December 16, 2017

“Challenges and Opportunities for the Mediterranean Green Growth”

Speech by Ms Egly Pantelaki, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment at a Mediterranean Side Event at the Rio + 20 Conferene on Sustainable Development, June 19, 2012

Mr. Chairman,

First of all, I would like to congratulate the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development, UNEP/MAP, the European Commission, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Foundation Prince Albert II, as well as all the other co-organisers of this very important event, which gives us the opportunity to relate the themes of this Conference with the challenges of our region.

There is no doubt that the whole of the world goes through very difficult times. The financial crisis has hit almost every country in the world, including the Mediterranean countries. The negative aspects of this crisis, should guide us in revaluating our principles, our way of life and the economic development model which has definitely proved to be a failure. In this respect, green growth can be a way to turn this crisis into an opportunity.

TheMediterraneanhas been the cradle of civilization and democracy, historically embracing the most important ideals and concepts of sustainable development and having a long history of environmental cooperation. TheMediterranean Seais surrounded by many countries which irrespective of their cultural or religious differences have common interests and a common future.

There are many actors and initiatives in theMediterraneanrelated to environmental protection and sustainable development and it is very important to strengthen the linkages and synergies between them for achieving the common goals. This joint side event is very important in this respect. Actors like the co-organisers of this event contribute significantly in promoting the common interests of our region and sustainable development. It is no accident that theMediterraneanis the only region which has a Sustainable Development Strategy, developed under the Barcelona Convention.

Mr. Chairman,

Rio+20 provides the world with a new opportunity. It is important not to fail in embracing on a political level the concept of sustainable development. Our expectations are high and I hope the world will turn the results ofRio+20 into  a success.

I am confident that the Mediterranean countries and other regional actors will continue and enhance their efforts in order to ensure that the nations surrounding the Mediterranean sea will prosper not only economically but achieve what we all wish, sustainable development with all its three pillars.

On our part, we will do everything we can towards this direction when we assume the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in just 11 days from today.

Thank you Mr. Chairman