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Cyprus seeks to coordinate 15 countries of region on climate change action, Minister says

Cyprus government seeks to bring together fifteen countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East to act together against climate change that strongly affects the region, as Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Costas Kadis told CNA.

As “Politis’’ newspaper reports Thursday referring to the issue, the special adviser of the UN Secretary General for Sustainable Development who will visit Cyprus early 2019, is preparing a document on climate change in the region.

Commenting on the initiative  of Cyprus, Kadis told CNA that “the aim is to develop an action plan to address climate change but also to address the specific features of the region and to develop these actions at regional level in a coordinated way “.

He added that Cyprus, could play this coordinating role, with the scientific support of the “Cyprus Institute”, an internationally recognized foundation in the field of climate change. The initiative has also the support of the state, since it was initiated by the President of the Republic himself.

Fifteen countries will be invited from Nicosia to participate in the actions against climate change. Apart from Cyprus these countries are Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

As Kadis said, at this stage the government makes the first contacts with these countries, while the initiative was officially presented to the leaders of Greece and Israel at the recent tripartite conference in Beersheba.

Asked whether Turkey will be willing to take part in such an initiative of the Republic of Cyprus, Kadis said that they could not make any country participate, but Turkey will also be invited.
“We think that this initiative is very important and it is of interest to all countries,” he said.

He added that contacts with countries are being made in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry. He also pointed out that the aim is to also involve international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the World Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and others.

Kadis explained that the initiative of the Republic of Cyprus was not on a theoretical level but included a concrete proposal with eight phases – milestones to be announced after the completion of the consultations phase.

The initiative was launched after an international conference of the “Cyprus Institute” in 2018, where international experts on climate change were invited to study the impacts in various areas.

The President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, announced last June that Cyprus could take a coordinating role for regional action on the issue, as a contribution of the wider region to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Last week the Minister has also briefed Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete, on the initiative, who, according to Kadis ,asked for a detailed presentation of the proposal to see how the EU can contribute and support the initiative.

(Cyprus News Agency)

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