December 16, 2017

Statement by the Representative of Cyprus to the 2nd Committee Mr. Agis Loizou on Environment and Sustainable Development

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, please allow me to congratulate you and the members of the Bureau for your election. We are confident that under your wise guidance, our deliberations will come to a successful conclusion.

 

Mr. Chairman,

My country has aligned itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Finland on behalf of the European Union. In addition we would like to make some further comments.

I take the floor today on behalf of my country to touch upon one of the most sensitive and important issues on our Agenda, Environment and Sustainable Development.

Although much has been done since Rio, our environment still continues to be threatened. This is particularly true for small states and especially Small Island States.

Small Island States Mr. Chairman, have a susceptibility to risks and threats set at a relatively lower threshold than for larger states. They are exposed, among others, to serious environmental risks such as natural disasters, vulnerability to sea-level rise, marine pollution, deforestation, desertification and soil erosion, overfishing and limited availability of fresh water.

Although the recent Special Session on the Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island States, created more awareness on the international level about the problems Small Island States are facing, their ability to influence global affairs is limited.

 

Mr. Chairman,

As far as Cyprus is concerned, proceeding from the Rio Summit documents and the Barbados Programme of Action, we have adopted an Environmental Action Plan designed to protect the environment, as well as a Strategic Development Plan which aims at the continuous reassessment and upgrading of social and economic policies.

The results of the 1992 Rio Convention and the progress of the accession negotiations with the European Union have determined the basic aims of our development process, namely the improvement of the standard of living and the growing importance of the protection of the environment and our cultural heritage.

Furthermore, in Cyprus we are associated among others, with UNEP’s Mediterranean Action Plan, the European Union’s Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation and the “Environment for Europe” process.

The Cyprus Government has endorsed the need to integrate and harmonize the goals of its economic policy with those of environmental conservation.

This is pursued through a participating process facilitated by a highly pluralistic society and the interaction between the public and the private sector and the non-governmental organizations.

 

Mr. Chairman,

The United Nations General Assembly’s Declaration on the Right to Development recognizes the right to an environment of high quality as a human right. Moreover, the right to a secure environment, free from external security threats as declared, among others, in the Communique of the Heads of States of AOSIS at the 1994 Barbados Summit, is of fundamental importance.

My country, Mr. Chairman, is an unfortunate victim of foreign aggression and occupation, which have caused extreme suffering to our people with destruction of economic resources and great damage to the environment and our cultural heritage.

Also, the recent destructive earthquakes in our area have caused great concern to us for the plans of constructing a coastal nuclear power plant, in a highly seismic area, opposite our northern coast.

 

Mr. Chairman,

Cooperation and coordination among Small States is of utmost importance. In this regard, we reiterate our offer to share our expertise and experiences in areas of direct interest to most Small States such as solar energy, sustainable tourism and planning.

All countries should undertake their common but differentiated responsibilities. This is the sole path towards cooperation. Such cooperation can prove particularly fruitful, for example in integrated watershed and coastal-zone management, protecting fresh water resources, reducing waste generation, preserving biological diversity, managing protected areas, tackling the impact of tourism and ensuring the sustainability of agricultural systems.

 

Mr. Chairman,

As we rapidly approach the new millennium, let us make a pledge to cooperate on an international level, in order to create the necessary awareness and conditions that will help Small Island States face their challenges, be it security concerns, economic issues or environmental threats.

 

Thank you Mr. Chairman.