Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday met Professor Christos Zerefos at the Maximos Mansion, discussing ways to handle the impact of the climate crisis on the environment and on Greece’s cultural heritage. The meeting was held to prepare Mitsotakis ahead of the United Nations (U.N.) climate summit, where a proposal prepared by Greece is to be presented to world leaders.
According to sources, Mitsotakis told Zerefos that he fully supports the proposal that the Greek foreign ministry’s climate change directorate has submitted to the U.N. and which calls for coordinated action to protect cultural and natural heritage from the impact of climate change. The proposal was based on the recommendations of the Atmospheric Physics and Climatology Research Centre at the Academy of Athens, which is headed by Zerefos.
The Greek initiative has the support of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and UNESCO and was among nine flagship proposals selected by U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres to be discussed at the upcoming climate summit.
The Greek proposal aims to take measures and creating mechanisms to protect cultural and natural heritage, by increasing its resilience and ability to adapt, and to promoting research and education. It was the only proposal that focused on protecting cultural heritage.
While he attends the U.N. Summit, the prime minister will present and explain the significance of the initiative to the other heads of state and government, while he already has the support of a significant number of countries. Zerefos will be the expert scientist sent by the Greek government.
The prime minister’s goal is for Greece to host a major event on the issue in Athens next May, inviting the U.N. Secretary General and other prominent personalities from around the world to attend, especially from countries that support the Greek proposal. For the same reason, Greece is organising a special Pre-summit event this Saturday, as part of the 74th U.N. General assembly, which will be held before the prime minister’s official presentation.
Participants in Pre-summit event will include Education and Religions Minister Niki Kerameus, Culture and Sports Minister Lina Mendoni, WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas, UNESCO Assistant Director-General Shamila Nair-Bedouelle and the head of the Centre for Sustainable Development of the University of Columbia, Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, in addition to representatives of international organisations, scientists, members of the international academic community and experts on environmental and cultural issues.