DESIRAS Stakeholder meeting Cyprus – 18 November, Nicosia, Cyprus
Nov 19th, 2011 |
Cyprus, 19.11.2011. “If you like to see what the climate in Cyprus will look like in 20 years if no action is taken, go to Cairo. For 50 years, go to Bahrein.” With these words, Mr. Charalambos Theopemptou, Commissioner for the Environment of Cyprus, concluded the first session of the DESIRAS stakeholder meeting in Cyprus. Climate Change, Water Scarcity and Drought and Desertification are clearly crucial challenges on Cyprus, as was also outlined by Mr. Sofoclis Aletraris, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources who focused on the need for strengthening the institutional framework to address water issues as isolated measures won’t be enough and by Mr. Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Member of the European Parliament on behalf of Cyprus, who stated that Cyprus should use the Presidency of the European Council in the second half of 2012 to promote water issues and measures. Urgent and far-reaching measures are clearly needed in Cyprus. In the words of Mr. Theopemptou: “We have five years to reduce the effects of climate change – we need to take bold steps to avoid huge problems and avoid becoming climate refugees”.
Against this background the 80 participants in the meeting showed large interest in the potential for water saving and combating desertification in the DESIRAS project, and the parallel MIDMURES and I-Adapt projects. Furthermore, the Water Stewardship approach was warmly welcomed as a method to change the mentality of water-users, as only implementing technologies won’t solve the problems. During the meeting, the Arissandra and Ecozoe farms participating in the project indicated that already this year they expect to save over 30% on their water-use, due to their involvement in DESIRAS.
A full report on the meeting will be made available over the next weeks.