JEDDAH: Policies to fight global warming must be coordinated with non-governmental organizations, Egypt’s president has insisted at the latest meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East Climate Change Initiative.
Speaking at a gathering of the group on the sidelines of the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said the scientific community was playing a key role in the initiative — something that marked it out from other organizations.
His words were echoed by other leaders from the region, who spoke of the impact climate change is already having on their countries.
El-Sisi said: “Despite the primary responsibility of states and governments in this regard, other non-governmental parties must play complementary and supportive roles based on their responsibility and work towards the principles of cooperation and participation.”
“What distinguishes the initiative in which we are meeting today from other initiatives and efforts is the scientific component that it encompasses, which is indispensable if we seek to align our climate change efforts with the best available science,” he added.
The EMME-CCI was launched in 2019 after being instigated by Cyprus, and El-Sisi said the region has witnessed severe climatic events in recent years, from forest fires to floods and torrential rains, which resulted in many human and financial losses.
“We have faith in the countries that can undertake this initiative within the framework of coordinating policies directed at climate change,” he said.
“This is a region that, as you know, is one of the most affected regions of the world by the consequences of climate change and its devastating effects at all levels,” he added.
During the meeting, Iraq President Abdul Latif Rashid said the time has come to take action and implement.
“I think we have enough information, knowledge, technology, all aspects of climate change, climate on its own, to tackle these problems,” he said.
He highlighted the huge need from all countries to support an execution plan to provide solutions.
“It will take time to implement and secure the required finance - there are direct and indirect factors affecting climate, such as increase in population, it affects directly the climate changing,” said Rashid.
He said that the main factors affecting climate changing are the industrial pollution, and that operational procedures are very important and must have agreed upon procedures to assure cooperation.
“How we work on improving our systems, especially irrigation systems, we can't go to old times of wasting water,” he said.
“We must get new systems with new technologies of new irrigation system to limit water waste in the future,” he added
Cypriot Minister of Agriculture Costas Kadis said that the Middle East region has been classified by the scientific community as a global climate change hotspot, and coordinated action is necessary.
“Action based on sound scientific knowledge is necessary to address climate change issues in the Middle East region,” he said.
“I have no doubt that we will act with urgency, collaborate and coordinate, to ensure a better environment for the future,” added Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he hopes to have sufficient energy transfer not only for the region, but for export into Europe.
“One of the important issues that directly relates to us, and that we aspire to further cooperation in this regard as well — we spoke with Abdel Fattah El-Sisi about energy projects to ensure a more efficient energy transfer, not only for use in the region, but for export to the European market,” said Mitsotakis.
Bisher Al-Khasawneh, Jordan’s prime minister, pointed to the repercussions on the environment, food and population due to climate change.
“They are increasing daily and foretelling a catastrophe in the future. That is why we must start an initiative to confront these consequences of climate change - Jordan pledges to abide by and take all measures for comprehensive solutions and to ensure green growth while implementing our national ambitions,” he said.