Presidential candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis said at a press conference on Friday, that for Akamas, but also the ecosystems of Cyprus in general, he and his staff are “willing to do everything we must to preserve them.”

If elected, his government will create a deputy ministry of green transition and sustainability to consolidate all environmental services and climate crisis mitigation issues under a single overseeing state entity, Mavroyiannis said.

Among other pledges made by Mavroyiannis, are a plan for proper urban development, preventing building in protected areas, prohibition of industrial units near residential zones, and determining land allocation for heavy industrial use based on community safety parameters.

The legal framework for building permits will be improved with a strict legal definition of public interest, “so as not to be a back door to corruption,” the presidential hopeful said.

Additionally, Mavroyiannis said, he intends to table a bill that will constitutionally enshrine the human right to environmental protection.

Strategies for climate crisis mitigation will centre on increasing greenhouse gas absorption capacity and reducing emissions, through expanding forest reserves, absorbing methane through biogas management units, and increasing cover crops.

The departments of environment, labour inspection and veterinary services, will be strengthened through adequate staffing and proper training, Mavroyiannis said, and an environmental protection unit in the legal service will be created.

In urban planning and design, priority will be given to building interconnected pavements, pedestrian streets, bicycle paths and bus lanes, as well as greening urban spaces.

“We want to increase urban greenery in every available corner and sidewalk to improve the microclimate of the area, enhance rainwater absorption and enrich urban biodiversity,” Mavroyiannis said.

As for Akamas, Mavroyiannis envisions a plan which includes all local communities and creates economically and environmentally sustainable jobs, to prevent urban flight of youth.

Immediate design of an integrated waste collection and sorting system is also on the books, with the goal of promoting a circular economy, as well as collection of organic waste, community composting, and biofuel production.

Protection of coasts through ratification of the Seventh Protocol to the Barcelona Convention, and effective management of water resources, as well as animal welfare, are on his radar, for which proper implementation of legislation, supervision of zoos and pet shops, and support of stray animal shelters will be enacted.

Specifically, the candidate proposed a plan to neuter all stray cats and dogs within five-years and the creation of a motorised anti-poaching unit within the animal police.