The Cabinet of Ministers of Cyprus approved and adopted a proposal by the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy (DMRIDP) to develop a National Framework Strategy and Promotion of Smart Cities (end 2020). This decision was made in a wider spirit pushing to digitalization of all sectors in the island. The initiative is part of the Government’s wider planning to achieve digital and green transition as well as promoting innovation as social welfare and sustainable economic development tools in today’s ever-changing and highly competitive international environment.
The new initiative is coordinated by DMRIDP, in cooperation with other partners (competent ministries, local government, etc.), and provides for the definition and adoption of necessary reforms, policies and infrastructures that allow effective creation of smart cities throughout Cyprus, in a uniform manner, ensuring economies of scale in the implementation of various actions.
By utilizing smart networks and digital applications, solutions are available in modern urban challenges, including, inter alia, mobility matters (traffic management, availability of parking), e-government, security (emergency management), and environmental protection (saving resources, pollution reduction).
This initiative is fully harmonized with the European Union’s development strategy aiming at a modern, digital, resource-efficient and competitive economy, and a climate neutral European territory. It is expected to become a driving lever for upgrading and improving the quality of life of citizens, and can be funded by various financial instruments, such as the European Structural and Investment Funds, the European Horizon Program, and the Digital Europe Program that is the first purely digital financial EU program, which is part of the long-term budget 2021-2027.
Since some of the biggest municipalities have already applied specific actions that fall under the ‘smart cities’ concept, the Deputy Ministry aims through this Strategy to coordinate and support all other local authority units in Cyprus to prepare the ground for proceeding in the implementation of similar actions.
A significant role for the implementation of a range of ‘smart cities’ projects and activities is expected by the new Recovery and Resilience Plan of Cyprus which has recently (May 2021) been submitted to the EC and expected to be approved in July 2021. The Republic of Cyprus has requested €1 billion in grants and €227 million in loans under the Recovery and Resilience Fund. The Cypriot plan is structured around the five policy areas, one of them entitled “Digital Transition” aiming at upgrading digital infrastructure until 2026. The 20% of the Plan’s budget is dedicated to digital transition.
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