President of Cyprus urges Paris Agreement countries to rise to the challenges

President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has urged countries that have signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to rise to the challenges with the appropriate responsibility and only by acting collectively and with great urgency they can avoid the worst consequences of a rapidly warming planet.

In a speech at the International Conference on Climate Change in the Mediterranean and the Middle East: Challenges and Solutions that is underway in Nicosia, with the participation of world scientists from 35 countries, the President further remarked that Cyprus is already experiencing the serious effects of climate change.

The Conference is organized by the Cyprus Institute (CyI) and is under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Cyprus with support from the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus.

The speech was delivered by Minister of Education and Culture, Costas Champiaouris.

President Anastasiades said the findings contained in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are clear as Global warming is undisputable and human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.

President Anastasiades said we must rise to these challenges with the appropriate responsibility. Only by acting collectively, decisively and with great urgency can we avoid the worst consequences of a rapidly warming planet.

The President remarked that Cyprus, a Mediterranean island, located in an area that is already experiencing the serious effects of climate change, is witnessing prolonged periods of drought, increased temperatures, forest degradation and rare ecosystems.

He said Cyprus has become an Annex One to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and a Kyoto Protocol Party in 2013 and fully complies with the commitments and expectations of the International Community and the European Union and is actively participating in the joint efforts to protect the climate of our planet and secure the future of our people.

He reminded that Cyprus has already ratified the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, which establishes the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol from 1 January 2013 until 31 December 2020. Furthermore, Cyprus ratified in 2016 the new international agreement for addressing the climate change challenge, the well-known Paris Agreement.

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, he added.

With respect to Cyprus, President Anastasiades said the national target for greenhouse gas emissions is a 24% reduction compared to 2005 levels. In order to achieve this new goal we are focusing on the development of cleaner fuels, such as natural gas, and the development of policies and measures to further save energy through the use of renewable energy sources.

An important challenge is the reduction of emissions in the transport sector, which accounts for about 25% of all emissions in Cyprus. At the same time, other policies are focusing on agriculture, forestry, and waste management. Our new policies will simultaneously decrease our dependency on fossil fuel imports, enhance our competitiveness, and create new jobs while transitioning to a low carbon economy.

To address the impacts of climate change, he said, in May 2017 the National Adaptation Strategy was adopted. This Strategy aims to strengthen Cyprus capacity to adapt to observed and projected climate change and to effectively prevent and address the negative impacts of climate change in the most effective way.

Cyprus, a country that is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, strongly supports international and regional scientific initiatives and cooperation in order to address this challenge. Within this framework, our country is coordinating a project proposal titled Development of a climate change impacts and adaptation observatory.

The project Concept Note has been approved by the European Commission and we have recently submitted a Full Proposal to the LIFE 2017 call.

In the speech, the President further highlighted the role of education at all levels and all its forms is fundamental in the fight against climate change.

On behalf of the President of the Republic, Champiaouris assured that climate change governs all of our national policies. As Minister of Education and Culture, I would like to emphasize that climate change, through formal, non-formal and informal education, is infused in all sustainability goals, which are a priority of the Cyprus Educational System. Our goal is to contribute actively to the effort to form citizens who are inspired by the spirit of sustainability and also to form societies that will ensure quality of life for all.

Source: Cyprus News Agency