President Nicos Anastasiades discussed the government’s Climate Change Initiative and developments in the Cyprus problem at the ‘One Ocean’ international summit in Brest, France, on Friday.
According to government spokesman, Marios Pelekanos, in sideline talks Anastasiades invited Kerry to a meeting in October to discuss coordinated climate action and briefed Kerry on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue.
Anastasiades also met with Charles Michel, President of the European Council and requested EU assistance towards implementation of confidence-building measures. The president briefed Michel on “the unacceptable and provocative incident in Denia and the harassment of Greek Cypriot farmers by Turkish troops inside the buffer zone,” Pelekanos said.
The president also had a brief conversation with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, and agreed on a meeting in the upcoming days.
In his address, he referred to Cyprus’ initiative to coordinate climate action across the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, with the goal of encouraging and providing incentives to other countries of the region to prepare their own specific action plans.
The president said he was pleased that a proposal has recently been submitted to the International Maritime Organisation for the designation of the Mediterranean Sea as a Sulphate Oxides Emission Control Area (SECA),” and that it is extremely significant to protect public health by reducing exposure to harmful levels of air pollution resulting from these emissions. He reiterated Cyprus’ readiness to work towards ensuring that this proposal will be approved and enter into force, by 1 January 2025.
“In this same direction, we also urge the contracting parties of the Barcelona Convention to commence, the soonest possible, work for designating a Nitrogen Oxides Emission Control Area in the Mediterranean Sea. Such a proposal is expected to minimise further the emissions from maritime transport, achieving significant health benefits and protecting the marine environment,” he said. “Reaching a unified sustainable path should be our first and foremost priority towards achieving the objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development.”
As regards the summit topic, Anastasiades stressed the importance of green maritime shipping and highlighted Cyprus’ commitment to creating a zone of low sulphur emissions in the Mediterranean basin.
“The use of cleaner fuels, deployment of relevant fuel infrastructure, electrification of ships, and use of energy efficient technologies is the way forward,” Anastasiades said.
The president stated that the Cyprus government has already devised a long-term shipping strategy, “SEA Change 2030”, with the main objective being responsible management of the open seas.