Press Release – EU ready for Doha
25.10.2012, 22:25 (CET)
The Environment Council (ENVI) agreed today, October 25, the Council Conclusions concerning the preparation of the European Union for next month’s Climate Change Summit in Doha. The Council, which was chaired by Cyprus’ Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Mr. Sofoclis Aletraris, also adopted the Union’s position concerning the aftermath of the Sustainable Development Summit in Rio (Rio +20) last June, while discussions also touched upon the procedure for dismantling and recycling ships.

EU Environment Ministers met in Luxembourg today, in what was the first Environment Council meeting to take place during the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU. The Council Conclusions are expected to provide the EU with a clearer united position on the issues of climate change and sustainable development.

Doha Climate Change Conference

“The formulation of a common EU position ahead of the difficult upcoming negotiations at the International Conference on Climate Change constitutes an important development,” Mr. Aletraris stressed.

The adoption of these common positions are expected to enable the Cyprus Presidency and the European Commission, who will be leading the European delegation in Doha, to pursue an agreement for a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2013, which looks to curtail the emissions of greenhouse gases. At Doha, the EU will also look to secure a new global agreement for the period after 2020.

The Council meeting also reiterated the determination to continue financing developing countries after 2012, for the application of programmes which relate to addressing climate change.   

Implementation of the Rio+20 commitments on sustainable development

“Today’s Conclusions make clear that we are strongly determined to implement the commitments that we took on in Rio and that we remain committed to achieving sustainable development, both in Europe and the entire planet,” said Mr. Aletraris. With this statement, the Cypriot Minister welcomed the unanimous approval of Conclusions relating to the future steps on sustainable development following last June’s Rio Summit. 

The Conclusions reiterate the connection between sustainable development, environmental protection and the fight against poverty, stress the commitment of the EU and its Member States to take ambitious action, as well as highlighting the need to re-evaluate all the relevant EU and national policies, strategies and programmes for a better implementation of the Rio +20 commitments, in the framework of an open and inclusive process.  

 “I do not need to over-stress the major importance of the Conclusions, on both a European and an international level. We need to ensure that, in the post-Rio developments already underway, environmental concerns are taken seriously into account. The Environment Council will continue to watch the developments closely,” said the Cypriot Minister.  

Safe and environmentally sound ship recycling

The issue of safe and environmentally sound ship recycling was also discussed during the Environment Council. The issue is of serious concern to the international community due to the very bad recycling conditions in countries of South Asia and for this reason the Hong Kong Convention, which outlines how ships should be recycled in an authorised and controlled manner, was signed in 2009. The aforementioned Convention is not expected to come into effect before 2020, therefore the European Commission submitted a proposal which seeks to ensure the dismantling of European ships in an environmentally sound manner in the time until the Convention comes into force.

The Council also discussed the question of expanding the scope of the proposal to non-European ships as well, ensuring the effectiveness and enforceability of the proposed regulation, and its relation to the competitiveness of EU flags as well as the detailed provisions on penalties imposed in the non-implementation of the proposal.

Today’s discussion will allow the Cyprus Presidency to prepare an adjusted proposal in order to move the issue forward.

Presidency Spokesperson in Brussels
Marianna Karageorgis

Coreper I

Telephone: +32 27404002
Mobile: +32 473858237
Advisor, Communications Officer
Nikos Georgiades

Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environment
Telephone: +357 22408324

Watch the press conference here

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25.10.2012 - 25.10.2012