Can "bio-diplomacy" reduce arrogance and hatred? Is climate change the common threat that can unite us all into taking action?
These are some of the questions raised during a conference hosted at the European Parliament Office in Athens this week.
As Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama in Beijing announced an agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions in both countries by 2030, officials and scientists in Greece were making a plea for "leadership with a vision" to address the climate change challenge.
"There is an urgent need today to adopt an all-encompassing approach to climate policy development," said Professor Agni Vlavianos Arvanitis, president and founder of the Athens-based NGO Biopolitics International Organisation (BIO.) which co-organized the event with the Hellenic Chapter of the Club of Rome.
"If we do not hear the ticking clock, then we are ethically responsible for the damages and the problems that we delegate to future generations. Leadership with a vision is crucial for life on our planet to survive and prosper," she stressed.
On her part, Greek MP and Standing Committee President on United Nations Affairs of the Inter-parliamentary Union Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou stressed the union's role in bringing together members of all political parties in the pursuit of common goals, expressing optimism for a positive outcome in the near future.
"Recent developments concerning the adaptation and launch of a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) give hope that the SDGs will be the overriding framework in all climate change negotiations," she said, pointing to the upcoming meetings at the UN Headquarters in New York next week and at the Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru in December.
On behalf of the European Union, Leonidas Antonacopoulos, head of the European Parliament Office in Greece, noted that "European structural funds are increasingly being channeled for funding climate change mitigation."