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Cyprus

The Cyprus Forum: strengthening transparency and rule of law

Lawyer and academic Nicolas Kyriakides, Oxygono co-founder

With a focus on transparency, the fourth Cyprus Forum is being held this year by NGO Oxygono, in collaboration with the Delphi Economic Forum, over September 29-30, 2023 in Nicosia.

The themes of transparency and rule of law have always been part of Oxygono’s core mission, however, this year they are the main focus, to highlight their significance on a domestic and international level. Transparency encompasses good governance, an open parliament, and evidence-based policymaking.

Through the 11-year activity of Oxygono, focusing on issues of transparency, rule of law and participatory democracy, it has become increasingly evident that democratic systems and institutions require a change, as inequalities and extremes are on the rise, creating a dystopian reality.

The forum’s agenda for this year, includes discussions on the powers of the Attorney General, the regulation of lobbying, the role of the media in a democracy and the use of technology in the policymaking process, featuring domestic and foreign experts.

While the central theme is transparency, the conference covers various topics, including foreign policy, economy, peacebuilding, and technology. The fourth Cyprus Forum is undergoing format changes based on past feedback and ideas from international fora. It will feature longer and more interactive discussions. The event begins with an opening ceremony at the Nicosia Municipal Theatre on September 29, followed by parallel thematic discussions at different locations, including the Stelios Foundation, Home for Cooperation, and Classic Hotel.

By taking place at the Nicosia Municipal Theatre, the Forum’s opening ceremony will connect symbolically with key landmarks like the House of Representatives, Supreme Court, and the Ledra Palace checkpoint.

The forum remains open to the public and welcomes input from various sectors. The goal is to facilitate networking between Cypriot and foreign participants, fostering cooperation and introducing tested ideas and suggestions into the Republic’s public discourse. So far, the event has garnered support from 200 speakers, including 75 from abroad.

Collaboration with partners

As the Cyprus Forum touches upon different themes and areas, its synergies and collaborations with other fora and organisations is what keeps it evidence-based and viable. The Forum aims to strengthen its collaboration with various research centres, think tanks, and organsations, both from Cyprus and abroad, to shape the content of the discussions.

Partners include the European Commission, European Parliament, United Nations, World Bank, Bruegel, PRIO, the Atlantic Council, the Center For European Reform, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Transparency International, the Cyprus Institute, Center for Social Innovation, etc.

The goal is to expand the network of knowledge partners every year, leveraging insights from discussions to advocate for their respective policy concerns. To implement such recommendations, the Cyprus Forum publishes a comprehensive report sent to policymakers, ministers, commissioners, MPs, and so on.

Synergies

Organised together with the Delphi Economic Forum, the Cyprus Forum follows its lead, envisioning its actions and conclusions from discussions to become catalysts towards positive change, while also collaborating and taking inspiration from other fora such as Globsec, the Paris Peace Forum, etc.

Each year, the Cyprus Forum slowly and steadily strengthens its relations with local think tanks, politicians and other organisations via the creation of satellite events in other major policymaking hubs, such as Brussels, London and Washington, DC.

In particular, the Cyprus Forum will participate with its own panels in policymaking conferences in Brussels in October, and in Washington, DC in February, while there are discussions about launching an autonomous conference in London in 2024.

After four years, the Cyprus Forum is growing and maturing. One of its priorities, towards which there has been progress, is to bring technocrats, academics and civil society closer to politicians, and to submit opinions to achieve fairer and more sustainable policies.

Oxygono is also advocating for elements such as lobbying, the live broadcast of parliamentary committee meetings, and the strengthening of the public consultation process. In this way, more and more actors are being able to draw closer to the policymaking process, in contrast to previous decades where policymaking was considered the privilege and responsibility of politicians.

Oxygono will be renamed to Oxygen from Democracy as of January 1, 2024.

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