The European Union (EU) is seeking funding from private sectors to share the burden of climate change adaptation due to its member states' inability to provide sufficient public resources because of the economic crisis.
After the Informal Meeting of EU Ministers for Environment and Climate Change concluded on Sunday, Cyprus Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sofoclis Aletraris said at a press conference the EU countries are not willing to invest a lot in adaptation of climate change due to the economic crisis.
"This burden cannot only be taken by governments. That's why we believe that the private sector should be involved. There is room for public-private partnership and there is room for the insurance firms to be involved as well," he said.
Aletraris, who is also President of the Council of Environment Ministers, said "it may seem to be costly to take actions regarding adaptation to climate change but it will be much more costly if we do absolutely nothing."
Aletraris stressed that governments must make further efforts to strengthen the role of private funding and expertise, and to develop the appropriate policy frameworks necessary to encourage private investments.
It was stressed at the meeting the urgent need for adaptation to climate change to be integrated and mainstreamed into all sectoral policies such as energy, transport, industry, buildings, water, land use and particularly the Common Agricultural Policy and the Cohesion Policy.
During the meeting, the Cyprus Presidency also concluded that the European Adaptation Strategy should be flexible, based on the diversity of impacts, vulnerability and adaptive capacity of member states and their status in relation to the preparation and implementation of their national strategies.
It was emphasized that reliable funding, both public and private, is crucial for effective implementation of national adaptation strategies.
There was also a broad understanding that the proposed Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020, should aim for an increase and facilitation of public investment for adaptation and provide added value to the implementation of the EU and national strategies.
The European Commission is expected to present the European Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change on March 2013.
Cyprus took over EU presidency on July 1 for the next six months. It is the first time for the Mediterranean island to assume the presidency after it joined EU on May 1, 2004.