Europe Ministerial Conference Closes with Commitment for Sustainable Infrastructure

Europe Ministerial Conference Closes with Commitment for Sustainable Infrastructure - TRAVELINDEX - SUSTAINABLE FIRSTNicosia, Cyprus, December 21, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The 9th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference closed today in Nicosia, Cyprus, with the adoption of a ministerial declaration affirming countries’ commitment to transition to a green economy with sustainable infrastructure at its core.

The declaration also calls on countries to join and commit actions under the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, and underlines the need for more and stronger education for sustainable development.

Fostering sustainable infrastructure and tourism

Sustainable and resilient infrastructure investment should be at the core of green economy policies and commitments, playing a central role in COVID-19 pandemic recovery plans, according to the declaration issued following the conference. New sustainable infrastructure should promote resource efficiency to reduce long-term environmental impacts, as a result of fostering innovation, nature-based solutions and cooperation with the private sector, countries agreed in the Cypriot capital.

Particular attention was given to the importance of infrastructure development and tourism as major sectors concerned in transitioning to a green economy and how therefore it is critical to consider the environmental, social and health concerns of these industries. In the light of this, the declaration also calls on countries to join and commit actions to our partners, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative that unites the tourism sector behind a common vision of circular economy of plastics, and the Glasgow Declaration: a commitment to a Decade of Tourism Climate Action.

Countries pledged to support efforts to reduce water and energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from tourism, particularly in high-impact sub-sectors (including cruise liners, aviation and accommodation), as well as to improve efficiency in the use of other resources, such as water. They further committed to improve sanitation, wastewater treatment and waste management.

Supporting Ukraine 

The Declaration also “strongly condemns the unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation” and recalls the related General Assembly resolutions.

It “recognizes the need to assess the environmental consequences of the military aggression against Ukraine for both the country and the surrounding region”, and “affirms ministers’ support to Ukraine in its reconstruction, including for providing subsequent assistance for restoration”. It goes on to invite the UNECE secretariat, in cooperation with UNEP, OECD and others, to “prioritize assessing the most urgent environmental needs in Ukraine based upon the methodology of the UNECE Environmental Performance Review Programme and on the results of ongoing and planned impacts assessments”. The Declaration further invites the international organizations to make recommendations to advance Ukraine’s sustainable recovery, in line with the Lugano Declaration adopted at the Ukraine Recovery Conference of last July.

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