The Cyprus Government Initiative for Coordinating Climate Change Actions in the Eastern Mediterranean & Middle East (EMME region) was launched by H.E. President Mr. Nicos Anastasiades in March 2019. The announcement came following the 1st International Conference on Climate Change in the EMME, organized by The Cyprus Institute in 2018, which called on the governments of the region to take immediate action to address climate change.
Utilizing Cyprus’ excellent relations with the countries of the region, the Presidential initiative has a dual goal, namely to initiate or enhance:
To achieve the above objectives a detailed work program and plan to produce a series of scientific, policy and techno- economic studies, which will feed ministerial meetings leading subsequently to a summit meeting of the EMME countries has been developed.
Over the last two years, the study was put together through the contributions of more than 220 experts primarily from the EMME region, which were organized into Scientific Task Forces. To facilitate the work program, the findings and recommendations of the Task Forces are being announced and discussed at the 2nd International Conference “Climate Change in the Eastern Mediterranean & Middle East” due to take place on 13 – 14 October 2021, which precedes the ministerial meetings and the EMME Leader’s Summit.
The intergovernmental component of this work is coordinated by the Cyprus Government, while the scientific component is coordinated by The Cyprus Institute.
The program and work plan are characterized by inclusiveness. The expanding bi-lateral, tri-lateral and multi-lateral initiatives of the Cyprus Government along with the international initiatives and organizations are being used and engaged maximally towards achieving success in this initiative. The complexity, diversity and varying development of the countries of the region present both a challenge and an opportunity, which will be taken into account.
The scoping of the white papers is being produced by the thematic Scientific Task Forces assembled by the Cyprus Institute to address topics of interest, with the participation of over 200 scientists and experts.
WHY FOCUS ON THE EASTERN MEDITERANNEAN & MIDDLE EAST REGION
Recent studies from prominent institutions, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, have classified the Eastern Mediterranean & Middle East (EMME) region as a global climate change “hotspot” with particularly high vulnerability to climate change impacts.
“under a business-as-usual scenario, by the end of the century the coolest years will be significantly warmer than the warmest years of the reference period”
“the EMME region will be subjected to unprecedented heat extremes”
G. Zittis, J. Lelieveld et al. 2021
The EMME region is already facing adverse effects such as heat waves, droughts and atmospheric dust storms which are only due to intensify in the coming decades. Without proper mitigation and adaptation actions, these harmful effects could soon lead to intolerable environmental conditions, ultimately forcing mass migration for the c. 500 million people living in the region. This is expected to have devastating implications for the EMME and the planet.
EMME is also a region with a complex geopolitical landscape, that historically has had limited dedicated scientific resources for climate research, which further adds to the challenge and urgency for concerted climate action in the region.