Nicosia, 8 June 2006 – UNDP-ACT’s World Environment Day activities concluded with local stakeholders from the NGO community, business and the media agreeing to maintain a cross-sectoral dialogue on how to protect Cyprus’s unique eco-system.
Over 140 people from both communities attended the three days of Eco Forum – World Environment Day 2006 (5-7 June), which drew attention to the issue of water resources on the island and the important relationship between Cypriot business and the protection of environmental assets. In a pre-recorded opening speech, Michael Møller, Special Representative to the Secretary General in Cyprus, explained that both communities shared a common ecosystem, which recognises no boundaries and emphasised the need for bi-communal cooperation to preserve this shared environment. Environmental experts from overseas and Cyprus presented innovative techniques that could be used as possible solutions to desertification and soil degradation. Speakers from the UN Environment Programme and local Cypriot business interests addressed the need to employ the philosophy and practice of corporate social responsibility, emphasising the role of the corporate world in social and environmental investments.
Participants discussed in workshops the role of media and NGOs in raising greater awareness and public education on the environment, and the role of business in protecting the environment. These ended in a consensus that an island-wide environmental stakeholder forum was needed to forge sustainable and long-term societal partnerships. Such a coalition of interests could become a powerful force for social action to address some of the most pressing environmental concerns on the island.