Photo Credit: Haim Tzach / GPO
Presidents Herzog and Aliyev in Baku, May 30, 2023.

In the wake of President Yitzhak Herzog’s recent visit, it appears there will be increased cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan on the environment. Israel and Azerbaijan have already signed an agreement on environmental protection during the visit of Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to Azerbaijan, and Herzog’s visit will intensify it.

Fariz Ismailzade, the vice-rector of Ada University in Baku, noted that Azerbaijan is having issues with its water supply and water management: “The Azerbaijani president has created a new state agency to manage this problem. Israeli technology can greatly help us in agriculture with their desalination and drip irrigation technology, and many other innovations.”


According to Ismailzade, “the visit of the Israeli President greatly contributed to this process with trust-building, friendship, and getting to know Azerbaijan as a friendly country, and will result in supplying more technology, and in investments and technological assistance.”

Prominent Azerbaijani journalist Anastasia Lavrina told me: “Azerbaijan and Israel share a good experience of cooperation in various fields. The visits of high-ranking officials to Baku demonstrated Israel’s high interest in strengthening relations with Azerbaijan. Many documents were signed, and cooperation in all areas, including environmental protection, can now move into practice. We should expect an exchange of expert opinion, and cooperation on the highest level in increasing the possibilities for the efficient use of resources.”

According to Lavrina, “Israel has become an innovative superpower that creates the latest technologies in all areas, and eco-technologies are no exception. Israel is a world leader in the development of desalination technologies and water conservation. At the same time, solar energy is one of the main sources of renewable energy in Israel. In Azerbaijan, especially in rural areas, there are opportunities for using wind and thermal energy. In 2023, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan approved a strategy for protecting the environment for the next five years. Israel’s eco-technologies and expertise will likely become an important element in the process of developing Azerbaijan’s potential in using technologies to protect the environment.”

Azerbaijani environmental activist Dilare Efendiliyeva added: “The ecological situation in the world is a complex system that is sensitive to the slightest negative or positive human impact. The special difficulties for the ecology of Israel and Azerbaijan are the progress of agricultural technologies, the construction of new cities, as well as the hostilities in the territories of our countries, which to a large extent negatively affected the preservation of the environment.”

Efendiliyeva described Israel as one of Azerbaijan’s main partners in the reconstruction of Karabakh: “Israel is an innovator in many areas, including cybersecurity, food production, and water technologies. In this context, the smart village is Azerbaijan’s flagship project, and former Azerbaijani refugees are expected to move there in the coming weeks. Israeli companies are engaged in agricultural activities there, including building farms using Israeli technology. The first example of such cooperation is the village of Agaly in the Zangilan region.” By 2025, Azerbaijan will begin to export wheat to Israel, after utilizing Israeli agricultural technology to revive the war-torn Karabakh region. Azerbaijani wheat will help to solve the issue of global wheat shortages in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

Azerbaijani journalist Orkhan Amashov added: “Azerbaijani-Israeli relations are of strategic dimension and entail a wide plethora of elements, not being purely restricted to security and trade. Environmental cooperation stands out as a critical component in our bilateral ties and this collaboration has recently been reinforced.”

Amashov noted that 91 Israeli companies have registered their businesses in Azerbaijan: “We know that the majority of these are operating in the sector of agriculture and other areas with environmental bearing. Cooperation in the field of the environment will increase exponentially, the key focus being agriculture and irrigation.”

Environmental activist Adnan Huseyn concurred: “The visits of President Herzog and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to Azerbaijan undoubtedly underscored the growth and deepening of bilateral ties, as both countries express commitment to mutual support, respect, and friendship that have been years in the making. The potential for future environmental cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel is immense, considering Azerbaijan’s ambition to become one of the greenest countries globally.”

According to Amashov, “It is self-evident that Baku is eager to utilize some of the best Israeli practices when it comes to the efficient use of resources in line with the most advanced environmental standards. The gist of this cooperation is based on this simple reality.”

He added: “One of the fundamental aspects that make Israel very attractive to Azerbaijan is that despite its limited land resources and political predicament, Israel has managed to develop the best and most eco-friendly technologies to protect the environment efficiently.”

Amashov concluded: “This is what Azerbaijan aims to replicate in this age of heightened awareness that resources are finite and should be used with an eye to the environment. We are the first generation to recognize the impact of environmental damage and to implement measures to undo the sins of the past for the benefit of our children. Naturally, Israel and Azerbaijan are the trailblazers and role models for collaborative working to the benefit of all.”


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Rachel Avraham is the CEO of the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy and an Israel-based journalist. She is the author of "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media."