Science-based climate change mitigation and adaptation policies were discussed by international groups of scientists, policy-makers and regional experts during a virtual seminar organized by The Cyprus Institute in the context of the Cyprus Government’s Eastern Mediterranean & Middle East Climate Change Initiative, for coordinating climate action in the region. 

The Cyprus Government Initiative aims at the development of a Regional Action Plan to address the climate-relevant challenges and needs of Eastern Mediterranean & Middle East (EMME) region and advance regional mitigation actions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. To ensure the scientific legitimacy of the Action Plan, its basis is being formed on the findings and recommendations of international scientific task forces, with the participation of scientists from 25 countries, whose work is coordinated by The Cyprus Institute.

In the context of this work, a virtual seminar was organized on the 5th & 6th of July with participation from over 100 scientists that contribute to the Cyprus Government Initiative, international experts, policy-makers and members of international organizations, where proposed measures were discussed for the formation of a regional climate strategy.

The highly strategic nature of this work is underpinned by the fact that Cyprus and the wider EMME region has been identified as a global climate change “hotspot”, and is expected to be hit particularly hard by climate change impacts.  A recent study, led by researchers of the Climate & Atmosphere Research Center (CARE-C) of The Cyprus Institute, found that ignoring the signs of climate change and continuing business-as-usual will lead to extreme and potentially life-threatening heatwaves in the region, with temperatures of up to 56 degrees Celsius.

Prof Costas N. Papanicolas, Advisor to the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Presidential Special Envoy for Climate Change and coordinator of the scientific actions of the Initiative, noted that the unprecedented heatwaves recently recorded in the Northern Hemisphere, and the disastrous forest fires that Cyprus has also been experiencing, sadly provide only a first glimpse of the unparalleled threats that humanity will have to face, if timely and effective actions are not taken to address the climate crisis.

The findings and proposed measures of the Initiative’s scientific task forces will be presented to participating Governments of the EMME region, policy-makers, regional experts, scientists and international organizations in the context of the 2nd International Conference “Climate Change in the Eastern Mediterranean & Middle East” on the 13th & 14th of October 2021. The Conference, which is co-organized by the Cyprus Institute and the Cyprus Government within the framework of the Initiative, is expected to lay the foundations for the formation of a joint regional strategy for addressing climate change in the EMME.

The Conference is also co-organized by the European Commission Representation in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean & Middle East Climate and Atmosphere Research Center (EMME-CARE).

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