Climate change is no longer a threat, but a reality alarming more environmental disastrous challenges ahead in the ECO Region. Droughts; dust haze and sand storms; more frequent floods; unpredicted torrential rains; land erosion; water shortages; and reduced agricultural production are among climatic phenomena heavily affecting and continuing to threat the ECO Region.
In line with the ongoing global climate negotiations, the 5th ECO Ministerial Meeting on Environment (December 2014, Istanbul) designated environment and the impacts of climate change as the cross-sectoral priority of the Organization and adopted “Istanbul Declaration on Climate Change and Green Economy in the Context of Sustainable Development”. The 5th Ministerial Meeting was a landmark event for generating long-needed momentum and adopting set of decisions, notably ECO Climate Package in line with ongoing global climate negotiations.
The ECO Ministerial Conference on Climate Change (March 2015, Safranbolu – Turkey) also reaffirmed ECO aspirations and political will to integrate vital climate agenda into ECO`s environmental umbrella and showcased the need for meaningful and regular engagement by all stakeholders for identifying and formulating common regional approaches. The Ministerial Conference adopted the milestone “Safranbolu Declaration on Climate Change”.
Furthermore, ECO Coordinating Meeting on the sidelines of the 21st UNFCCC Conference of the Parties- COP21 (7th December 2015, Paris) re-emphasized the need to address, in a balanced and equitable manner, all three elements of climate change (adaptation, mitigation and means of implementation), with particular emphasis on adaptation; common trans-boundary and emerging challenges, as dust haze and sand storms; management of high carbon terrestrial and coastal ecosystems; academic cooperation for dissemination of knowledge and awareness raising purposes; and cooperation on the enhanced use of renewable energies.
ECO Secretariat has been pursuing the outcome and follow-up of the COP21 with relevant stakeholders for proper implementation of the UN Climate Change Agenda at regional and global levels to tackle the adverse impacts of climate change in ECO Region and to continue cooperation and coordination within ECO`s environmental dimension for the benefits of all Member States and global community.
ECO as an observer to the COP process of UNFCCC would play greater role in the global climate trends in the decades ahead by enhancing regional concerted actions to adopt measures to tackle climate related challenges.