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Initiative Of The President Of The Republic On Climate Change

Initiative Of The President Of The Republic On Climate Change

The Cyprus Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment organized a Virtual Ministerial Meeting on 2nd of February 2022 with Environment Ministers of the countries taking part in the Cyprus Government Initiative to address the impacts of climate change in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East (EMME) region.

 

The main objective of the Ministerial Meeting, which was chaired by the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Dr. Costas Kadis, was to discuss the structure and the content of a Climate Change Regional Action Plan, based on the scientific results of the work of more than 240 eminent scientists from around the world. Moreover, the Ministers had the opportunity to discuss the organizational structure of the Initiative, which will consist of the Governing Council, the Country Offices and the Regional Secretariat.

 

The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, welcomed the participants  stressing that “The participation of so many renowned scientists and eminent policy makers from our immediate region, is a testament, not only of the magnitude of the threat posed by the climate crisis, but also of our readiness to coordinate synergies and share best practices”. In his opening remarks, Dr. Costas Kadis sent out the message that “Only by acting now and collectively, based on sound scientific knowledge can we avoid consequences of climate change in our region”.

 

It is worth noting that Ministers from a large number of countries from the ΕΜΜΕ region, attended the Ministerial Meeting, enriching the discussion with their valuable views and recommendations. Αll participants expressed their full endorsement of the Cyprus Government Initiative and their commitment to continue their support.

 

The Meeting was also attended by Mr. David Livingston, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, Mr. John Kerry, Mrs. Janet Rogan, COP26 Regional Ambassador for the Middle East and Africa, Prof Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations, Mr. Nikolaos Isaris, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Cyprus, Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment of the Arab Republic of Egypt, who will host the COP27 United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2022 and Dr. Grammenos Mastrojeni, Senior Deputy Secretary General and Head of the Energy and Climate Action Division at the Union for the Mediterranean.

 

In his intervention, Mr. David Livingston mentioned “On behalf of not only myself, but also Secretary Kerry, I would like to congratulate the Republic of Cyprus for launching the climate change initiative. The Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East will be one of the most affected regions on the planet, expecting higher temperatures, unprecedented heat waves and water scarcity. Thanks to the combined scientific efforts of the initiative’s participants, we have a much clearer picture of exactly what may come […].” The US Government, he concluded, supports the "Euro Asia Interconnector" project for the electricity interconnection between Israel, Cyprus and Greece as an important step forward in advancing regional integration, energy security, resilience and energy flexibility for years to come.

 

According to Mrs. Janet Rogan, “Climate change is a geopolitical and security issue every bit as much as it is an environmental one. […] The beauty of the approach in the Cyprus government initiative is that it systematically recognizes the interrelatedness of the challenges and threats and has just as systematically gathered data and done analysis to underpin a plan of action, based on evidence and under which progress can be measured”.

 

Prof Costas N. Papanicolas, President of the Cyprus Institute, who is coordinating the scientific component of the Initiative, emphasized in his presentation that if we do not proceed with the appropriate measures, the EMME region will experience even more the effects of climate change, with perhaps irreversible results.

 

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Kadis, underlined that the feedback received by the participants during the Ministerial Meeting will be utilized for the development of a commonly accepted Action Plan, which will provide scientifically sound measures, suitable for EMME region, applicable and economically feasible. “We want this Action Plan to be dynamic and open to new ideas and new participations, leading to climate projects and services, complementary to national plans. We hope that it will promote the launching of the necessary transboundary actions which could attract international attention and support”, said Dr. Kadis.

 

The Action Plan will be discussed and finalized in a follow-up Ministerial Meeting on 7th of June 2022, which will be hosted in Cyprus, and approved by the Heads of States in a Regional Summit that will take place next October.

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