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12-12-2018 12:46

Intervention by Dr. Costas Kadis, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24)

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would first like to express my appreciation to the Polish Government for hosting this important event in Katowice. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

The world’s leading climate scientists have warned that there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5οC, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. The authors of the recent landmark UN IPCC report suggest urgent and unprecedented changes to reach the target. 

We have to act collectively, decisively and with greater urgency and ambition to avoid the worst consequences of a rapidly warming planet. We have to achieve the most ambitious targets of the Paris agreement.

Cyprus is a Mediterranean island state, located in an area that is already experiencing the effects of climate change. We have been witnessing prolonged periods of drought, increased temperatures, degradation of forests and rare ecosystems for some years now. Similar effects are observed in all countries of the eastern mediterranean region. Climate change is also evolving into the new major threat for the Middle East and North Africa. Further to the global efforts to address the climate change issue, stronger collaboration at a regional level is a necessity. 

Last May, an International Conference on “Climate Change in the Mediterranean and the Middle East” was organized in Cyprus by the Cyprus Institute – a leading research institution focusing, among others, on climate change. The conference was attended by eminent scientists and policy makers. Projections on climate change in the region, and their impacts on health, agriculture and economy were carefully examined in detail.

Following this conference, the President of the Republic of Cyprus expressed his vision for Cyprus to undertake an international initiative and assume a coordinating role in the efforts by the countries in our region to ameliorate climate change and its impacts. The work towards this direction has already commenced.

Furthermore, Cyprus has become an Annex I Party to the UNFCCC and a Kyoto Protocol Party in 2013. In this context, we fully comply with the commitments and expectations of the International Community and the European Union and we actively participate in the joint efforts to protect the climate of our planet and secure the future of our people. 

We have already ratified the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. As a member state of the EU we have submitted our “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution”, which is a binding target of an at least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. 

Dear friends,

COP21, with the Paris Agreement was a historic milestone for enhancing global collective action and accelerating the global transformation to a low carbon and climate resilient society. Now, we have to start the implementation of the Agreement. 

Without reducing the importance of the progress made so far on the Paris Agreement Work Programme, we should all be concerned that Parties collectively have not achieved the expected progress on controversial issues. We look forward to working productively with all Parties during the remaining days here in Katowice, with a view to a successful completion of the Paris Agreement Work Programme that will enable the Agreement to be fully implemented. 

The outcome of the Paris Agreement Work Programme to be adopted here in Katowice must provide a common set of rules for the implementation of all provisions of the Agreement in a balanced and tailored manner, applicable to all Parties.

Paris Agreement managed to bring the international community together after years of intense discussions and call for a contemporary, robust and balanced outcome. Now we have to respect the Agreement and implement it.

Thank you.

(MAK)