Citizens’ wellbeing should be prioritized in designing and implementing Limassol’s sustainability strategy. This was the conclusion of the 3rd Blue Limassol Forum, which was held on May 26th at Frederick University, Limassol campus, with simultaneous online streaming. The Forum was addressed by the Deputy Minister of Shipping, Ms. Marina Hadjimanolis.
The Blue Limassol Forum is an annual event co-organized by Limassol Municipality and Frederick University’s Department of Maritime Transport and Commerce, where experts and representatives from all sectors operating on coastal Limassol discuss issues relevant to the sustainable development of the city. This year’s Forum focused on Limassol’s goal to become a climate-neutral city by 2030.
During her speech, the Deputy Minister of Shipping emphasized her Ministry’s support for initiatives such as the Blue Limassol Forum, which promote the development of Blue Economy with respect to the environment and aim to improve the citizens’ wellbeing. Ms. Hadjimanolis noted that promoting quality education is essential in ensuring that businesses prosper in a constantly changing market environment. “As we move towards Sustainable Development Goals, the reliance on human capital becomes even more crucial than ever before; we need skilled professionals with environmental awareness who can lead us effectively towards achieving our objectives”, the Deputy Minister noted. She thanked Frederick University for the proven track record, since 1999, of providing knowledgeable and motivated graduates in maritime studies, ready to take on the challenges of the modern workplace.
The Mayor of Limassol, Mr Nicos Nikolaides, referred to the goal of maximizing the benefits from the development of the Blue Economy and the establishment of the newly founded Blue Innovation Center. The Center operates in direct cooperation and connection with Frederick University and the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT), the two Universities in Limassol that offer maritime programs of study, aiming for the systematic dissemination of knowledge and the expansion of the Blue Economy ecosystem. The Mayor also mentioned Limassol’s success in being selected as one of the 100 cities participating in the EU Mission on Climate Neutral and Smart Cities program, with the aim of becoming a climate-neutral and smart city by 2030. He stated: “It is a great challenge and an ambitious plan for the city of Limassol.” Mr Nicolaides expressed his optimism for the prospect of new job opportunities and improving the quality of life for citizens who will be co-creators in this new vision for their city.
During the conference, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Deputy Ministry of Shipping and Frederick University. On behalf of the University, the MoU was signed by Vice-Rector for Research, Development, and International Relations, Professor Michalis Komodromos. “Collaboration is the key to achieving our goals and this is what we will pursue through the Memorandum we are signing today” said Prof. Komodromos. provides a platform for people to establish and develop technological and scientific cooperation in maritime affairs and integrated maritime policy.
The Dean of Frederick University’s School of Business and Law, Professor Eleni Hadjiconstantinou, as well as the Rector of the University of La Rochelle, Professor Jean-Marc Ogier, addressed the Forum. Professor Ogier is the President of the Governing Board of EU-CONEXUS, a European University Alliance focusing on Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability, in which Frederick University participates as a full member. Captain Eugen Henning Adami, President of the Cyprus Foundation of the Sea (CyFoS) and a member of the Department of Maritime Transport and Commerce’s Faculty, chaired the Forum’s presentations and panel discussion. Carola M. Hein, Head of the Department of History of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Delft University of Technology, referred to the goal of the energy transition of the port of Rotterdam. Ehud Gonen, a PhD candidate at the University of Haifa, spoke about Israel’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. Prof. Thanasis Hadzilakos, Adjunct Professor at the Cyprus Institute, discussed the prospect of a social strategy in Limassol to address the climate crisis. Dr Dimitris Kleitou, a Lecturer at the Department of Maritime Transport and Commerce, talked about improving Limassol coastal surveillance, while Dr Manolis Nikolaidis, Associate Professor at the same department, presented decarbonization practices in port cities. The discussion that followed captured the interest of the audience, as well as representatives and companies operating on the coasts of Limassol. Dr Angelos Menelaou, Chairman of the Department of Maritime Transport and Commerce, participated in the panel and referred to the dramatically increased traffic congestion of Limassol as an outcome of the disorganized development of high-rise buildings. He added that this should concern the relevant authorities and serve as a lesson that the key to sustainable cities is the long-term planning rather than the prospect of temporary revenue. Mr Prabhat Kumar Jha, Vice President of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber and CEO of the MSC Shipmanagement Ltd Cyprus, made a significant and encouraging intervention. He referred to the good practices adopted by his company when approaching the port of Limassol, such as closing and sealing the sewage overboard valve 15 nautical miles before approaching the port, a distance far beyond the required one by the relevant international regulation. This good practice ensures that it becomes impossible to release human waste even accidentally. He concluded “We feel part of the ecosystem and that we have our share of responsibility.”
The 3rd Blue Limassol Forum concluded with the Municipality of Limassol and the University of Frederick renewing their appointment for the Blue Limassol Forum 2024. In his closing remarks, Captain Eugen Henning Adami noted that citizens and their wellbeing should be the primary goal when we undertake research and development projects. He also added that the challenge to become carbon neutral requires that all stakeholders are engaged in cross boarder collaboration.
The Blue Limassol Forum has become an annual event focusing on sustainable development issues along the coast of Limassol. It annually attracts the interest of executives from public bodies, organizations, and companies involved in Limassol’s shipping sector, as well as renowned experts and researchers in the sustainability of maritime and coastal zones from Cyprus and abroad. The Forum aims to raise awareness regarding the maritime and environmental issues faced by cities like Limassol. In this context, a questionnaire is conducted among citizens, and the results will be used to develop the strategy of Limassol as one of the 100 cities in the European Union selected to participate in the EU Mission Cities.