Mr. Co-chairs, Under-Secretary-General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Cyprus welcomes this meeting which we view as yet another major step towards the United Nations General Assembly review of the Barbados Programme of Action this coming September.
The major sustainable development goals of Cyprus have already been included in the Strategic Development Plan for the period 1994-1998. Its main thrust has been the further incorporation of sustainability into social and economic development policies, emphasis being placed on the social aspects of development, and the real improvement in the quality of life, including the protection of the environment. A similar approach is followed for the plan for the period 1999-2003, currently under preparation.
As it is guided by the country’s basic orientation of joining the EU, the basic goal of the Action Plan is sustainable development in all sectors, with emphasis on the five priority sectors of the fifth action plan of the EU. It now forms the umbrella under which sectoral plans are formulated and implemented. The plan deals with horizontal integration issues such as Fiscal Instruments, Information, Research and Participation and with subject matter issues in the fields of General Environmental Policy, Water Protection and Management, Waste Management, Radiation, Atmosphere, Noise, Chemicals, Industrial Accidents, Biotechnology, and Protection of Nature and Wildlife.
Concerning the five main sectors, more specific issues under each one are the following:
* With regard to Agriculture, of primary consideration are issues relating to the use of fertilizers and pesticides, animal waste, the location of animal husbandry areas, and water use and pricing.
* As regards to Energy, the main consideration relates to the increasing needs of the country’s economy (demand for energy is growing at about 4% per annum) which are satisfied by the use of conventional fossil fuel and of renewable energy sources (solar), the latter almost entirely for domestic and hotel water heating. However, a study has been commissioned titled “Preparation of an Action Plan for Improving the Efficiency of the Energy Sector”, financed under SYNERGY Programme of the EU. Measures for the reduction of CO2 emissions and energy efficiency measures in all sectors have to be given particular attention as Cyprus has ratified the Climate Change Convention.
* The main concern for Industry is the small size of the bulk of the polluting units as it impacts on the economics of pollution control equipment and measures, as well as the unfavorable location of some of the bigger ones (i.e. Oil Refinery).
* Of particular concern in the Transport sector is the fact that it accounts for 46% of energy consumption and the environmental impacts of new major road networks, particularly urban roads.
* Finally, as far as Tourism is concerned, although the tourism policy has been readjusted twice over the last eight years, to better reflect concerns for the protection of the environment, and alternative forms of more environment friendly tourism are encouraged, the major issues are on how to address problems in existing areas and the environmental concerns associated with a diversified tourism product (thematic parks, golf courses, marinas) as well as the issue of the pricing of the use of the environment. The draft Bill for the Protection of the Environment contains full provisions for the application of the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure, in line with the (revised) EU Directive, extending its coverage into the Strategic Impact Assessment field.
As far as the Protection of the Ozone Layer is concerned, Cyprus is not a producer but a minor user of CFCs and the Import of controlled substances is regulated through a Ministerial order.
On the Waste Management front, the Global Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal has been ratified by the Cyprus Government.
Another growing environmental concern in Cyprus is the Noise from Vehicles and Machinery. General provisions for the control of pollution from noise from motor vehicles exist in the Traffic Regulations, but, with the establishment of new vehicle inspection centers, new regulations are now being prepared which would adopt European standards.
Cyprus has also ratified a number of conventions for nature protection and water and air quality.
Furthermore, a central sewerage systems and sewage treatment plants programme is under implementation and by the year 2000 all towns and major coastal urbanized areas are expected to be served by such systems.
Treated effluents of high quality are produced from such plants, and the Government’s policy is to utilize them to irrigate agricultural crops, green spaces and sports grounds.
Monitoring of the marine environment involves chemical, microbiological and biotic parameters. The greatest part of the marine waters of Cyprus is of very high quality and sea pollution problems are mostly localized within the urban fronts of the three main coastal towns.
All sources of water supplied for domestic use are regularly monitored for the chemical and bacteriological characteristics of water. Quality of drinking water supplies from water stored in dams (85% of total drinking water quantity) is in full compliance with WHO guidelines and EU standards.
In line with the above we believe that the projects submitted by my country reflect our commitment to the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action. Cyprus has submitted five projects which I will briefly underline in order of priority.
Project #1 : National Environmental monitoring and information system
The project’s objective is the establishment of an integrated programme and network for information gathering, processing and distribution to assist in the management of the environment, including enforcement, policy analysis, strategy development and investment planning.
The project seeks to define the requirements for data quality and quantity for the monitoring of environment and sustainable development parameters, and assess the suitability of existing monitoring and data collecting programmes within all national agencies which are relevant to the environment. A feasibly study for the establishment of a monitoring network is included in the project, and will lead to the development of a framework for establishing such network.
International and national consultancy services are required, as well as financial assistance for training programmes and equipment.
Project #2 : Environmental impact assessment capacity building
The objective of the second project is to increase the number of government officers, local government personnel and private consultants with adequate and appropriate knowledge of EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) implementation and evaluation procedures.
The project seeks to hold seminars and workshops, and provide training on all aspects of EIA protocol development and evaluation. It also seeks to establish a relevant library and database.
The project requires assistance for consultancy services, and financial assistance for local and overseas training.
Project #3 : Implementation Plan for the draft action plan for environmental protection in Cyprus.
The objective of the project is to adopt regulations on environmental protection which will facilitate Cyprus’ entry into the European Union.
The project seeks to design and implement the specific policies and develop and establish the necessary instruments which have been identified in the draft Action Plan including an assessment of capacity building needs, and an analysis of the financial implications of the Plan and the designated environmental infrastructure project described therein. Workshops and training, the development of documentation and manuals, and the establishment of an electronic network to enable prompt and consultation are also required.
Project #4: Complete Establishment of the hazardous waste management system.
This project’s objective is the completion of the establishment of the hazardous waste management system.
Activities to achieve the objective concern in broad terms the logistical, legal, infrastructural and management arrangements for the proposed processing facility, and include an EIA study with participation of all stakeholders, as well as treatment and landfill design. A regulatory system including regulations, permits and information system will also be developed. Appropriate training and awareness programmes form an essential part of the project.
The project requires assistance for consultancy services and training activities.
Project #5 : Comprehensive National Waste Management Strategy
The objective of the last project is to establish a broad waste management strategy for an integrated approach to waste reduction and sustainable waste management.
The activities of the project involve (1) an assessment of waste generated over the last 10 years, including source, volume, composition and toxicity, (2) the identification and evaluation of options to deal with waste problems, and (3) to provide recommendations on policy development and staff training, and for programmes aimed at enhancing public awareness.
The project requires assistance for consultancy services and training activities.
Cyprus is keen to contribute in every respect any kind of assistance possible in the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action.
In this respect, as already announced to all SIDS, as well as prospective Donor’s in the last few months, Cyprus has offered to host a SIDS Conference, sometime in the year 2000, to help address problems of common concern and issues of sustainable development that interest all of us.
Therefore we invite donor countries to consider contributing in the materialization of this conference.
Thank you for your attention and we wish to everyone present a very fruitful meeting.