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Cyprus Leading Climate Change Actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East

In May 2018, a major international conference on “Climate Change in the Mediterranean and the Middle East”, took place in Nicosia Cyprus.

The Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East (EMME Region) is expected to experience changes in climatic conditions significantly above the global means. This will cause adverse impacts on societies, economies and environment that may exacerbate the already apparent geopolitical instabilities in many countries of the EMME Region, which is home to some 500 Million people.

Following this conference, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, H. E. Nikos Anastadiades announced that the Cyprus Government will take the lead in a new international Climate Change Initiative (CCI) aimed at addressing pressing challenges caused by climate changes and their impacts in the EMME Region. This intent was communicated to all European countries, the European Parliament, the leaders of the EU Mediterranean countries and most of the Governments of the EMME Region and was largely welcomed. The CCI was formally approved by the Council of Ministers as a Strategic Plan of the Cyprus Government, thereby assuming a coordinating role in the efforts of EMME countries to address and ameliorate climate change impacts in the Region and to advance mitigation measures in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

The presidential initiative, building on Cyprus’ excellent relations with countries in the EMME Region, will have a dual goal:

  1. It will advance EMME-focused Research aimed to a) derive at a detailed understanding and reliable projections of regional climate change processes, b) develop a policy toolkit for the amelioration of climate change impacts on various sectors and c) identify optimal adaptation and mitigation strategies and measures.
  2. It will also advance EMME-oriented Policy in cooperation with transnational and multinational stakeholders (EU and UN) and organizations (WMO, FAO, WHO) to facilitate the conversion of research findings into political actions. Such actions will aim at a) addressing specific impacts on distinct economic sectors and b) investigating possible/promising techno-economic scenarios that will mitigate adverse effects on the EMME countries.

The Cyprus Institute and its international partners, building on a substantial body of experience and expertise on climate change impacts on agriculture, public health, ecosystem development, tourism, water availability and on humanitarian and security issues will take a leading role I advancing these goals. This will entail a series of scientific and techno-economic studies that will support ministerial meetings and will lead to a major summit meeting of EMME countries in the intermediate future (November 2020). The Cyprus Institute will also support joint efforts of the Cyprus Government with various EMME Countries and UN, EU and other international initiatives in order to achieve the success of the CCI.

In so doing, it is planned to capitalize on the role of the Future Earth MENA Regional Center, which is hosted by the Cyprus Institute, to enlarge and expand the international network of leading scientists in addressing the challenges of Climate change and its impacts in the EMME- and MENA Region. Given the goals and objectives of Future Earth (FE) and its various components and programs, it is expected that the involvement of FE will significantly advance the progress to be made in the CCI of the Cyprus Government.