Among MASHAV initiatives have been the establishment of demonstration farms in Senegal and Kazakhstan.Israel’s role in the United Nations (UN) may be about to change for the better after news that the UN General Assembly gave preliminary passage this week to a resolution initiated and sponsored by the Israeli delegation.

The Israeli-sponsored resolution, “Agricultural technology for development,” calls on developed nations to share their expertise and experience with the Third World.

Passed by the General Assembly’s Second Committee by a majority of 118 favorable votes against 29 abstentions and zero objections, the initiative draws upon more than half a century of Israeli experience in international development under the auspices of the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Center for International Co-operation (MASHAV).

“Development has always been an issue of tremendous importance to Israel,” Israeli counselor Ilan Fluss told the General Assembly. “Ever since it’s earliest days of statehood and while still a developing nation, it has helped countless nations build capacities in a variety of fields around the world, including in our region, and to cooperate with our neighbors.”

MASHAV initiatives include blindness prevention programs in Kenya and Nepal, the establishment of demonstration farms in Senegal and Kazakhstan, and micro-credit training seminars for women in rural India.

By galvanizing the international community with a similar commitment to community development, Fluss said, Israel could make a global impact of even greater magnitude.

If the resolution receives final approval when it goes before the full, 192-nation General Assembly next week, it will go a long way towards ensuring that one of the UN’s key Millennium Development Goals – a 50 percent reduction in global poverty and hunger – is achieved by its target date of 2015.

At the same time, it will provide cause for domestic celebration as well. “For Israel, this is a very dramatic development, and an historic day at the UN,” UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman told The Jerusalem Post.

“This makes Israel a much more normal and acceptable member of the UN. One of our main aims is to not be a one issue country and to bring awareness of Israel’s excellence to the world.”