PRESS RELEASE BY UNFICYP
Nicosia, 22 March 2011 – The UN-backed Technical Committee on Environment today marked World Water Day by launching an exhibit showcasing a variety of water-saving technologies aiming to heighten awareness about the many water management challenges faced in Cyprus and methods to address them.
The Water-Saving Technology Exhibit, launched this afternoon along the Ledra/Lokmaci Street crossing in the old town of Nicosia, will remain at the crossing over the course of the next four days, from today to 25 March, and then will go on the road to various locations throughout the island. Among the many features on display are those designed to reduce water use by up to 60 per cent from current usage.
Speakers addressing today’s launch underscored the realities facing the population in drought-prone Cyprus highlighting the need to take urgent action to address the many problems that arise in such extreme climates.
Addressing the event were Eleni Mavrou and Cemal Bulutoðlulari, the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot Mayors of Nicosia, George Iacovu and Kudret Ozersay, the Representatives of the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, Frank C. Urbancic Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, representing the main funder to the project by way of USAID, for funding much of the project, and Alexander Downer, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus.
Underscoring the breadth of water scarcity on the island Cyprus, Alexander Downer, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus, remarked that “the environment does not respect politics”. “It makes a lot of sense for the two communities to get together in bi-communal projects of this kind in order to address the sorts of problems we have in Cyprus”. Lauding the Technical Committee for their good work evidenced by the positive impact they have had in both communities, Mr. Downer expressed hope that this work would auger well for the great project to bring the two communities together in a re-unified bi-communal, bi-zonal federation.
Launched by the Technical Committee on Environment, one of the seven committees set up by the two communities in March 2008 to foster bi-communal projects on a range of issues, the exhibit is part of the project on “Awareness Raising Measures for Water Saving” launched last November and which is one of the confidence-building measures implemented on behalf of the Committee on the Environment. This bi-communal project is implemented by the AKTI Project and Research Centre and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Environmental Engineers, in co-operation with the Cyprus Environmental Stakeholder Forum and the Regional Network for Sustainable Future.
In his message issued on the occasion of the World Water Day 2011, carrying the theme “Water for Cities”, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged governments “to recognize the urban water crisis for what it is – a crisis of governance, weak policies and poor management, rather than one of scarcity.” Mr. Ban also called on the international community to reaffirm its “commitment to ending the plight of the more than 800 million people who, in a world of plenty, still do not have the safe drinking water or sanitation they need for a life in dignity and good health.”
World Water Day is observed internationally as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.
For more information about World Water Day, please visit - http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/
Please also visit www.unficyp.org and www.uncyprustalks.org