The 18 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, which are home to some 450 million inhabitants, are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Under a “business as usual” scenario, they risk facing a 5°C increase in the mean annual temperature by the end of the century, which would bring catastrophic consequences.
The Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME) Climate Change Initiative, launched by the presidents of Cyprus and Egypt at COP27 this week, aims to bring these countries together to coordinate a concerted regional response to address the climate crisis, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Speaking at the Heads of State launch event in Sharm el-Sheikh, UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova expressed support of the United Nations to the initiative, including joint support by two UN regional commissions, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
“Climate change cannot be tackled without a coordinated response that can only be achieved through close international cooperation,” Ms. Algayerova said. “The Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East Climate Change Initiative is a key step forward, putting in practice the principles of the Nicosia Ministerial Declaration adopted by the 9th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in early October.”
Ten countries of the region - Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, and the State of Palestine - adopted a declaration to officially launch the initiative.
The initiative is based on the scientific work of 13 thematic task forces, comprising over 240 scientists. Their work was coordinated by the Cyprus Institute and resulted in a regional action plan to address the climate crisis.
The 18 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East are: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt Greece, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, State of Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.