We are delighted to provide you with a photo gallery, and a transcript of the opening remarks delivered by László Sólymos, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment of the Slovak Republic, at GLOBSEC 2018.

 

 

We live in a dynamic world that is no longer black-and-white. In the world where next to security, political, economic or social topics, there are questions having their irreplaceable position, which will fundamentally affect our world, our institutions and our everyday life over the course of a few years.

Extreme weather events – enormous droughts, problems with drinking water, on one hand, increasingly frequent torrential rains, floods and landslides on the other. Even in areas where they did not occur or are not natural in the environment. We speak openly about a climate change, which is a reality and we must act before it is too late.

At the global level, an important document was adopted in the area of decarbonisation – the Paris Climate Agreement. It is this agreement that aims to limit the growth of a global temperature by the end of the century to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius and, if possible, significantly below that value, to only 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial period. In Slovakia too, we have to take successive steps in different sectors to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. And we are indeed taking concrete measures.

The Paris Climate Agreement came into force in 2016, which was also one of the results of the Slovak Presidency in the Council of the European Union. Finally, on 7 October 2016, I personally handed the instruments of ratification for the European Union and Slovakia to the United Nations depositories in New York. That is also why I feel the Paris Climate Agreement personally.

We are all very well aware that thoughtless use of natural resources is the way to extinction. The rational use of natural resources based on a respect for the environment and the social aspects of development is an alpha and omega of an innovative type of economy – the circular economy. It is a challenge that the whole world is facing. We will have to respond to it, acquire it and accept it.

That is also why I am glad that at the Ministry of the Environment we have created a platform for mutual exchange of information and experience in support of a transition to the circular – green economy – with the involvement of all relevant subjects of society in the conditions of the Slovak Republic. The very important international conference called the “Transition to the Green Economy (T2gE)” with a prominent participation was prepared within the Slovak Presidency in the Council of the European Union.

This step is a clear message that we perceive the transition to green economy in a wider context than just through the decarbonisation prism. We consider the circular economy, the concept of effective use of resources, and the concept of “waste as a product” is a way to sustainability as the key areas.

For the Central and Eastern European countries with limited natural resources, the green economy is an important manufacturing sector that returns produced and already used products back into circulation, otherwise, they would end up in landfills or incinerators without further use.

It is important that manufacturing companies that are already applying the elements of the circular economy would be willing to share and communicate their experiences with this innovative way of production. It is in the automotive industry, which is a driving force in the Slovak economy, where exists a great deal of room for the thriftier handling of limited natural resources and for an introduction of new innovative approaches in a production of automobiles and components.

In order to achieve great things, we need to sit down at one table and move step by step, discuss openly and constructively, exchange opinions and seek common effective solutions. And it is this new partnership with the GLOBSEC Security Forum that opens new horizons to all of us. We perceive it very positively because it allows us to exchange experiences at an international level and look for more direct ways of solving problems.

I am convinced that we will utilise all this new knowledge in a preparation of strategic documents on which we are intensively working at the Ministry of the Environment. Whether it is the new Environmental Policy Strategy of the Slovak Republic until 2030, which sets up system solutions for the biggest environmental challenges of Slovakia, such as air quality, waste, and forests, as well as in a preparation of the Low-carbon Strategy, in which we cooperate with the World Bank.

Combating the effects of climate change requires a common commitment from all institutions at all levels of government and society. Not only in our country but also at the regional and international level respectively. Therefore, I am personally very pleased that also through this forum we have an opportunity to discuss important environmental issues that affect our future.