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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN CYPRUS


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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

At the national level, the Council of Ministers has the overall responsibility for the formulation of environmental policy. Environmental policy is coordinated through the Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, with the exception of town and country planning issues, for which responsibility rests with the Minister of Interior.

An important component in the environmental management mechanism is the Council for the Environment, which, with a wide representation, advises the Minister and through him, the Council of Ministers, on environment and sustainable development issues. In 1996, the Council was given an expanded mandate to deal with sustainable development issues. Better cooperation has also been ensured between the environmental management system, the physical planning system and the national development planning and control system, through the participation of all three competent authorities in almost all bodies established under the three systems. Competencies are divided among several institutions, the competent authorities being primarily public bodies, ministries, or Departments.

The Environment Service of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment is mandated to advise on environmental policy, ensure implementation and coordinate (in close cooperation with the Planning Bureau) the process for the adoption of the EU environmental policy and legislation. It also chairs the committee on environmental impact assessment, oversees the enforcement of the larger part of the Law on the Control of Water Pollution, promotes environmental awareness and training, and disseminates information on the environment. The Service is also the administrative arm of the Environment Committee and the Council for the Environment. In addition, it is the National Focal Point for the CSD, MCSD, SMAP, INFOTERRA, UNEP, and the Conventions of CITES, Bern, Basel, Vienna, Biological Diversity, Desertification, Climate Change, Ramsar, and Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context. The role of the government services, which bear the responsibility for issues concerning the environment, is gradually reinforced.

Through its various departments (Agriculture, Veterinary Services, Meteorological Service, Land Consolidation, Mines Service, Forestry, Fisheries and Marine Research, Water Development, Geological Survey and Agricultural Research Institute), the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment has a wide range of executive functions on environmental issues. They refer to the protection of the quality of surface and ground waters and the sea; management of water resources; aquaculture; meteorology; protected areas; soil conservation; fertilizers and pesticides; reuse of treated effluent; hazardous waste management; mines and quarries; control/monitoring and combating marine pollution; marine ecology; management of forests and public parks; herbaria and gene banks; organic farming; protection of flora and fauna; agricultural and animal husbandry waste; industrial waste treatment; rehabilitation of sites; health and welfare of animals; etc.

Agencies and other ministries also have a wide range of executive responsibilities over various environmental issues as follows: The Planning Bureau is in charge of the preparation of five-year Strategic Development Plans for the balanced development of the island’s economy and has responsibility for the broader coordination of the EU accession process. The Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance is the competent authority for the administration and enforcement of: the Atmospheric Pollution Control Law; the Safety and Health at Work Law; the Dangerous Substances Law; and the Asbestos (Safety and Health of Persons at Work) Law. It also administers part of the Water Pollution Control Law and has been assigned responsibility for the broader framework for radiation protection. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism deals with: industrial estates; energy management and conservation; exploitation of new and renewable sources of energy; the management of a grants scheme which assists manufacturing industries in installing waste treatment systems; and accreditation and EMAS. The Cyprus Tourism Organization is responsible for tourism development, promotes agrotourism and is the  coordinator of the BLUE FLAGS scheme in Cyprus. The Ministry of Communications and Works is responsible for: shoreline defense; the enforcement of International Civil Aviation standards on noise from aircraft; the regulations and international conventions on Merchant Shipping; motor vehicles inspection; and Type Approval for vehicles. The Cyprus Ports Authority, handles oily waters and refuse from ships in port areas. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the control of drinking water and the microbiological monitoring of recreational waters and carries out research and analytical work on various aspects of pollution with its specialized laboratories in environmental chemistry, microbiology and virology, ecotoxicology and risk assessment. The Department of Town Planning and Housing, is responsible for the implementation of the Town and Country Planning Law. The Game Fund is in charge of the enforcement of the Game and Wild Birds Law, which regulates hunting and game improvement.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The commitment to streamline environmental legislation and policy with those of the European Union’ s, as a response to the road of Cyprus towards accession to the Union, has provided the path and a further impetus to speed up the process already initiated to address faced by the Cyprus.

In 1991, the Council of Ministers approved a comprehensive system of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) from projects. A new law on EIA (No.57(I)/2001) entered into force in April, 2001. The law is now fully implemented. The Committee established under the law meets regularly for the assessment of the impacts of various projects. A Law (No. 24(III)/1999) was passed, ratifying the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context. The gradual introduction of Strategic Impact Assessment within the next 3 years, will constitute a cornerstone for the effective protection of the environment.

A programme for legislative transposition and implementation to align Cyprus’s laws, institutions, policies and measures to those of the European Union has been finalized and is being implemented.

The laws on the control of pollution of the waters and the atmosphere, of 1991, provide the legal basis for the application of the principle of integrated pollution prevention and control, as they cover the permitting of industrial sources of pollution.

An Agreement for the participation of Cyprus in the European Environment Agency was ratified in February 2001 (No. 5(III)/2001). 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Following the Rio Conference, in 1992, a range of measures were taken, basically under the umbrella of a number of initiatives. The basic goal of the Government is to gradually and methodically introduce the environmental dimension into all parameters of the economic and social policies. Thus, development objectives are pursued in conjunction with the preservation of the environment, and the development effort is gradually readjusted, so as to integrate environmental considerations into all other mainstream economic sectors. To this respect, Cyprus follows very closely progress on this issue at the EU, particularly in the context of the 6th Action Programme, the Sustainable Development Strategy and the reports prepared by the various Councils (Cardiff process).

The major sustainable development goals of the country were incorporated in the Strategic Development Plan for the period 1994-1998. Its results on the issue have been mixed, as sustainable development involves the reorientation of the entire economic system and changes in the conventional wisdom of traditional development policies. The main thrust of the new Development Plan for 1999-2003 is also the further incorporation of sustainability into economic development policies, emphasis being placed on the social aspects of development, and the real improvement in the quality of life, including the protection of the environment.

The integration of environmental concerns into other sectors has also been the main thrust of the Action Plan for the Protection of the Environment of 1996. The Plan is based on an Environmental Review and Action Plan prepared by the World Bank in 1993, a comprehensive report of 1995 which compared the country’s environmental policy and legislation  with those of the EU and identified areas of action, as well as on the outcomes of the Barbados and Tunis Conferences on the Sustainable Development of Small Island States and of Mediterranean Countries, respectively, and on the environmental legislation and policy of the European Union. The Plan was discussed by the Council for the Environment and approved by the Council of Ministers and is the formal environmental policy document of the Government.

The protection and preservation of the environment and the proper management of natural resources cannot be effective, without proper readjustment of the organizational framework. To this end, the following are pursued: coordinating all government actions for the environment; avoiding overlapping; distribution of responsibilities; focusing and specializing the human resources; providing incentives and disincentives for the support of regulatory measures; and, adopting an integrated approach to environmental problems. 

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement    

No information available. 

Programmes and Projects   

In 2000, the National Programme for the Adoption of the Environmental Acquis Communautaire of the EU was formulated. The main strategic objective of the Programme is to achieve sustainability that is a development characterized by durability and stability. This development should be governed by the principle that without adequate protection of the environment, development cannot be viable, and without viable development, the protection of the environment is not possible. The Programme includes a series of measures for the reinforcement of the policy, such as fiscal tools, information and environmental impact studies, as well as specialized measures in sectors that concern the management and protection of nature, landscape and wildlife; the protection and management of waters and the soil; the protection of the atmosphere and of global climate; the control of noise; the protection against radioactivity; and the management of waste and chemical substances. The majority of the measures included in the Programme derive directly from the environmental policy and legislation of the European Union, as well as from the international obligations of Cyprus.

The option of purchasing services from the private sector has been made available to public agencies and its potentials have already been utilized. Through such services, 14 implementation programmes have been completed or are under way (CO2 strategy; ozone substances strategy; waste management strategy; environmental information; IPPC and chemical substances; habitats; EMAS; PCB’s; nitrate pollution; design of a new regional landfill; packaging waste; hazardous waste; batteries; and waste water systems design).

Special pollution rates are now examined to complement the systems for the protection of the environment, with the view to encourage the taking measures for the protection of the environment, such as investments for the collection, management and disposal of wastes.

See also under Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations.

Status   

History and nature have provided the essential attributes to the character of the environment of Cyprus, which is a mixture of natural and cultural features.

Despite its partial deterioration, the quality of the environment remains quite good on the whole. However, the 1974 invasion and the continuing occupation of 37% of the territory of the Republic and rapid economic development over the last three decades, accompanied with rising standards of living and considerable changes in lifestyles, have led to a variety of environmental pressures and strains on the country’s natural fabric.

The response to the problems has been substantial and there is still time to avoid serious, extensive and irreversible impacts on the environment of the country.

Cyprus has demonstrated remarkable economic growth since independence through the shifting from an agricultural to an urban (mainly tourism and services-oriented) economy. These changes have resulted in pressures on the environmental, natural and cultural resources. The Cyprus economy is at a crossroads and is facing new challenges as far as sustainable development is concerned. The available resources may satisfy the needs of all sectors, provided their management is wise and environmentally sound. The ‘ecological footprint’ of Cyprus may be small but it is growing. Thus, Cyprus had to begin walking the road to sustainable development.

The political decision to join the EU as well as the international obligations of the country presuppose a commitment to safeguard a better balance between human aspirations and long- term environmental concerns.

Cyprus is committed to successfully rise up to the expectations and challenges. Positive ingredients for success are the political will and commitment of the government, the support of sustainability issues by all political parties, the representative nature of local authorities, the active intervention of the non- governmental organizations, and the gradual realization by the private sector that there is no inherent contradiction between economic development and the protection of the environment. 

Challenges  

No information available. 

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

The Environment Service of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment promotes environmental awareness and training. 

Information   

The Environment Service of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment disseminates information on the environment. See also Chapter Information. 

Research and Technologies   

No information available. 

Financing   

No information available. 

Cooperation

See under Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations.

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MAJOR GROUPS

Women

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

See under Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Beijing Conference has expanded the agenda on the human rights of women and, for Cyprus, it has given a new impetus to strengthen the political will and intensify the efforts towards legal and de facto equality which have been promoted in particular since the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, in 1985. The Government of Cyprus, being a party to the Convention, fulfils its obligations as well as those arising out of the Beijing commitments and the wider framework of strategies and guidelines included in the Beijing Platform of Action. The Ministry of Justice and Public Order is pursuing law reform in close collaboration with other agencies and organization, aiming at the elimination of the few remaining discriminatory provisions as well as the safeguarding of women’s rights and their protection in all fields of Cyprus legislation. 

A number of Law Reform Committees were set up, to study matters relating to family courts and causes for divorce; domestic violence; civil marriage; family mediation; sexual harassment; and trafficking and exploitation of women and children. As a result, a number of bills have already been drafted and/or submitted to the House of Representatives, including the bill on the Exploitation of Persons (Special Protection), and the amendment bill on Violence in the Family (Prevention and Protection of Victims). In the field of family law, a series of amending laws were enacted, improving the laws on Property Rights among Spouses, Parents and Children Relations, Family Courts, the Children Law, etc. Special reference is made to the amendment of the Citizenship Law, granting to Cypriot women equal rights regarding the citizenship of their children. In the field of labour law, a series of legal measures, aiming at the improvement and expansion of the legal rights and protection of women at work, have been pursued, covering the areas of maternity protection, social pension, social security, part-time work, etc. Furthermore, within the framework of the harmonization process with the Acquis Communautaire of the EU in the social sector, the reparation of other important equality laws has been pursued, including the Law on Equal Opportunities and Treatment in Employment.

As violence against women has become a top priority issue within the overall equality policy, a series of measures were taken during the last years, in line with the relevant UN Declaration. These measures include the setting up of the Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence and legislative action for the improvement of the Violence in the Family Law (Law No. 47/94) and other relevant legislation (See also under Programmes and Projects). 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Besides legislative action, the Government, mainly through the National Machinery for Women’s Rights, has requested and secured experts’ advice on top priority issues, such as the setting up of the Equal Opportunities Commission, the preparation of an Action Plan for Women’s Participation in Politics, training programmes on violence against women, and the promotion of gender mainstreaming in the Government sector. The increase in the participation of women in public and political life and especially at the decision making level, is also one of the priorities of the Government policy in the field of equality. 

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information available. 

Programmes and Projects   

Measures taken in this field include the launching of training programmes to encourage women to enter politics; setting up of a cross-political citizens’ group to lobby and campaign for equal representation of women and men in politics; sensitization of the mass media; and appointment of women in high ranking posts. As measures to prevent violence against women, a shelter for victims of violence has been set up and run by a voluntary organization with the support of the Government and training programmes for involved professionals have been also carried out. A very important development has also been he setting up of the International Ecopeace Village of Cyprus. This Trust – NGO has an international vision to contribute to the broader peace goals of Cyprus and other countries in the region and internationally. Its mission is to create an eco-sensitive, international peace village, focusing on the training of women and youth on environmental and sustainable development issues, conflict prevention and networking between institutions and countries with parallel interests. Founding members of the Village include parliamentarians, academics and experts in ecology, conflict resolution, and gender and youth affairs. One significant activity was the organization, by the Association of Interbalkan Women’s Cooperation Societies, the UNESCO Centre for Women and Peace in the Balkan Countries and a Cypriot Women’s Organization, of their Sixth Congress on “Environment and Women” in Nicosia in October 1998. The Congress focused on women’s participation in the preservation of the environment and aimed at providing a global perspective on this issue in the Balkan area.

Status   

No information available. 

Challenges

No information available. 

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information available. 

Information   

No information available. 

Research and Technologies   

No information available. 

Financing   

No information available. 

Cooperation  

No information available. 

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Children and Youth

No information available.

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Indigenous People

No information available.

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Non-Governmental Organizations

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

No information available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

The involvement of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) in environmental policy formulation is actively encouraged. Under the new law on EIA, the Federation of Environmental and Ecological Organizations participates as a member in the EIA assessment committee. Also, a number of NGO’s are members of the Council for the Environment and the steering committee for a protected area, whilst they are consistently invited to express their views during hearings at the Parliamentary Environment Committee.

Programmes and Projects   

No information available.

Status   

There are more than 30 purely environmental or environmentally- concerned NGOs in Cyprus. 

Challenges  

No information available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information available.

Information   

No information available.

Research and Technologies   

No information available.

Financing   

The awareness-raising activities of NGOs are supported by financial assistance for specific actions. Also, all the active NGOs, as well as the Federation of the Ecological and Environmental Organizations, receive an annual grant from the Government.

Cooperation  

No information available.

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Local Authorities

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

See under Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

No information available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The role of the District Officers, who are under the Ministry of Interior and act on behalf of the Government at district level, has been strengthened with a 1999 decision of the Council of Ministers, holding them responsible for the monitoring of the implementation of development and infrastructure projects at the district level. Secondly, the possibility for the creation of special municipal bodies is under consideration. These bodies, will be providing services and carry out common infrastructure projects to all adjoining municipalities (town and country planning projects, sewerage schemes, drainage works, etc.). The administrative division of Cyprus is also under review, in order to secure more efficient regional and local administration. 

Programmes and Projects   

The enhancement of the administrative capacity at the sub-national level (district and local) and the improvement of the regional planning system, regarding the management and control of funds for the implementation of projects is under study and a number of measures have been promoted or are under examination. 

Status   

No information available.

Challenges  

No information available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information available.

Information   

No information available.

Research and Technologies   

No information available.

Financing   

No information available.

Cooperation  

No information available.

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Workers and Unions

No information available.

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Business and Industry

See  under Chapter Industry.

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Scientific and Technological Community

No information available.

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Farmers

No information available.

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SCIENCE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

An additional Protocol to the Cyprus-EEC Association Agreement was signed in May 1999 and entered into force the same day for the participation of Cyprus in the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities (1998-2002).

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The Research Promotion Foundation, an independent organization governed by a 12-member board appointed by the Council of Ministers, was set up in 1996 and became operational in 1998 to serve as the national institute for the promotion of scientific and technological research in Cyprus. The Foundation has become the means through which the strategy and policies in research and development are implemented. Apart from the launching of national research programmes, the Foundation is actively involved in the coordination and encouragement of participation of Cypriot institutions in FP5.

Programmes and Projects   

See under Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations and Cooperation and also under the heading Research and Technologies in the various Chapters.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

There are on-going research activities in areas related to flora and fauna identification; monitoring of water quality; reuse of treated effluent; waste treatment; marine life and oceanographic research; nutrients in the marine environment; radioisotopes in groundwater; mining waste; energy efficiency; risks of chemicals; etc.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

In relation to the COST Cooperation network of the European Union, in mid 1999 the Senior Officials Committee of the network re-examined Cyprus’ application for membership and decided to accept Cyprus as a full member.

In April 2000, the Planning Bureau concluded a bilateral agreement for scientific and technological cooperation with the General Secretariat for Research and Development of Greece, which provides for the launching of joint research projects in selected areas, the exchange of researchers between the two countries, the training of NCP’s, etc. See also under Decision-Making.

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INFORMATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Department of Statistics and Research was renamed into the Statistical Service of Cyprus. An environment statistics unit was set up within the Service, with the aim of initiating the production of statistics and indicators on the state of the environment on a systematic basis.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Statistics Law (No. 15(I)/2000), passed in February 2000, forms the legal basis for the collection, production and dissemination of statistical information and includes general provisions governing the statistical system in Cyprus. 

The Freedom of Access to Environmental Information Law was passed in July 2000 (No. 125(I)/2000). Facilitating the provision of information to the public, a state of the environment report, and access to environmental  information are provided for in the new law. In the new law, provisions were made for the right of the public in acquiring information regarding activities and actions affecting the environment and its protection. This law also provides that the Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment has to prepare a state of the environment report every two years. 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

A wealth of data has been collected and analyzed, such as through the project, financed by the EUs ‘LIFE’-Third Countries programme for: water quality monitoring and assessment; the studies on rural sanitation; domestic solid waste recycling; hazardous waste management; and used oils management. Pertinent data are also collected under the ‘LIFE’-financed IPPC, Habitats and Household Recycling projects.

The Natural Resources Information and Remote Sensing Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resource and Environment, established with FAO funding, will be better utilized in the inventory and monitoring of natural resources and for parts of the state of the environment, through GIS and satellite data.

A programme is currently being prepared by the University of Aegean, expected to be finalized by the middle of 2002, funded by the Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works of Greece. Its objective is the establishment of a comprehensive system for the collection, evaluation, storage and dissemination of data and information on environment and sustainable development, in order to ensure full compliance with the information and reporting requirements emanating from the environmental Acquis Communautaire of the European Union, the European Environment Agency activities, EUROSTAT, UN/CSD, and major environmental conventions. 

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

See under Programmes and Projects. 

Financing   

See under Programmes and Projects. 

Cooperation  

Cyprus has signed the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters. Ratification will be pursued in 2002. See also under Programmes and Projects.

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INTERNATIONAL LAW

This issue has been covered under the heading Cooperation in the various Chapters.

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