The pressing threats posed by climate change cannot be effectively addressed unless all stakeholders, chief among them states and the private sector, act in concert right now. What happens in one part of the world, such as the Arctic, affects – or will affect – other parts like the Mediterranean, so there is no real alternative to prompt global action. As a global community, it is imperative that we acknowledge without further delay that feasible solutions do exist and translate our words into action by making the necessary funding and other resources available so that the necessary response takes place without further delay.
This was the main message conveyed by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela in a panel discussion on ‘The Geopolitical Side of Climate Change: Resource Scarcity and Conflicts’, held during the 5th edition of the Med-Mediterranean Dialogues in Rome. Launched in 2015, the Med-Mediterranean Dialogues is an annual high-level initiative promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and ISPI (Italian Institute for International Political Studies) with the aim to rethink traditional approaches to the Mediterranean, complementing analyses of current challenges with new ideas and suggestions and to draft a new, positive agenda.
Minister Abela said that climate changed needs to be tackled comprehensively, including from a security and economic perspective, while keeping in mind that challenges related to climate change also provide us with opportunities to bring about changes from which everyone will benefit. On human migration, which could also happen because of climate change, Minister Abela emphasised the need to “build economies, not walls” in the countries of origin, while acting on climate change in earnest.
Other speakers on the panel, which was moderated by Andrea Cabrini, Managing Editor of the Italian branch of CNBC, were Karim El Aynaoui, President of the Policy Center for the New South; Patrizia Grieco, President of ENEL; Nasser Kamel, Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean; and Francesco La Camera, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This was the second consecutive year in which Minister Abela participated in the MED-Mediterranean Dialogues.
On the margins of the international event, Minister Carmelo Abela met with Riyad al-Maliki, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Palestine, to discuss issues of bilateral and regional interest, as well as Malta and the European Union’s role in the Middle East Peace Process. An exchange of views was also held with Pierre Heilbronn, Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), with whom he focused on the European Financial Architecture for Development, priorities for the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework, and the EBRD’s strategic agenda. Minister Abela also received the Canadian High Commissioner to Malta, resident in Rome, Alexandra Bugailiskis. They exchanged views on issues of bilateral interest, trade opportunities, and the Maltese diaspora in Canada.
In Rome, the minister was accompanied by Malta’s Ambassador to Italy, Vanessa Frazier.