Cyprus Mail

Cyprus lags on environmental protection

Environment Commissioner Ioannou Panayiotou

Cyprus has still a lot way to go on environmental protection, especially with regard to its EU goals, Environment Commissioner Ioanna Panayiotou said on Friday.

The commissioner delivered to President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday a report on the activities of her office between April 2015 and November 2017.

Panayiotou said that Cyprus needs to focus on sustainable development and a circular economy.

To be able to do that, she said, the island’s capacity in relation to its natural resources should be measured while it is also very important that the Island Plan – a town planning law that sets out economic, cultural, social and population planning objectives for rural areas – materialises.

While there has been for many years a provision in existing legislation for the Island Plan, there is yet to be a study ‘so that the state and citizens know the potential of each sector in order to be viable and financially and ecologically beneficial’, Panayiotou said.

The commissioner was referring to the need to activate Article 7 of the Island Plan. The absence of such a plan, Panayiotou said in the past, has led to uneven development between various areas and a lack of connection between them, wasting of natural resources, deforestation and the uneven distribution of national and European funds.

She also said that there are a number of problems with the reduction of carbon emissions, while steps must be taken in relation to transport and renewable energy sources need to be increased.

“So, all this needs to be studied in order to be able to enter a new era that has to do with a low-emission economy, which is our European goal and is now also the goal of the United Nations,” Panayiotou said.

She added that there are also timeframes for the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development and similar sanctions for those of the EU.

President Nicos Anastasiades said the government is trying to respond to the commissioner’s recommendations.

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