United Nation, 30 June 2015
First, I would like to express our gratitude to the President of the General Assembly for convening this High Level Event on such an important topic. The meeting could not have been timelier, as 2015 is a crucial year for people and the planet as a whole. In September, the UN will convene a special Summit on sustainable development to mark the adoption of new SDG’s applicable to all countries. And in December world leaders will meet in Paris with the purpose to secure a meaningful, universal climate change agreement.
Madame Vice-President, climate change is an alarming reality and it affects us all. There is no time for theoretical debates. Science has spoken and has proved beyond doubt that this is not a myth, but a reality caused by human activity. That is why Paris is of such importance. We cannot afford failure in COP21 because the stakes are too high. In the end, it is our very existence that is being threatened with annihilation.
Cyprus is a small island in the Mediterranean, a part of the world which is already experiencing the serious effects of climate change such as drought, increased temperatures, degradation of forests and of its unique ecosystems. Cyprus has long been taking action towards reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and has been implementing appropriate policies and measures in that respect. As an EU member, Cyprus reaffirms its objective to reduce emissions by 80 to 95% by 2050, expecting that all countries will contribute their fair share.
The European Union, as EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate Change has very aptly described yesterday, has an aspiring climate policy. It has put in place a comprehensive and coherent package of measures as well as ambitious targets for its 28 Member States. At international level, the EU is a lead donor with regard to climate finance in assisting vulnerable countries in their mitigation and adaptation efforts. Cyprus, as member of the EU, is actively engaged and participates to the implementation of this policy.
The European Union and its Member States have submitted their nationally determined contributions by late March in accordance with the timetable agreed in Warsaw. It is essential that all states meet these obligations and submit their contributions at the earliest possible point in time.
Madame Vice-President, time is of essence! It is crucial to agree on a system to which all nations commit and contribute. Cyprus is determined to contribute to the best of its potential to the adoption of a single, global, legally-binding agreement which will be fair and balanced and applicable to all and one that ensures that global warming stays below 2 °C. The international community needs to support commitment and action and provide solidarity to the vulnerable and most affected by climate change especially our partners, the island states in the Pacific. Now we must rise to the challenge. Together we can build a more prosperous, resilient and sustainable world.