NOVEMBER MONTHLY SPECIAL
U3A members were treated to an interesting and informative presentation by Janet on Sustainable Development in Cyprus. Sustainable development is not just about climate change or plastic sacks. Rather it covers a broad range of issues listed under three pillars: Economic, Social and Environmental. These are the challenges which must be met in order that man can meet current needs without undermining the future needs of mankind. Cyprus is attempting to meet, with more or less success, seventeen goals established by the EU. These goals include, inter alia, reducing poverty, hunger; improving health, education and gender equality; promoting clean energy, economic growth and innovation; reducing inequalities, and ensuring that the environment on land, air and sea is preserved.
Currently, Cyprus is taking measures on a number of these issues. Without listing all of the measures, in environmental sustainability, the government is fostering renewable energy in solar and wind power, recycling, reduced carbon emissions, among other things. In social sustainability, it has introduced a new health plan, given migrant support, encouraged digitisation of government services, set up new sewage systems, etc. And in economic sustainability it is giving employment support, agricultural production grants, and setting up training and retraining programmes, as well as introducing new tourism standards.
Unfortunately, Cyprus has not scored high compared to other EU countries. Among the 17 major SD goals, Cyprus is making progress in a few but is facing major challenges in others. The reason for this low score is a subject of debate. But it is clear that meeting these goals requires cooperation between different government agencies, and between research institutions and government and between the government and the private sector, and with full public knowledge and support. The new EU "Recovery and Resilience Fund" could provide needed financing for new projects but only if the government turns talk into concerted action, only if businesses and research institutes collaborate more fully, only if citizens are made aware of the need for sustainable development and have a hand in it.
In the end, it was clear that despite the recognized need for immediate action, vision and a coordinated approach is required and the current links between the various actors in this area need to be strengthened.
The monthly Special will return just as soon as the U3A is able to meet and provide you with information about a special event. We are hopeful that very soon we shall be back to normal.