Independent presidential candidate Achilleas Demetriades has unveiled his policies for a ‘United and Green Cyprus” as a single ecosystem without the lines of division of the Turkish occupation and British Bases.

He also proposes constitutionally safeguarding the rights of individuals as regards environmental protection so that they can challenge anti-environmental policies, interventions and construction in court.

Achilleas Demetriades presented his proposals for green and sustainable growth under the title ‘Cyprus, United and Green’ at a press conference held on Monday, 21 November at the Panos Solomonides Cultural Centre, in Limassol. These proposals come within the framework of the Pillar ‘Cyprus- 2035’ of Achilleas Demetriades’ election programme.

The independent presidential candidate noted that the environmental threat posed by climate change affects the entire island – including the occupied area and the Bases, and stressed: “This country belongs to all of us and it is our obligation to protect it.” For this reason, Achilleas Demetriades proposed the establishment of a Technical Committee to address the climate crisis and to coordinate the services of the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot community, under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism RescEU to deal with natural disasters (forest fires, floods, coastal erosion, earthquakes etc) as well as to draw up a joint study to manage the risks.

As regards the constitutional right on the environment, A.Demetriades explained that this was an individual right for a clean environment. It would safeguard effective participation and the public’s information regarding political decisions which affect the environment, as well as the public’s effective access to justice to protect the environment.

Achilleas Demetriades outlined his positions on key policies regarding the environment, energy and rural development so that Cyprus can attain the targets of the European Green Deal. More specifically, he set out the following proposals:

– Incentives, subsidy schemes and the creation of partnerships aiming at a decisive turn towards renewable energy sources (RES)

– Targeted public investments on RES infrastructure for energy storage and e-vehicles

– Green taxes on activities which burden the environment and tax breaks and subsidies for activities by individuals which benefit the environment and contribute to green growth

– Promoting green entrepreneurship and attracting green investment

– Upgrading infrastructure to implement a circular economy

– Upgrading the mandate of the Environment Commissioner to horizontal oversight of the implementation of policies for green growth

– Upgrading public transport and implementing a green town planning policy

– Drawing up a strategy for rural development that is based on sustainability, would attract young farmers to the sector and manage water resources in a sustainable manner.

Mr. Demetriades also outlined his positions on the protection of the Akamas, animal protection and a series of other issues of particular interest to the town and district of Limassol such as the municipal gardens and traffic congestion.

Finally, A. Demetriades noted that the outgoing Anastasiades government has failed in most areas that impact green policies and energy transition. He stressed that the European Recovery and Resilience Fund offers an opportunity for Cyprus to cover the lost ground of the past decade, provided we work consistently and with a timeframe. “Only a new leadership can change mentalities and implement plans for a united and green Cyprus,” he concluded, stressing “Cyprus deserves better.”

Source: Cyprus News Agency