms SHATIL’s core belief that environmental and social issues are intertwined and emphasizes our strategy of facilitating cooperation between diverse groups and agendas.
Despite the Forum’s success, its struggle is far from over. A new government plan — potentially as disastrous as the original reform — has emerged, highlighting the importance of continued action by a united front promoting a social, democratic and environmentally friendly planning policy. SHATIL will be at the forefront of this struggle both in its role as the Forum’s coordinator and as part of its many other environmental programs.