Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis participated in the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27)

(Dimitris Papamitsos / Greek Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis participated today in the COP27 Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. On the sidelines of the Summit, he met with US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry, he participated in a high-level event on the initiative of Cyprus and Egypt as regards the coordination of actions against Climate Change in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East and co-chaired the high-level round table on safe access to water.

During his meeting with John Kerry, they discussed the cooperation between Greece and the United States on issues related with the response to climate change and the accomplishment of the target of zero emissions by 2050.

The Prime Minister briefed his interlocutor on the preparation of the International Summit «Our Ocean Conference» in 2024 in Greece, and our country’s support to the «Green Shipping Challenge» initiative by the US and Norway.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed the US initiatives to reduce shipping’s energy footprint, pointing out the crucial role of the Greek-owned shipping – which is the largest in the world – for the success of any target of developing sustainable solutions in the field.

The «Green Shipping Challenge», announced during COP27, aims to encourage governments, ports and shipping companies to proceed with concrete steps for the decarbonisation of the shipping sector, the latest by 2050.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis also briefed Mr Kerry on the initiatives of Greece regarding the diversification of energy sources and routes, and the country converting into an energy transport hub, which links Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean with Eastern Europe.

Earlier, the Prime Minister participated, along with the President of Egypt and host of COP27 Summit, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, in the high-level event for the Initiative of Cyprus and Egypt «Coordinating Climate Change Actions in the Eastern Mediterranean & Middle East».

In his speech, the Prime Minister stressed the significance of regional cooperation and coordination to address Climate Change in the Eastern Mediterranean, focusing on electricity interconnections and the management of natural disasters.

“We need to further cooperate when it comes to energy interconnection. This is a topic that is very close to our hearts. We are looking to expand the electricity interconnection from Greece to Cyprus and to Israel. And of course, we are looking with President Sisi to build a new significant interconnection between Greece and Egypt, in order to be able to transfer cheap renewable energy -produced in this part of the world- not just to Greece but also to the European markets that are craving for cheaper energy produced by renewables”, noted the Prime Minister.

Referring to the challenges posed by the climate crisis in the field of civil protection, Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed the need to expand transnational cooperation.

“We are all faced with catastrophic events. Some of us are, for example, more prone to wildfires, others may be more prone to floods. And it is relatively easy and effective to cooperate, in terms of sharing resources, when it comes to civil protection. For example, in the wildfires that we had this summer, which were -thank God- much less damaging than the ones we had last summer, Jordan very quickly reacted and sent us a helicopter. We have done the same with Israel and vice versa. So I would encourage the team to examine the possibility of a stronger cooperation, in terms of civil protection”, said Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

“We are doing this at the level of the European Union and I think it would also be a very good signal for the European mechanism, the RescEU mechanism, to possibly partner with countries in the region to further pool resources to be able to respond to events which, we know, will happen with increased likelihood”, added the Prime Minister.

This initiative was announced by the Republic of Cyprus in 2018 and was supported by Greece from the beginning. It led to the establishment of a “Framework of Policies and Measures for the Climate Crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East”, which includes six mutually supporting pillars of action. The aim of the initiative is the drawing up of a Regional Action Plan by the countries of the region, which will be based on these six pillars.

As part of the work of COP27, the Prime Minister co-chaired, together with the President of Senegal and Chairperson of the African Union, Macky Sall, the high-level round table on safe and unhindered access to water.

In his remarks, the Prime Minister underlined that limited access to clean water and droughts are inextricably linked to climate change and affect a large part of the world’s population, adding that these phenomena affect the entire Mediterranean basin. He pointed out that droughts constitute a multi-level challenge that contributes to migratory flows and population movements and stressed the need to implement partnerships and joint initiatives for effective water resources management.