On Friday, May 29, Limassol municipality and Frederick University organised and hosted the first Blue Limassol Forum. The event, conducted under the auspices of President Nicos Anastasiades, took place online (as a webinar) and was centred around the Sustainable Coastal, Marine & Maritime Environment. The interactive webinar gave hundreds of participants the opportunity to submit several questions to the panellists and speakers.
Blue Limassol Forum is an annual event, established in 2020 by the mayor of Limassol Nicos Nicolaides. In his welcoming speech, the mayor emphasised that through the forum the organisers aimed to capitalise upon Limassol’s unique characteristics as a leading commercial and shipping centre and a major coastal port city in the SE Mediterranean, as well as to promote maritime and environmental awareness amongst local citizens.
Christoforos Charalambous, vice president of Frederick University council, said that it was an honour for the university to be selected by the municipality as an academic partner in this effort, and noted the well-established tradition of the Department of Maritime Transport and Commerce in offering quality maritime education.
Deputy minister of shipping, Natasa Pilides, emphasised the importance of the EU integrated maritime policy to balance blue growth with environmental protection. She added that sound research and good education should form the foundation of a sustainable environment and harmony with our economy and as such it is a high priority for the government. Finally, Pilides noted that it is an honour for Cyprus to be re-elected as a member of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council, ranking fourth among the candidate countries.
“This role provides the opportunity for active engagement in building new, meaningful regulations aligned with local, EU and international needs,” she said.
The environmental commissioner, Klelia Vasiliou, discussed the priorities to meet EU targets and mentioned the importance of protected species. She then emphasised the need for people to come closer to understanding and appreciating nature in order to increase their environmental awareness and effectively contribute to meeting the targets.
Topics discussed during the Forum included: the need to increase environmental awareness among the public, the green technologies adopted in shipping for the protection of the marine environment, the need for investment in low-carbon technologies, the presentation of the project ‘The Blue Hubs’ which promotes the use of LNG and CNG in the port of Limassol, the use of appropriate tools for environmental management including actions to prevent pollution of sea water, air and soil, and the conservation of all natural resources in port and surrounding coastal areas, the roles that the authorities, the oil and gas companies, the media, education and people need to play to ensure economic growth in a sustainable coastal, marine and maritime environment.