Mediterranean leaders meet on regional initiative to fight climate change

21:28, October 22, 2010      

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Mediterranean leaders met at a Greek seaside resort Friday to launch a regional initiative to strengthen dialogue and coordinated action against world climate change.

"Investment in green development are key in the rebirth of our economies and dealing with climate change. This is the core of our thinking. Our task is to turn this model into reality, because climate crisis threatens our way of life," Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said.

"The voice of the Mediterranean has not been heard loud in the past. Our purpose is to facilitate dialogue between countries and combine our efforts, because collaboration is the only way to success," he told the forum.

The forum has also gathered Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad, Malta Premier Lawrence Gonzi, ministers and other representatives of Mediterranean countries to officially launch the Mediterranean Climate Change Initiative (MCCI).

Stressing that Greece and Turkey could set aside differences and work together, the Greek leader said that the MCCI was undertaken because people of the region had a lot to gain.

Columbia University Professor and Director of the Earth Institute, Jeffrey Sachs said: "This forum reflects a fact that all climate scientists stress; the Mediterranean in particular is under profound risk."

The Mediterranean has been identified by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as being especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

In a pre-recorded video, IPCC Chairman Rajendra K. Pachauri referred to the growing evidence of the impact of climate change on human health, reminding delegates of the 2005 heat wave which caused 500 deaths in Europe.

"Tourism in the Mediterranean region, especially in the summer season, is likely to decline in the future as a result of climate change," Pachauri said.

Greece and other countries are looking to tourism to help them exit the economic crisis.

"Greece goes through a crisis and there are reasons to believe that will succeed. This conference is proof of Greece's capacity to build a better future and lead the way," European Investment Bank (EIB) President Philippe Maystadt told the forum in reference to the acute debt crisis that led the country to the brink of default this year.

Urging delegates not to lose the momentum and enhance coordination to face the current and coming challenges, Maystadt stressed the EIB would strongly support green economy projects.

Friday's conference, which is organized by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Environment, Energy, and Climate Change, will end with the signing of a political declaration.

Source: Xinhua


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