EUMED9: EU Leaders Sign Athens Declaration on Climate Change and Impacts on the Mediterranean

EU leaders attending the EUMed9 summit on climate change and the environment in the Mediterranean expressed their commitment to implementing the Paris Agreement and reducing the global temperature rise by 1.5 ° C from pre-industrial levels.

The summit, held at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), brought together the leaders of Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Spain and Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva. The summit was also attended by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed the two most recent summit partner countries, Slovenia and Croatia, and expressed his commitment to making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

The declaration says:

– Recognize that the Mediterranean Sea is extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change and is prone to extreme weather events, and that it experiences more frequent, widespread and severe heatwaves and droughts, as well as torrential rains, floods and wildfires. As a result, the area is now suffering unprecedented environmental damage and the response potential is reaching its limits.

– Recognize the need for resolute adaptation to these phenomena and resilience policies in line with the new EU climate change adaptation strategy, as well as preventive measures in all areas of the Mediterranean region that are expected to be significantly affected, including the environmental and socio-economic sectors, as climate change poses serious risks to the environment, society and economy.

– Agree to work closely to create synergies that facilitate the necessary transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies and low carbon energy technologies.

– Agree to promote climate change adaptation solutions based on nature’s own function and provide adequate protection, in particular for ecosystems critical to disaster prevention, such as coastal areas, watersheds, wetlands, forests, as well as urban areas.

– Once again, it is emphasized that the climate crisis is a global threat that requires coordinated international action, and therefore the summit participants call on all countries to act collectively and without further delay, as the UN Secretary General said on 9 August.

– Call on all international partners, in particular the G20 countries, to ratify the Paris Agreement and announce ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

– Recognize a commitment to rapidly evolving technologies and policies that further accelerate carbon dioxide removal (CDR).

– Call on all countries to participate in the 26th UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26, Glasgow, October 31 – November 12, 2021) at the level of Heads of State and Government, and commit to achieving the climate protection goal by 2050 …

The Athens Declaration also includes specific references to the positive values ​​of biodiversity, forests, the marine environment, the blue economy, civil protection, prevention and preparedness.

At the end of the declaration, EU leaders “emphasize the urgency of the much-needed strengthening and deepening of cooperation between the Mediterranean partners, as the problems associated with natural disasters are common, often cross-border and require an initiative to share best practices”.

Concluding the declaration, the leaders declare: “In the light of all of the above and in relation to existing regional agreements, we agree to further expand the work of the Southern EU Group by organizing sectoral meetings at all levels as needed, in a flexible and informal framework to facilitate effective coordination and exchanges. between nine partners ”.

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