The scope, ambition and scientific findings of the Cyprus Government Initiative for Coordinating Climate Actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME) Region, whose scientific component is coordinated by The Cyprus Institute, were presented by the Cyprus Delegation at the 2021 UN Summit on Climate Change (COP26). The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Dr Costas Kadis, and Prof. Costas N. Papanicolas, President of The Cyprus Institute and Advisor to the President of the Republic of Cyprus and Special Envoy for Climate Change, highlighted the ongoing work of the Initiative at the worldwide Summit taking place November 1-12, in Glasgow.
In his intervention at the 2021 Summit, which marks a crucial global coming together to tackle the climate crisis following a pandemic induced break, President Anastasiades referred to the positions of the Republic of Cyprus on Climate Change. He stressed that Cyprus remains fully committed to achieving Paris Agreement and EU targets, aiming to achieve a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050, and announced that Cyprus will allocate >500 million euros until 2026, to adopt new policies and measures in line with these goals. His intervention, also focused on the scope and work of the Cyprus Government Initiative for Coordinating Climate Actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME) region.
The Initiative, which was launched by the Presidency in 2019, is developing a concerted effort by the countries of the EMME region to address the urgent challenges posed by climate change, through the development and implementation of a Regional Climate Action Plan. This is being done through a combination of diplomacy and scientific actions. The intergovernmental component of this work is coordinated by the Cyprus Government under the leadership of Minister Kadis, while the scientific component is coordinated by The Cyprus Institute and led by Prof. Papanicolas.
The ambition and scientific findings of the Initiative, were presented respectively by Minister Kadis and Prof Papanicolas on a COP26 side-event entitled “Climate Action in the Mediterranean” which was co-organized by the Cyprus Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, the Union for the Mediterranean, Clima-Med, and MedEEC. The event was attended by delegations from 15 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East (EMME).
Minister Kadis presented the Initiative stressing the urgent need flagged by the scientific community, for immediate coordinated action to effectively address the consequences of Climate Change in the EMME region, that the Initiative has set out to address. He highlighted that the Initiative has secured support from a number of Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, as well as from international organizations, and the European Commission, and noted that under the scientific coordination of The Cyprus Institute, regional Task Forces have been set up over the past two years to assess the effects and consequences of climate change in the EMME and provided recommendations in several relevant sectors including on energy systems, water resources, and marine environment.
Prof. Papanicolas presented the scientific findings from the above two-year study. He stressed that the EMME region is a climate change “hot-spot”, one of the focal points of the Climate Crisis currently in progress, and that negative consequences will manifest in this region in a most intense manner, such as heat waves, lack of water resources, the collapse of agriculture, migration flows, and other phenomena. Prof. Papanicolas stressed that the situation looks pessimistic and it will deteriorate significantly, if nothing changes. “The future will be catastrophic without reversal and the possibility of adjustment”, he poignantly noted, concluding that the Cyprus Government Initiative is aiming to address this challenge in one of the most sensitive areas in the world, the success of which will have worldwide impacts.
The next steps of the Initiative are a Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change that will be hosted by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus in February of 2022. The Ministerial Meeting will pave the way to an EMME Leaders’ Summit, planned for the Fall of 2022, which aims at the creation of a ten-year Regional Action Plan for mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis.