House President Says Mediterranean to be Affected by Climate Change
Limassol, Feb 20 - The Mediterranean area is one of the most unstable regions and is expected to be dramatically affected by increasing temperatures and the rising of the sea level, President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian said on Friday, addressing the opening of the meetings of the Special Working Groups of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, on climate change, environment, and the management of natural disasters.
Addressing the same event, President of the Democratic Rally and Head of the Cypriot delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean Nicos Anastasiades said the approach of the issue of climate change should be comprehensive and should include short-term, medium-term and long-term aims.
Mr. Garoyian also spoke to the foreign delegates about the Cyprus problem, noting that Turkey, as a candidate for accession to the EU, should abandon its unacceptable positions on Cyprus in order to avoid a collapse of direct negotiations on the island for a comprehensive settlement.
He said the Greek Cypriot side is ready for a just compromise, based on international law, noting that if Turkey insists on maintaining troops and settlers on the island and continues to ignore the UN decisions and EU principles and values, then the direct negotiations between the two sides in Cyprus would fail.
“Cyprus once again calls on our friends to indicate to Turkey that it must alter its stance on the Cyprus problem, behave and act on the basis of the principles of international law and human rights, so that our people can live in a safer and happier world, as we want the whole region around the Mediterranean to become a safer and happier place,” he added.
Referring to the topic of the meeting, he said the consequences of climate change were hard to predict, as were the repercussions on the economy, resources such as water and food, which could become a destabilizing agent leading to conflicts or the perpetuation of famine, disease, migration, regional policy and social instability.
Mr. Anastasiades said in his address that climate change and natural disasters were two of the most serious crises humanity is facing today and that the citizens are demanding the necessary political will to effectively tackle this threat.
“The ecosystem of the Mediterranean is among those prone to erosion,” he said, adding that “we must work collectively to tackle the existing and avert future consequences from climate change.”
He expressed hope that the conclusions of the two-day discussions in the meetings would be put to good use in decision-making by the governments of participating countries and international organizations.
Speaking at a lunch he hosted in honor of the delegates, Mr. Anastasiades said that since its establishment, the Assembly has been growing and expanding its activities and noted that the House of Representatives is contributing, along with all Mediterranean parliaments, to achieving the aims of the Assembly.
In the opening session, the Cypriot MPs participating in the meetings referred to the serious problem of water shortage in Cyprus, pointing out the importance of water to the economy and the preservation of the natural life of the country.
They also briefed the delegates on the policies and methods implemented in Cyprus to tackle the problem, such as desalination, and made special reference to the need to cultivate environmental awareness.
The Cypriot MPs furthermore referred to the importance of cooperation and setting specific goals for a collective handling of climate change.
The meeting is organized by the House of Representatives and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, with the participation of MPs members of the Assembly from Mediterranean countries, as well as officials from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and other international and regional organizations involved in environment and climate change issues.
The House of Representatives is represented by Mr. Anastasiades, Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Angelos Votsis, Tasos Mitsopoulos, George Varnavas and Sophocles Fyttis.