Participants emphasized the essential need for cooperation to tackle rapidly intensifying climate-related challenges and risks, and build a more resilient and sustainable future at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation Group meeting that took place in Vienna on May 30.
Chaired by North Macedonia, the first 2022 meeting of the OSCE Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation focused on the most pressing climate change challenges in the Mediterranean region and their implications for prosperity, security and stability.
“This unique partnership format, which dates back to the origins of our Organization, is of great importance to the OSCE. Worryingly, conflict in one region can often spark unrest in another as food insecurity and inflation exacerbate poverty and social instability,” said Igor Djundev, Ambassador and Head of the Permanent Mission of North Macedonia to the OSCE. “North Macedonia’s ambition in 2022 is to actively engage the participating States and Partners in a pragmatic and forward-looking conversation to turn existing common challenges into opportunities for strengthened cooperation across the OSCE and Mediterranean region.”
The OSCE officials, a panel of experts, and practitioners highlighted the need for enhanced cooperation and partnership to build greater resilience to climate change and to take joint adaptation and mitigation measures.
“The war in Ukraine has multiple economic and environmental impacts beyond its devastating humanitarian consequences. Many of these impacts go beyond borders, putting food and energy security at stake and creating risk to lives and livelihoods elsewhere. Climate change will exacerbate many of these challenges,“ said OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid.
“We are currently facing another critical issue for the stability of the security architecture in our region, which demands our immediate attention. The impacts of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine cause far-reaching economic and environmental consequences in and beyond the OSCE area, including in the Mediterranean region: raising global food prices, disrupting energy markets, weakening supply chain resilience and triggering migration movements,” underlined Ambassador Adam Hałaciński, Permanent Representative of Poland to the OSCE and Chair of the Permanent Council.
“Together with our field operations we are assisting our participating States to identify and map potential security risks stemming from climate change and take joint measures to reduce such risks,” said Igli Hasani, Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities. “In line with the spirit of the 2021 OSCE Ministerial Council Decision on climate change, we are looking forward to replicating this work in the Mediterranean together with our partners,” he added.