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Cyprus submits a regional climate action plan ahead of UN summit

A proposal for the cooperation and coordination of eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern (EMME) countries on climate change action was submitted on Monday by President Nicos Anastasiades to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and 13 regional heads of state.

As part of Anastasiades’ participation in the UN Climate Action Summit to take place in New York this week, Cyprus’ proposal was submitted in response to recent studies from prominent institutions which have classified the region as a global ‘climate hot-spot’ with particularly high vulnerability to climate change impacts, the proposal states.

“To achieve the objective of developing a Regional Action Plan on Climate Action Coordination, a detailed work programme has been developed, consisting of two distinct components: a scientific and an intergovernmental component,” the initiative proposal states.

The proposal, forwarded to the leaders of Egypt, Greece, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine and Saudi Arabia, is divided into three phases.

The first phase will involve the scientific component for developing a regional action plan through up to 12 thematic task forces, to be coordinated by the Cyprus Institute.

“The task forces will focus on collecting existing knowledge, in order to assess the situation, identify gaps in research and policy needs and provide a ‘toolkit’ of possible actions to address the climate challenges in the region,” the proposal states.

They will produce thematic reports (dubbed ‘White Papers’), which will then feed into the ‘Comprehensive Scientific Report’ that will contain “an overarching conclusion, as well as technologically matured and economically affordable solutions for addressing the impacts of climate change in different socioeconomic sectors.”

The report is to be presented at the second Climate Change International Conference to be organised by the Cyprus Institute in October 2020.

Phase two involves the intergovernmental component for the development of the regional climate action plan. A ministerial meeting is set to be organised by the Cyprus government in February 2021, to be followed by an EMME leaders’ summit in the summer where a regional action plan is expected to be adopted.

Finally, phase three will oversee the implementation of the regional action plan.

According to the document, the budget for the administrative and operational costs of the first two phases has been approved by the cabinet.

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