Address by the Minister of Education, Sport and Youth Mr Prodromos Prodromou at the press conference on the occasion of the 9th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to this press conference, organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on the occasion of the 9th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference, which opened its proceedings today in Cyprus.
As you may already know, several Ministers, High-Level Officials and over 1000 participants from the public and private sectors, Academia and the Youth sector, coming from 60 Countries, as well as representatives from more than 150 international and regional Organisations and NGOs, are here in Nicosia to discuss and adopt policies on three main issues:
- Education for Sustainable Development
- Sustainable Infrastructure and
- Sustainable Tourism
The Republic of Cyprus is very proud and honoured to be organising this Conference, the first of its kind to be held in a Mediterranean country, in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
As the largest political platform for communication on the environment and sustainable development between the Commission’s countries this 9th Ministerial Meeting held in Nicosia, acquires a symbolic character. It seeks to send the message that it is necessary for countries to cooperate effectively, more than ever before, in order to address the greatest challenge facing our planet, which is none other than climate change. Our action concerning the environment can only be collective.
Conference participants will be given the opportunity to share experiences, to interact and commit on shared plans, which can transform our planet.
Despite the fact that the Conference’s main focus is the environment at large, Education for Sustainable Development is given a special emphasis in the sense that the new Strategy Framework for Education for Sustainable Development will be part of the discussions. This Education Strategy focuses on achieving the goals of the Global 2030 Agenda and takes into account all other parallel regional and international policies related to quality in education, with the ultimate goal of establishing educational organisations that will empower young people and civil society in sustainability issues. We aim at educational organisations, schools and other structures that will support the effort to create sustainable, fair and prosperous societies. We are all experiencing the consequences of environmental degradation and destruction. Collectively, as societies, but also individually as citizens. Education is our hope, but also the driving force for action. This Summit is an excellent opportunity for all of us to come together and commit to international and regional cooperation and action for a better world.
At the same time, on the occasion of the Summit, a High-Level Ministerial Event on the Mediterranean Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development and its Action Plan towards 2030 will be held. Its goal is the adoption of the updated Action Plan of the Mediterranean Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development towards 2030, setting a common course for our countries and our people.
Youth will also be in the spotlight during the Conference, since the new implementation framework of UNECE Education for Sustainable Development Strategy 2021-2030, that will be adopted by the Ministers of Education and Environment, aims to bring together the past with the future by actively engaging young people. More than 60 youth organisations will participate in the Ministerial discussions and will decisively define their own role as contributors in designing our common policies.
The Conference also provides a unique opportunity for interdepartmental and inter-ministerial collaboration, which is the key to confronting the emerging challenges and risks that we are facing as humanity because of climate change. The aim is to strengthen this collaboration by bringing together Education and Environment Ministers, as well as Ministers from other fields such as tourism, innovation, infrastructure, foreign affairs etc. The establishment of synergies and alliances between Ministries, Countries and Organisations, plays a pivotal role in realizing our Sustainable Development Goals.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The role of Media is crucial for the communication of the message of the Conference which is “to transform our planet we need to transform our plans”. I am confident that together we will be successful in spreading the message of responsibility and of the need to act now.
I would like to thank you all for your presence here today, noting that the 9th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference concerns everyone.