XX High-Level Meeting

CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS IMPACT ON THE LIFE AND THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN

ATHENS, GREECE

20-23 JANUARY 2020 

I am grateful for your commitment to address the principal challenges of our day in order to promote peace through dialogue and mutual respect. You do this by placing at the service of the global community the values and experiences acquired in carrying out the important responsibilities you have held in your respective countries. In a particular way, I offer you my prayerful good wishes for the contribution you hope to make regarding the     challenge     of     climate    change. I encourage you to continue these efforts in the conviction that a culture of dialogue is the path, mutual cooperation is the code of conduct and reciprocal understanding is the method to grow in fraternity among persons and peoples.

HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

To the Members of NGIC

November 2019

 

 

Climate Change is the defining issue of our time – and we are at a defining moment. There is still time to tackle climate change,butitwillrequireanunprecedented effort from all sectors of society.”

 

H.E. ANTONIO GUTERRES

Secretary-General of the United Nations

November 2018

As we look to the state of the world today

-from global problems like climate change and biodiversity loss, to regional dilemmas like conflicts and clean water scarcity, to local issues such as social exclusion and tensions in society- we are acutely aware of the need to articulate the right goals for humanity as it formulates its Sustainable Development Goals for the next decade and beyond, and to ensure that we correctly measure progress, real progress against those goals. We owe our children a set of policies that will create really “shared societies” and which will promote peace and a sustainable future for all but our progress is lacking.

Four years after the adoption of  the  Paris Agreement and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), no Mediterranean country is on the right path to reach adequate levels of sustainability. In its effort towards the 17 goals, the Mediterranean region is positioned at the 49th position in the world ranking with an overall index of 71.6.

Today, climate change is affecting every country on every continent. It is affecting national economies, lives, communities and countries nearly every day. Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, greenhouse gas emissions are now at their highest levels in history. Recent IPCC estimates indicate that the world   is on a path to converge on 3.0 – 5.0
degrees Celsius, not the 1.5 – 2.0 degrees that
were discussed in Paris. The likelihood
of major catastrophic events in the
near future
is growing. It will
  place  pressure on the resources of States to
respond and safeguard populations from the threats of migration, famine, heat,
cold, hurricanes, flooding and countless things unimaginable. A destabilized
climate will mean a destabilized
world.

 It is crucial that action is taken to combat climate change and its impacts in
the Mediterranean, a region that has already
experienced an increase in average temperature by 1.4 °C since the Pre-
Industrial era, 0.4 °C more than the global average. As seen last summer, the European and the Mediterranean coastal areas are experiencing an increasingly warmer and drier
climate, causing loss 
of life and disruptions throughout the region. The changing climate will deplete resources in the region from water restrictions to energy demand for cooling and forest fires. Heat-related mortality and the destruction of dwellings, towns, farms, and even World Heritage properties will be likely.

 We are intimately aware of how many  of the policies currently  being  pursued in various parts of the world are not just inadequate, but also counter-productive: From the use of force in conflicts, to the pollution of our environment, to the continued exclusion  of  minorities  and  to the continued discrimination against women in many societies. These policies need to be called out for what they are and changed. We are determined, now, to bring the discussion of these issues to a new level of honesty and openness.