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18-05-2018 21:10

Address by the President of the Republic Mr Nicos Anastasiades at the dinner organized on the occasion of the International Conference on Climate Change

It is a great pleasure to welcome you tonight at the Presidential Palace on the occasion of the International Conference “Climate Change in the Mediterranean and the Middle East: Challenges and Solutions”.

First and above all, I would like to express my deepest appreciation and congratulations to the Cyprus Institute for organizing this Conference which addresses one of the most important challenges for our region for now and the years to come: Climate Change and in particular the impact of Climate Change in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. 

I am well - aware, through our various government departments, as well as the work of the Cyprus Institute and their network of partners in the region, that our region is particularly vulnerable to the expected increase in droughts, heat extremes and other consequences of Climate Change, which, inevitably, might disrupt social cohesion.

It is no consequence that already many countries in our region, including Cyprus, are already experiencing a rise in temperatures and increases in freshwater scarcity, forest fires, frequency of droughts and growing rates of desertification.

Since we are located at the heart of this geographical region and as the only EU country in the Middle East, we are cognizant of the responsibility to be proactive both in implementing adaptation measures for our island and in assuming a leadership role for mitigating the impact in the wider region. 

The presence here today of some of the most eminent representatives of the international scientific community, the regional political leadership, international organizations and the private sector, is the best testament to the importance and relevance of this conference, which we gladly hosted.

It would take me most of the evening to acknowledge all of you, but I must in particular welcome Mr. Laurent Fabius, since, and it is not an exaggeration, the historical success of the Paris Agreement, which the Republic of Cyprus fully supports, is owned to him. In this regard, I wish to also stress that Cyprus also fully supports the subsequent French initiative for a Global Environmental Pact.

Please allow me to also welcome Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary - General on the Sustainable Development Goals and Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, whom we will have the pleasure of hearing tonight.

 

Not to mention, amongst others:

  • Dr. Abdalah Mokssit (Secretary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).
  • Professor Édouard Brézin (Former President of The French Academy of Sciences in Paris).
  • Professor Richard Cooper (Professor of International Economics, Harvard University, Former Under-Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, USA).
  • Professor Anastasios Giannitsis (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, Former Minister of Interior, and of Foreign Affairs).
  • Professor Joanna Haigh (Co-Director Grantham Institute, Imperial College London).
  • Professor Helal Hany (Cairo University, Former Minister of Higher Education, Egypt).
  • Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University , USA Director of UN SDSN).
  • Professor Petteri Taalas (Secretary General Of The World Meteorological Organization).
  • Dr. Assia Alaoui  (Ambassador at Large of Morocco).
  • Profeddor Refaat Chaabouni (Former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Tunisia).
  • Mr. Lassina Zerbo (Executive Secretary of CTBTO).
  • Dr. Khaled Toukan, Director of SESAME.

I thank you all for coming to Cyprus and to the Presidential Palace, and I wish every success to the deliberations of the Conference.

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RM/EI