Fabius becomes Honorary Doctor of European University Cyprus, calls for action on climate change

President of the French Constitutional Council and former Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Laurent Fabius, was awarded on Friday the title of Honorary Doctor of the science of Law at the European University Cyprus. Thanking the university for this honor, Fabius gave a speech, in which he called for a new alliance against climate change.

The ceremony took place in the premises of the European University Cyprus in Nicosia, in the presence of Cypriot government officials and diplomats.

Rector of the European University Cyprus Professor Kostas Gouliamos read out the resolution of the University to award Fabius the title which says that he has significantly contributed to the science of law through acclaimed international scientific activity.

Speaking about Fabius, the Rector said that it’s a great honor and privilege to award him with the title as he is also a leading voice on environmental issues and one of the most inspirational leaders in Europe and worldwide. He expressed full confidence that his knowledge and expertise will provide important insights for strengthening political, legal and environmental mechanisms as means of promoting legal framework for environmental protection.

Welcome to the community and family of the European University Cyprus he said.

The rector also expressed the university’s most profound compassion to the people of France for the tragedy that hit the historic cathedral of Notre Dame, which he described as a gift to the human race.

Fabius thanked the university for making him a member of our common family.

In his speech that followed, Fabius spoke about environment and law and recalled that a year ago he participated in the International Conference on Climate Change in the Mediterranean and the Middle East that took place in Nicosia organized by the Cyprus Institute. He said that in terms of climate action, the situation today is worse. He said that there is no other solution than to act more urgently.

It is our own responsibility towards present and future generations to save the environment. It is a question of survival, he warned, saying that we must take our responsibility seriously.

This means, he said, that the time has come for a sort of a new alliance for our planet.

Fabius said that we are facing a major environmental challenge, which is the most important challenge of our time. In various domains the red alert is on, ie as regards to climate. He said that the past four years have been the hottest years ever recorded and said that Cyprus and the region are particularly concerned, as there could be a possible rise for the end of the century in the region of 5 to 6 degrees.

He underlined that the Cyprus Institute initiative to coordinate efforts of countries of the region to tackle the impact on climate change is very useful.

He spoke about the climate change impact on health, massive immigration, droughts, floods, saying that acting to prevent environmental destruction is acting to ensure security for present and future generations and it is a question of peace or war.

Denial is not a policy, he warned.

The challenge is very clear, it is the survival of human kind, he stressed.

He said we need a new alliance for the planet.

The first element of this new alliance is that we need a new alliance with the living world. He noted to that end that some states have even given legal rights to mother earth. Secondly, he said, we need a new alliance between states. He explained that law varies from one state to the other but environmental issues have no borders. We need more solidarity between states to fight against environmental destruction, he went on to say. Fabius noted that the Paris Agreement has created a new momentum, but now it is indispensable to apply it and go further.

We now also need a genuine international treaty gathering various principles related to the environment, the rights and duties for individuals, companies and states, Fabius noted, saying that this treaty is within our reach. The ambition of this global pack for the environment which is currently discussed at the UN, is to give legal force to international major environmental principles, he added.

If we achieve it, it will reinforce the protection of the environment for the present and future generations, he said, and I thanked Cyprus for its support on this project.

He also said that we need an alliance between the civil society, companies, NGO’s, regions, cities, universities, citizens etc. We need a new alliance between generations, he said, and referred to the pupils’ actions around the world for the climate.

Acting dean of the School of Law, Dr Constantinos Tsimaras, also took the floor, speaking about the work and accomplishments of Laurent Fabius in the fields of politics and environment. President of the Council of the university Dr Christoforos Hadjikyprianou also congratulated Fabius.

Source: Cyprus News Agency