Greek PM George Papandreou calls Med Initiative “Unprecedented in its ambition”

Prime Ministers, Ministers, and policymakers from around the Mediterranean are set to gather this Friday, October 22, 2010 in Athens to take joint action against the growing risks to the region posed by climate change.  At an all-day event in the Astir Palace hotel (Vouliagmeni), regional leaders will sign a political declaration and officially launch the Mediterranean Climate Change Initiative (MCCI).  This initiative, proposed by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, aims to strengthen environmental collaboration between the governments of Mediterranean countries and to promote and facilitate investment in low carbon development projects throughout the region.

The Mediterranean has been identified by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as being especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Many of these impacts (increased risk of drought, longer fire season, reduction in crop productivity) are common across the region, yet few Mediterranean countries have robust adaptation plans. Through the MCCI, regional leaders hope that a unified Mediterranean voice can advance climate change discussions on a global level, protect the fragile Mediterranean ecosystem, and promote a ‘green economic boost’ through the sharing of best practices in low carbon development.

“This initiative is unprecedented in its ambition,” said Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou ahead of the event. “Mediterranean leaders have shown the collective will and capacity to take a lead in the global climate change debate. It is time we come together with a common voice to address our common challenge.” On the economic benefits from the initiative, Papandreou noted, “Green development will provide tremendous growth opportunities and has the potential to create much-needed jobs and new areas of competitive advantage for our region.”

Papandreou will be joined by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi of Malta, and Prime Minister Salam Fayad of the Palestinian Authority. The Prime Ministers will take part in a keynote debate alongside President Philippe Maystadt of the European Investment Bank. The panel will be hosted by Columbia University Professor and Director of the Earth Institute, Jeffrey Sachs.  The day will also feature a roundtable discussion with ministerial level officials responsible for environmental policy from more than nine countries.

The event will be hosted by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Greek Ministry of Environment, Energy, and Climate Change. Sponsorship has been provided by TT Hellenic Postbank.

The event will be followed on Saturday, October 23, by the first Mediterranean Green Development Investors Forum (Med GDIF), organised by the European Investment Bank and the Institute for Climate and Energy Security (i4cense) and held under the auspices of the Office of the Greek Prime Minister.  The subject of the forum is “Financing profitable green initiatives and investments across the Mediterranean.” The Greek Prime Minister will provide a keynote address.

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