President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Jüri Ratas spoke about the challenge and opportunity of tackling climate change at the European Conference of Presidents of Parliaments of the member states of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Athens today.
“We all share a concern and a sense of responsibility for creating a successful and sustainable Europe,” Ratas said in his speech in Athens. “Tackling climate change appears to be a pressing challenge for every country, but we must view it as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to modernise our economies, ensure a sustainable growth.”
Ratas emphasised that a clean and healthy environment was an important component of the realisation of all human rights. He pointed out that the right to physical and moral health, family life and personal integrity of each human being depended crucially on healthy ecosystems.
“We have to recognise that nature has no borders. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we inhabit is the responsibility of us all,” Ratas said. “Every human being has the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.”
Ratas gave his counterparts an overview of Riigikogu’s work in integrating international standards and agreements in the national legislation and implementing climate related legislative amendments in accordance with the Fit for 55 Package. He explained that Estonia worked together with recognised experts in order to develop scientific research, technological solutions and innovations.
Ratas added that through education, projects and environmental competitions, Estonia had established a structured youth engagement. “Young people as equal partners to decision-makers are valuable contributors to the climate action,” he said. “We strongly believe that the openness of the regulatory process along with accurate analyses help to raise public awareness about the importance and opportunities of the green transition.”
The agenda of the President of the Riigikogu for today and tomorrow also includes several bilateral meetings with his counterparts. Today, Ratas met with Vice-President of the National Assembly of France Laetitia Saint-Paul, and President of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives Éliane Tillieux and President of the Belgian Senate Stephanie D’Hose. Excellent mutual parliamentary relations and cooperation in issues relating to security, energy and climate change were discussed at the meetings.
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