Since Cyprus has entered the European Union, the basis of the environmental policies has been re-formed.
Cyprus has signed the nine International Environmental Agreements and has ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which has already been implemented for governing the movement of living modified organisms (LMO) resulting from modern biotechnology to countries outside the EU. Moreover, Cyprus has ratified the following:
- International Environmental Agreements;
- The Cartagena Protocol;
- The Kyoto Protocol.
The Department of Environment, specifically the Nature and Earth Sector, is mainly responsible for the laws and regulations concerning the protection and management of nature and wildlife. The laws allow particular regulations to be applied and enforced regarding: the introduction of products from sea creatures, commercial items from wild flora and fauna, the import of fur and products derived from wild animals, in addition to regulations intended at protecting and managing wildlife, among others.
The Pollution Sector of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment is responsible to protect, regulate and prevent water and land pollution from industry and stockbreeding operations. Moreover the Ministry is partially responsible for the protection of waters from agriculturally sourced nitrate pollution as well as for the application of the Correct Agricultural Code of Practice. The Code entails the correct administration of stockbreeding waste disposal to protect waters from nitrate pollution and consists of four parts:
- Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use;
- Code of Practice for Stockbreeding Waste Disposal;
- Code of Practice for Processed Water Use;
- Code of Practice for Agricultural Use of Sludge;
- Regulation of Water and Land Pollution Law;
- Complete Prevention and Regulation of Pollution Law.
The Waste Disposal and Climate Change Sector of the Department of Environment is responsible to control fossil and dangerous waste disposal to secure the protection of the environment and public health and simultaneously adopting the environmental policies of the European Union. The Fossil and Dangerous Waste Disposal Law in Cyprus includes:
- the type, quantity and the source of waste disposal constituting management;
- objectives for the reduction, re-use and recycling of waste disposal;
- the administrative methods which will be applied, relating specifically to the collection, transport, validation or available waste disposal;
- all of the specific provisions which apply to the specific types of waste disposal;
- the number of developmental installations and their availability, which will be required to cover waste disposal management needs;
- the natural or legal bodies who are certified for waste disposal management;
- the estimated cost for the developmental labour and availability of the waste disposal installations;
- the appropriate measures to encourage the correct organisation of collections, discourse and processing of waste management Law on Waste Disposal and Climate Change.
The Sustainable Development and Product Sector of the Department of Environmental is primarily concerned for promoting sustainable development throughout a series of policies and legislations. Part of these strategies, is the national strategy for sustainable development, as well as the Cardiff process and the environmental aspect of the national strategy of Lisbon.
Concerning legislation, the Sector is accountable for various legislations which touch upon numerous environmental aspects, including those which relate to the application of voluntary tools for promoting the protection of the environment into organisations or products (ecological seals, systems of environmental management, the European plan of action for the promotion of environmental technology, and the promotion of green public contracts).
In applying the harmonious legislation for the evaluation and management of environmental noise, the Sector promotes the preparation of a strategic noise chart and an essential plan of action, according to an implemented time frame.
The Product Sector increases the application of regulations specifically with regard to levels of noise produced by equipment used in outdoor spaces, the law concerning ozone-layer-destroying substances, and EU regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.
The Sector represents Cyprus in the Montreal Protocol with its activities at an international level for the protection of the ozone layer, in the Cartagena Protocol for the regulation of cross-border transport of genetically modified organisms, in the Aarhus Convention Agreement to make environmental information available and the participation in decisions accessible to the public, as well as in the Barcelona contract for the protection of the Mediterranean from pollution.
- law concerning evaluation and management of environmental noise;
- law concerning voluntary participation of organisations in a system of Community ecological management and control;
- law concerning Community system awards of ecological seals;
- law concerning environmental responsibility with regard to the prevention and the recovery of environmental destruction.
Social Rules -Legal requirements
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1996, with its related amendments 2001-2003, force employers to ensure that their workforce benefits of a healthy and safe conditions at work. Moreover, the Ionizing Radiation Protection Act 2002 enables employers or authorized persons accountable for ensuring that their employees enjoy healthy and safe conditions in the workplace and that sick persons, the public and the environment are protected from ionising radiation used in their activities. This responsibility includes preventing and dealing with risks posed for the foetus in the case of female workers who are pregnant, as well as young people at work.
- legislation on health and safety at work;
- legislation on protection against ionising rays and nuclear safety;
- businesses must comply with the statutory provisions, but they may voluntarily move a step forward and become more socially responsible.
Taking Sustainability Further - Cyprus
Established businesses can develop environmental practices that go beyond legally required directives.
Corporate Social Responsibility may be translated into the extend in which businesses implement their social and environmental concerns into their every day activities and which go beyond their legal obligations.
Guide to the European Committee specific to Corporate Social Responsibility:
In cases where businesses throughout their activities cause any pollution to water and land, they are naturally responsible for its recovery. The Environmental Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment plays an integral role in the application of the specific guideline (35/2004/EC) and the national legislation in this respect.
Law concerning environmental responsibility with regard to the prevention and recovery of environmental damage:
- regulation of the EU eco-label;
- European Ecological Label.
Through the European eco-label retailers can inform their clients that their products respect the environment. Application for the label is voluntary and, as such, does not generate any commercial obstacles. Products which are covered by the European Ecological Label are everyday consumable goods (apart from food, beverages and pharmaceuticals, which are not covered by this system) as well as services. The responsible Authority of the Environmental Agency is the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment.
The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a voluntary European Union label designed to permit organisations to evaluate, manage and improve their contribution to the environment. The main characteristics are the following:
- on-going, improved contribution to the environment;
- government-supervised adaptation to implement environmental legislation;
- public information via an annual report;
- participation of the personnel;
- European Union regulation for the voluntary participation of organizations in a community eco-management and supervisory system (EMAS).