Climate Change – From words to action

“The Mediterranean is particularly vulnerable to climate change and global warming and
Parliaments should be kept constantly aware of these fast developments”. This was stated
by the Vice-President of the Hellenic Parliament the Hon. Elissavet Papadimitriou, rapporteur
of the Special Task Force on Environment and Climate Change of the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Mediterranean. The STF meeting was hosted by the Hellenic Parliament in
Athens, just a few days before World Health Day on 7th April, which this year is being
dedicated to Health and Climate Change.
The Hon. Papadimitriou, who played an instrumental role in convening this round of
meetings of the PAM in Greece, presented a detailed report on the topic where she
emphasized the need that states acknowledge the international scope and dimension of
these issues while noting that at present political will is lacking to make this commitment on
both sides of the Mediterranean.
Ms Papadimitriou referred to the water shortage issue which was a constant throughout the
proceedings. Other participating speakers, namely Mr Paul Mifsud, from the UNEP -
Mediterranean Action Plan and Prof. Michael Scoullos from Athens University, delved into
the dramatic consequences of the core problems related to water management. These
issues, they pointed out, will inevitably lead to food shortages, increased risk of epidemics,
forced migration and in the long run even wars. With climate change water resources will
become scarcer and less available and to this end it is necessary to develop trans-boundary
water management projects as a means of a collective approach to individual and common
supply and distribution problems.

A second Special Task Force discussed “Energy as a Mediterranean Strategy”. The
rapporteur, Pam Vice President and Egyptian MP Abou El Enein stressed the importance of
energy in relation to security and safety of the region. He emphasized the need to reduce
consumption of hydrocarbon fuels and to change over to alternative sustainable sources.
The Algerian MPs underlined the fact that areas in which wind and solar energy have the
greatest potential in the region are at present those suffering most from poverty and
underdevelopment. Mr Enein suggested the establishment of a Mediterranean regional
energy market leading to an appropriate distribution network. The Greek delegation while
agreeing with a regional energy policy benefiting the Mediterranean added that this would
generate new wealth with enormous potential for countries such as Algeria, Egypt and Libya.
Prof. Galal Osman, President of the Egypt Energy Association, in his address to the meeting
said that the use of an energy mix from the Mediterranean region, based on solar and wind
power, would also generate job opportunities for the South and consequently ease
population displacements.
Portuguese MP Jose Junqueiro and Greek MP Ms Krigno Canellopoulo, deputy rapporteurs of
the Energy Task Force, remarked that for a region to experience sustainable growth it
needed a continuous flow of energy, which translated into the concept of security of supplies.
“The Mediterranean had a high potential for renewable sources and this could be an ideal
opportunity for a strategic development of the South of the Mediterranean” concluded the
Portuguese and Greek parliamentarians.

Finally the vice president of the Hellenic Parliament, Hon Papadimitrou wrapped up the two
day meeting of the PAM Special Task Forces by suggesting that the Parliamentary Assembly
of the Mediterranean should endorse the idea of defining the right to have sustainable
energy as a human right, in accordance with the conclusions of the Euromed plenary that
took place in Greece a few days earlier. Ms Papadimitrou also suggested that the Special
Task Force on Environment and Climate Change should develop a recommendation on
environmental refugees urging the EU and the UN to recognize their status since at present
they have no international legal status as they are not recognized by any international
Once again during the meetings a sense of solidarity, understanding and belonging to a
common goal prevailed, with all delegates from the North and the South putting forward
ideas and proposals aimed at improving the lives of the populations on both sides of the

ISSUED ON: 07. 04. 2008

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