Address by Vassiliki Anastassiadou, minister of transport, communications and works, Cyprus, at the CIRCLE 2019 Conference
“We are very honoured to be hosting the CIRCLE 2019 Conference on Challenges for the Islands in the Era of the Circular Economy along with the 6th Cyprus Sustainable Mobility and Intelligent Transport (SMILE) Conference, in Nicosia. It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the sunniest and brightest part of Europe.
By combining the two conferences we are bringing together for the first time people from various sectors, each contributing decisively in dealing with the issues at hand.
We have amongst us, representatives from the sectors of energy, mobility, urban planning, waste management, tourism and environment.
We also have specialists in the fields of information technology, communications, blue economy, geographic information systems, smart cities and many more.
This event negotiates a number of topics which affect the daily lives of citizens’ in almost every country of the world. Topics such as air quality, the optimal management of water resources and of waste, recycling in remote areas and islands and the best way to generate clean energy.
We shall also focus on ways to reduce dependence on vehicles and fossil fuel consumption through the use of technology, as well as on efforts to stimulate sustainable economic growth. Sustainable tourism, is another issue of interest, along with the building of smart cities and many more.
I am delighted to welcome a number of distinguished speakers from the European Commission, governments and local authorities of EU member states, as well as academia and industry. The topics of the conference were selected in such a way so as to provide the opportunity for a constructive and fruitful dialogue.
At the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works, we are active proponents of sustainable mobility, expanding the scope of our activities in recent years, in terms of mobility, by developing our public transport, designing and implementing infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists and through exploring the feasibility and sustainability of rail connection between cities and tramways within cities.
A central element in this effort is the holistic approach, promoting the development and implementation of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) for each city, as well as developing a Strategic Transport Plan for the whole island.
The aim is to upgrade and modernise design standards, introducing a more human-centric approach. At the same time, we are substantially improving road safety for the vulnerable road users, shaping a new culture of less focused on driving. We are thus, rebalancing and redistributing road space among all means of transport with priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.
Our primary goal is the continuous development of our country, in a sustainable manner, so that medium- and long-term benefits are maximized. Sustainable mobility is perfectly suited in this context, because it serves the real needs of citizens, improving quality of life, while at the same time it achieves resource savings and boosts the economy.
Here at the ministry, we are already promoting a package of sustainable mobility actions co-funded by the European Union’s Cohesion Fund. These include the implementation of actions from the Nicosia Integrated Mobility Master Plan and the development of corresponding sustainable urban mobility plans for the other cities of Cyprus.
Another important field that has been developing in recent years in Cyprus is that of Intelligent Transport Systems with the most noteworthy example being the establishment of a Traffic Control Centre located in the Public Works Department of the Ministry. As far as public transport is concerned, the existing services provided have been evaluated and advance telematics systems have been introduced.
On the whole, planning sustainable, multi-modal cities and regions can be a challenging process but I am confident that, through our actions, we will reach the goals set.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you all for being here. Your presence is invaluable and guarantees the success of this event. I would also like to thank all our co-organisers, supporters and sponsors, as well as our colleagues from the Sustainable Mobility Section of the Department of Public Works who have worked so hard for today’s event.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who is participating in this conference.
It is truly an honour to be hosting this ambitious two-fold Conference and I am sure that it will be a fruitful two-day event for all of you.”