Recommendations For Rural Development – Cyprus
Cyprus faces major challenges regarding the environment, biodiversity, resource efficiency, and climate change. Low precipitation, high temperatures and increased periods of drought are putting extreme pressures on Cyprus’ scarce natural resources, such as water, agricultural land, forests, and soils, and threaten ecosystem biodiversity.
Sustainable management and efficient use of Cyprus’ natural resources are vital necessities in order to preserve and restore the natural environment and biodiversity, mitigate climate change and maintain socio-economic growth.
Development Strategy Framework
In the context of the Development Strategy Framework of Cyprus, according to the Law Providing for Fiscal Responsibility and the Budget Systems (N. 20(I)/2014), the Strategy Statement determines the key strategic objectives and policy priorities of the Government for the years 2016-2019, within the forecasted fiscal framework.
The Strategy Statement consists of the following pillars:
- the “Government Strategy Statement”: It analyzes the broader framework of the government’s development policy in the medium term and indicates the economic sectors for which priority should be given. The Government Strategy Statement provides the policy direction for the preparation of the sectoral Strategic Plans by the line Ministries.
- the “Fiscal Strategy Statement”: It sets the maximum expenditure ceilings for each Independent Authority / Ministry, with the aim to correct the prevailing financial imbalances. It is prepared by the Ministry of Finance.
- the “Human Resources Policy Statement”: It sets out the government’s policy in relation to personnel and employment issues and it is prepared by the Public Administration and Personnel Department.
The new aforementioned Law has been fully implemented in 2016. Regarding the promotion of development projects, the Law Providing for Fiscal Responsibility and the Budget Systems provides for the establishment of an evaluation framework for such projects. This framework aims to define common methodology and parameters, in order to promote the implementation of projects which are sustainable / viable and most beneficial in the long run.
Government Strategy Statement
The Government Strategy Statement analyzes the broader framework of the government’s development policy and captures the horizontal and sectoral priority areas of the economy to which emphasis should be placed within the state budget. It sets out the basis and directions for the preparation of the Strategic Plans of the Ministries.
- Strategic Pursuit and Development Goals
The main strategic pursuit of governance is the creation of coherent sustainable economic growth and the strengthening of employment and social cohesion, through:
- Improving the competitive position of the Cypriot economy and creating a favorable business environment, the malpractice of Cyprus as a regional business center.
- Establishing Cyprus as a regional business center and a high-quality tourist destination.
- Enriching the energy balance and the developing a regional energy hub.
- Policy Axes
Aiming at the immediate restructuring of the economy to a sound basis within the development goals set, the following key policy axes have been prioritized:
- Axis 1: Restructuring the Cypriot Economy and Strengthening Competitiveness.
- Axis 2: Upgrading Human Resources, Promoting Employment and Social Cohesion.
- Axis 3: Protection and Efficient Use of Resources.
- Axis 4: Institutional Adjustments (restructure and improvement of public administration with modern standards).
Action Plan for Growth
In 2015 an Action Plan for Growth was adopted, which includes targeted measures in priority areas, as well as horizontal actions that are deemed to contribute significantly to improving competitiveness and business environment, job creation and a more balanced development model, which will be less susceptible to external shocks.
The objectives of the Action Plan are to develop and adopt a new model for a more competitive economy, on the basis of the Government Strategy Statement, defining the overall objectives and direction of the Strategic Plans of Ministries and other government agencies.
Indicatively, some of the measures included in the Action Plan concern:
- Measures implemented by / with the contribution of the Unit Administrative Reform of the Presidency:
- Achieving Balanced Growth
- Improving Investment and Entrepreneurship
- Improving the Regulatory Framework
- Public Service and Governance Reform
- Digital Strategy and e-Government Strategy Europe 2020
- Measures concerning the EU Country Recommendations for Cyprus (Structural and Financial / Structural measures):
- Public Service and Financial Framework Reform
- Investment Facilitation and Privatization
- Enhancement of Public Employment Services
- Education System Reform
- Measures implemented by competent Ministries / Services:
- Research and Innovation
- Green Energy
- Business and Professional Services
- Connectivity Shipping Industry Agriculture
- Aquaculture and Processing of Agricultural Products
- Industrial Policy
Europe 2020 strategy
Europe 2020 strategy is the follow-up to the Lisbon Strategy and the European Union’s (EU) development strategy for the 2010-2020 period. This new strategy was adopted by the European Council on 17th of June 2010 in a Europe’s effort to overcome the crisis, creating the conditions for a more competitive, more job-rich economy, aiming for growth: smart, with more effective investment in education, research and innovation, sustained by a decisive transition to a low-carbon economy and a more competitive and inclusive industry, with particular emphasis on job creation and poverty reduction.
The objectives set by Cyprus and degree of implementation is shown in the related Table below in the related documents.
In addition, the Europe 2020 Strategy includes 7 “flagship initiatives” which provide a framework through which the EU and national authorities mutually reinforce their efforts in areas supporting the Europe 2020 Strategy priorities:
- “Innovation Union” to improve framework conditions and access to funding for research and innovation, in order to ensure that innovative ideas can be transformed into products and services that will create growth and jobs.
- “Youth on the move” to enhance the performance of education systems and facilitate the entry of young people into labor market.
- “Digital Agenda for Europe” to accelerate the roll-out of high-speed Internet access services and to benefit from a digital single market for households and businesses.
- “A resource-efficient Europe” to decouple economic growth from resource use, support the transition to a low-carbon economy, increase the use of renewable energy sources, modernize the sector transport and encourage energy efficiency.
- “An industrial policy for the globalization era” to improve the business environment, especially for SMEs, and to support the development of a strong and sustainable industrial base capable of competing globally.
- “Agenda for new skills and jobs” to modernize labor markets and empower citizens through lifelong skills development, in order to increase labor market participation and match better supply and demand in the labor market, including through the mobility of the workforce.
- “European Platform against Poverty” to ensure social and territorial cohesion so that the benefits of growth and employment can be broadly spread and people living in poverty and social exclusion can gain the means of dignified living and participate actively in society.
Rural Development Program for Cyprus 2014-2020
The Rural Development Programme (RDP) for Cyprus was formally adopted by the European Commission on 3 December 2015, outlining the priorities of the Republic of Cyprus for using the €251.3 million of public money that is available for the 7-year period 2014-2020 (€132.2 million from the EU budget and € 121.1 million of national co-funding).
The RDP for Cyprus is putting particular emphasis on actions related to restoring, preserving, and enhancing ecosystems, economic development in rural areas, and competitiveness of the agri-food sector. For example, 36,742 hectares of agricultural land will be protected under agri-environment-climate contracts targeting preservation of biodiversity, improved water management and prevention of soil erosion. In addition, it is expected that 11,700 hectares (41.4%) of irrigated land will switch to more efficient irrigation systems. In order to improve the competitiveness of the agri-food sector 730 agricultural holdings will benefit from support to improve their economic performance and to restructure and modernize. In addition, 300 young farmers will be granted business start-up aid and 2,800 training places will be created to foster innovation, knowledge transfer, cooperation, more sustainable farming practices, and robust rural businesses.
The RDP will also implement the European Innovation Partnership to help deliver innovative solutions to the farm and forestry sectors. Local development (Leader) will cover 11.5% of the rural population.
Support for Rural Development is the 2nd Pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy, providing Member States with an envelope of EU funding to manage nationally or regionally under multi-annual, co-funded programmes. In total, 118 programmes are foreseen in all 28 Member States. The new RD Regulation for the period 2014-2020 addresses six economic, environmental, and social priorities, and programmes contain clear targets setting out what is to be achieved. Moreover, in order to coordinate actions better and maximise synergies with the other European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF), a Partnership Agreement has been agreed with each Member State highlighting its broad strategy for EU-funded structural investment.
Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development
In September 2015, in the context of the 20th General Assembly of the United Nations the “Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development” was adopted, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 related sub-targets, giving a new dimension to global efforts towards sustainable development. All developed and developing countries are jointly responsible for the achievement of the SDGs. Agenda 2030 integrates in a balanced way the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – and reflects for the first time the existence of an international consensus and a common pursuit of the objectives of peace, security, justice for all and social inclusion, which are mutually reinforcing in Agenda 2030.
Cyprus has already prepared and submitted in 2017 the First Voluntary Progress Report on the Implementation of Agenda 2030. The relevant challenges that have been observed for Cyprus under the 2017 report are the high public debt, the relatively high level of unemployment, the low participation of the agricultural sector in GDP, the energy dependency of the country on imported sources, low participation of women in public and political life, the need for a sustainable consumption policy, the high rate of non-achievement in the field of mathematics, science and reading and the need to increase the official development assistance.
Concluding, as also stated in the current Regional Development Programme, the priorities and emphasis for the Rural Development Programme for Cyprus are on actions related to:
- restoring, preserving, and enhancing local ecosystems, biodiversity, improved water management and prevention of soil erosion
- economic development in rural areas, and
- competitiveness of the promising agri-food sector
- supporting knowledge transfer through training on specific topics, demonstration activities, information actions, as well as short-term farm and forest management exchanges and visits to empower the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sectors
- training of young farmers.