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07-06-2022 10:01

Speech of the Deputy Minister to the President, Mr Kyriacos Koushos, on behalf of the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, at the Ministerial meeting for the Climate Change in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME)

I would like to express the sincere apologies of H.E. The President of the Republic Mr. Nicos Anastasiades for not being able to attend today’s event.

As you most probably know, last night the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance and our beloved friend Zeta Emilianides passed away.

In this respect, the President, in honour and in respect to the memory of Zeta, has decided to avoid any public appearances.

To this end, I will address the speech on behalf of His Excellency.  


Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour and a great pleasure to welcome you at the Ministerial Meeting for the Climate Change in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

The participation of so many Ministers, renowned policy makers and scientific experts is indicative not only of the magnitude of the crisis we are facing, but also of our collective resolve to address its dire effects.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our region is classified as a global “climate change hot-spot”, with our countries already witnessing common challenges, such as:

Record high temperatures and protracted heat waves, devastating fires and deforestation, increased water scarcity, droughts, floods and extreme weather patterns.

Based on the above-mentioned observations, it became clear to all, that there is urgent need to immediately act and effectively address the negative consequences of climate change, based on sound scientific expertise and advice.

Through the scientific work that is now available to us, beyond gaining a better understanding of the situation and how the crisis will manifest itself in various sectors, we are also far more well-informed on how to mitigate the adverse effects of Climate Change.

A scientific work which was the result of the initiative we undertook in 2019 to develop a Regional Action Plan for tackling climate change and its effects in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East region, in various sectors, such as the Environment, Agriculture, Tourism, Health, Cultural Heritage and of course Water.

Through the implementation of the regional plan, we expect that Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East countries will:

  • Promote actions to reduce greenhouse and carbon gas emissions and adapt to climate change impacts;
  • Establish the necessary mechanisms for more resilient and competitive economies by switching to renewable and cleaner energy;
  • Improve access to climate change financial instruments and mechanisms;
  • Provide incentives to our businesses and industries so as to adapt and shift to sustainable and green technologies in order to increase their competitiveness in the global markets, and;
  • Create new green employment opportunities.

And taking this opportunity, I would like to thank Professor Papanicolas for his leadership and to express my gratitude to all the scientists who have contributed to the preparation of the thematic reports.

I would also like to stress my satisfaction that following the conclusions and recommendation of the 1st ministerial meeting in February 2022, we have proceeded with the establishment of an Interim Secretariat, supported by the Cyprus Institute in order to facilitate the work of the Initiative.

I am certain that with the contribution of all of you, this second Ministerial Meeting will be catalytic in finalizing the framework of the Regional Action Plan, and in defining the mechanisms of its implementation, that will lead to the event of October 25, 2022 when Cyprus will host the Heads of States and Governments of the region.

An event which will lead to the ratification and official launching of the Initiative, which I am confident, will constitute a historic milestone in the resilience and prosperity in Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Distinguished guests,

Further to our efforts to promote collaboration on addressing climate change at a regional level, at the national level we are determined to take all necessary measures so as to achieve the Paris Agreement goals and the ambitious targets set by the EU.

Cyprus was among the countries of the EU that supported the transition of the EU to carbon neutrality and we have already designed specific policies that will lead to implementing our obligations.

Indicatively, more than 500 million euro – that is 41% of the budget of our National Resilience and Recovery Plan for the years 2021 to 2026 - which aims at strengthening the country’s environmentally sustainable long-term growth, is devoted to investments and reforms that contribute to climate neutrality and towards green transition.

Distinguished guests,

We are compelled to take on urgent action to address climate change and I am certain that you will agree with me that the time to act is upon us.

And I am glad to attest that the massive participation of Government officials of our region, as well as of observers of international and regional organisations, aptly demonstrates that we share the same vision:

To look to the future with optimism and to use the climate challenge as an opportunity to proudly demonstrate what our countries can achieve when they join forces by cooperating and acting together.

I have no doubt that with the contribution of all of you today this meeting will be catalytic in finalizing the framework of the Regional Action Plan and for defining the mechanisms of its implementation.

I once more thank you for your presence and your invaluable contribution on our joint efforts in mitigating the effects of climate change and I look forward to welcome you once more on October 25 at the launch of the Action Plan.

Thank you for your attention.