Climate Change - A Challenge for Europe and Cyprus
4th Decemeber 2009
The Conference on "Climate Change: A Challenge for Europe and Cyprus", organised by German-Cypriot Forum (DZF) and Friends of Nature, Cyprus took place between 27 and 29 November 2009 at Goethe Centre, Nicosia buffer zone, Cyprus.
The bi-communal Climate Change Conference in Nicosia, Buffer Zone, ended on Sunday, 29th, with a clear commitment of all participants to increase the public awareness of climate change - the most hazardous problem human mankind is facing at the moment. During the three days of the conference the most urgent questions arousing from climate change were discussed. More than 90 scientists, specialists and nature friends showed great interest to the Conference across the divide. A special focus was put on Cyprus, which will be affected harshly by climate change and global warming due to the island's geographic location.
The Conference started with the opening speeches of Dr. Gottfried Zeitz, the German Ambassador for Cyprus and Mr. Eckart Kuhlwein, President of DZF and former Member of the German Federal Parliament. Throughout the conference, distinguished scientists from Germany and Cyprus presented their findings and projects regarding climate change and its negative effects on biodiversity, flora and fauna and the environment as a whole.
Recent research taken out by some of the participating scholars has revealed that climate change is already having a direct and negative effect on Cyprus and its people on both sides, impacting water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, and health all across the island. The research provides forceful evidence that the island is already paying a significant price for the global failing to take climate friendly measurements in the past. "The droughts of 2008 on the whole island are the clearest of wake up calls for Cyprus - climate change is here and the time for action is now," said Prof. Lange from the Energy Institute of Cyprus. And Dr. Engin Karatas, Executive Secretary of the DZF, added: "Nature does not know any borders and the problems that both sides face are the same." It was concluded that both water scarcity as well as an increase in temperature will be the two biggest problems of the island in the future.
Also the need for alternative energy and possibilities of the use of solar and wind energy in Cyprus was discussed. During the discussions, the scientists emphasised the importance of the Copenhagen Climate Conference that will take place next week. How Mehves Beyidoglu, chairman of FONC, put it: "A solution at Copenhagen is crucial. All countries have to take the appropriate action now if they want to preserve our precious environment and protect the future of the following generations."
Special attention was paid to a project for the Green Line - presented by Dr. Anna Grichting. Her project envisages to preserve the biodiversity of this untouched landscape in Cyprus and to turn it into an example of how to integrate the different aspects related to sustainable planning, including water management, agriculture and eco tourism. The project is inspired by precedents worldwide, in particular the German Green Belt along the former Iron Curtain, and the so called "Mauer Park" in Berlin, where local citizens initiated a project for a public park in the former No-Man's land between East and West Berlin.
Following the conference, the German participants visited various natural protection areas and were guided on a nature trail on the island to see the endemics of Cyprus.
About German-Cypriot Forum (DZF): The German-Cypriot Forum e.V. (DZF) aims to support the rapprochement process between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and to contribute with its work for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus conflict.
About Friends of Nature, Cyprus (FoNC): Friends of Nature, Cyprus is an environmental, non-governmental organization established in 2006, whose mission is to develop an appreciative awareness of the island's natural and cultural wealth, and to safeguard that wealth, contributing to a better quality of life for present and future generations.
For more information:
Eckart Kuhlwein, Chairman, DZF:
Website of the conference: www.cyprus-climate-conference.info