The inaugural Cyprus Forum London commenced on Wednesday morning, at the Cyprus High Commission’s premises in central London, organised by the non-governmental organisation ‘Oxygen for Democracy’, in collaboration with the commission itself.

The forum, traditionally held in Cyprus, now extends its reach to London. The gathering drew a diverse crowd, including politicians, academics, professionals, and representatives from various sectors.

Shipping Deputy Minister Marina Hadjimanoli opened the conference with a keynote speech. She emphasised the significant role the ocean plays not only in the Cypriot economy but also in its cultural identity, acknowledging the substantial challenges in ocean governance that no single country can address alone.

“Cyprus recognises the immense value of our seas and oceans,” she said, adding that, “the challenges regarding the oceans are big and cannot be tackled by any country in isolation.”

Building on this theme, Hadjimanoli referenced a recent Commonwealth ministerial meeting hosted by Cyprus, which culminated in a proposal for a declaration by member countries outlining shared priorities and collective actions on sustainable ocean governance.

This meeting also marked the establishment of a Commonwealth Blue Charter Centre of Excellence in Cyprus, aimed at bolstering scientific research on ocean protection.

Hadjimanoli also highlighted the strides made in enhancing the functionality, efficiency, and flexibility of the public administration of the shipping sector since the creation of the Deputy Ministry in 2018.

She pointed out the growth in new ship registrations, which have increased by 5.5 per cent in the last six months, positioning the Cypriot registry among the top globally.

Moreover, she remarked on Cyprus’ status as the largest ship management centre in Europe and third worldwide, with over 200 companies based on the island.

She further commended the virtues of Cyprus as a hub for international shipping, mentioning its attractive and stable tax system, strategic geographical location, simple and effective regulatory framework, and

highly skilled workforce. In addition, she pointed out the ongoing digitalisation of maritime administration and the focus on fleet quality in terms of safety and environmental protection.

Concluding, Hadjimanoli emphasised Cyprus’ significant role and commitment to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), based in London.

Finally, she highlighted that this Friday, the first IMO Award for Gender Equality in International Shipping will be presented to a Cypriot nominee, showcasing Cyprus’ leadership in promoting gender equality in the sector.