Intervention by Dr Costas Kadis, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid

I would first like to express my appreciation to the Government of Chile and the Government of the Kingdom of Spain for hosting this important event in Madrid.

The five-year period from 2015 to 2019 is likely to be the warmest period ever recorded according to the World Meteorological Organization report, with 1.1 degrees Celsius global temperature increase since the pre-industrial period and a 0.2 degrees Celsius increase compared to the previous five-year period.  The latest IPCC report warns that if temperature rises above 1.5 degrees it will lead to permanent environmental damage and our future on earth will be put at risk.

Cyprus, a Mediterranean island state, is located in an area that is seriously affected by climate change, which is manifested through prolonged periods of drought, increased temperatures, the degradation of forests and rare ecosystems.

In order to address climate change, Cyprus, as an Annex One Party to the UNFCCC and a Kyoto Protocol Party since 2013, fully complies with the commitments and expectations of the International Community and the European Union and actively participates in the joint efforts to protect our climate and secure the sustainability of our planet.

Cyprus has already ratified the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. In a collective effort led by the EU, EU Member States have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, with a binding target of an at least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. We are also collectively providing the adequate means for mitigation and adaptation action in developing countries, focusing on the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

As a small country we recognize that our national contribution towards ameliorating the impacts of climate change is limited. We seek therefore for regional cooperation towards coordinated policy actions, joint activities, common projects and sharing of good practices.

Towards this end, the President of the Republic of Cyprus has announced his vision for Cyprus to undertake a coordinating, regional role in addressing climate change in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East region within the coming years.

Our President has already informed the Heads of State of countries in our region about the scope and the expected outcomes of this initiative and was met with a positive reaction.  The Cyprus Initiative will be presented in detail at the joint Side Event that we organise with the Union for the Mediterranean on Thursday, at 2.30 pm, at the EU Pavilion.

The Paris Agreement was a historic milestone for enabling global collective action and accelerating the transformation to a low carbon and climate resilient society. It is imperative to make drastic progress in implementing the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement that will move us closer to a carbon-neutral world by 2050.

Only by acting together, decisively and with greater urgency can we avoid the consequences of a warming planet and bring the necessary changes for a sustainable future.