Shemaine Bushnell Kyriakides
In the spirit of the talks on climate change happening at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Ambassador Judith Garber and UN Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar met with UNFICYP’s Youth Champions on Environment and Peace on the evening of November 3rd at the Home for Cooperation located in the UN buffer zone.
The location of the meeting was symbolic as young people from both sides of the divide came together to express their concerns about climate change and discuss its affects on the island of Cyprus.
"The environment doesn't care which side of the green line its inhabitants live" -Garber
SRSG Elizabeth Spehar opened the conversation by saying, "UNFICYP is very proud to support the Youth Champions who are working together, across the divide, to tackle environmental challenges while promoting peace."
"We’re also very proud of, and grateful for, our partnership with the US Embassy in Cyprus and the joint efforts that we are making to assist young Cypriots in building a platform for addressing these essential issues", she continued.
After Ms. Spehar's opening remarks, US Ambassador Judith Garber weighed in. She affirmed the US's commitment to push for net zero emissions by 2050 and talked of how Tesla was revolutionizing the rent a car industry with their sale of 100,000 electric cars to Hertz.
The US Ambassador also expressed her hope that the youth of the island, whether they be from the north or south, will continue to come together to remind adults to step up and take real, meaningful action on climate change.
"The environment doesn't care which side of the green line its inhabitants live", the US Ambassador said, "I look forward to seeing what you all can do, and more importantly, what your leadership can inspire the world to do", she concluded.
SRSG Elizabeth Spehar added, "The cost of change is not cheap and there will be some upheavals, but when there's a will there's a way".