INSTITUTIONALISING the job of environment commissioner will improve the way environmental issues are being handled in Cyprus, the Green Party said yesterday.
President-elect Nicos Anastasiades has chosen to appoint the Green Party head Ioanna Panayiotou as environment commissioner. She will be replacing Charalambos Theopemptou.
The Greens said yesterday Anastasiades had committed to upgrading the institution of the environment commissioner, and is due to forward legislation to parliament to strengthen the position , and its staff.
“Institutionalising the commissioner with legislation will propel forward the way environmental issues are being handled in our country,” said Greens spokeswoman Eleni Chrysostomou.
Chrysostomou said that an environment council headed by the new commissioner is due to be set up to promote green development and oversee a fund relating to environmental issues across various departments such as waste management, energy and health.
“We have decided to all work together so that the new job positions can be created and so that our country can be harmonised with EU legislation,” she added.
The new commissioner – a politician – will be replacing Theopemptou – a former lecturer at the Higher Technical Institute – who was first appointed environment commissioner by former President Tassos Papadopoulos in 2006 and then reappointed by Demetris Christofias in 2008. He was effectively a one-man office, with only a secretary provided to assist him in his duties.
A tireless worker, Theopemptou gained the admiration and respect of those he worked with. On social media websites, Facebook and Twitter, people wished him well and expressed their disappointment that his term was not to be renewed.
Theopemptou has been keeping a website and blog as environment commissioner, writing articles and commenting on a great range of environmental issues, as well as actively maintaining Facebook and Twitter pages, in addition to his duties.
Many congratulated and thanked Theopemptou for his work.
Asked to comment on people’s reactions, Panayiotou said that “clearly, (Theopemptou) was very successful, but the commissioner is appointed by the President who was within his jurisdiction to appoint a new commissioner”.
The Greens also congratulated Theopemptou “for his exceptional work”.