It is with great pleasure that I participate in tonight's very important event for our capital city and for Local Government in general, in the context of our general effort for the transition to the new technological era.
Cities around the world are now being called upon to face new challenges arising mainly, among many others, from climate change, traffic congestion and the lack of green lungs. Challenges that can be effectively addressed by harnessing digital and technological advances. Challenges that we must approach as opportunities. Not something that threatens us but something that we should see as a unique opportunity, using digital technology not only to save resources but also to improve the daily lives and lives of citizens, reduce inconvenience and protect the environment. And building on this reasoning, I firmly believe that we in Cyprus can not only be an important part - because it is part of this effort on the part of the EU for a green and digital Europe - but, precisely because of the size of our country, we can achieve this much faster than larger EU Member States.
In this context, local authorities, with the help of central government, are now called upon to design, implement and deliver smart and practical solutions to citizens. Applications that will facilitate and improve the everyday life of citizens, which is an objective of our Government and is in line with the human-centred governance model we wish to promote.
The Nicosia Municipality, being a pioneer, has already implemented a number of effective "smart" solutions for the residents of the capital. Through the co-funded programme "THALIA 2021-2027", it has so far raised €6.5 million for the transformation of Nicosia into a "Smart City".
The Nicosia Municipality project we are launching today, as we have already followed, involves the creation of infrastructure for the development of various smart systems from which both the Municipality of Nicosia and its residents can benefit. Already, the Municipality has a wireless network available for all, while early access to a system for monitoring and informing citizens about the availability of parking spaces and other smart options and solutions is being implemented through a smart app.
With all this, the capital of Cyprus has now dynamically joined the map of European cities that are innovating, following the European direction for "smart sustainable cities". I would like to take this opportunity to warmly congratulate both the Mayor and his colleagues in the City Council. from the Recovery and Resilience Plan, the creation of "smart cities" is one of the key pillars for achieving the necessary technological development of the country and promoting e-government. And I believe that we should support cities first. Clearly, work on the digital transition at the level of the Civil Service is necessary. But also, everything that we see in the Nicosia Municipality we should achieve in all cities through a plan to move forward as soon as possible, because all this improves the quality of everyday life of citizens, which is our priority.
A few days ago, the Deputy Ministry has also announced the tender for the creation of a "smart city platform" and in the first phase the implementation of three vertical solutions - smart parking, smart lighting, smart waste management - in all our Municipalities and in the future also in our Communities. We should not go directly to all municipalities and communities because, at the end of the day, we will not be able to complete anything. We have to be very targeted.
The purpose of the project is precisely to improve the lives of our citizens, their daily lives, but also - the other big challenge before us - to protect the environment. Through the incredible possibilities now offered by technology and the innovations that it brings, urban life can be transformed in a beneficial way, always for the benefit of citizens.
Smart cities, through their operation, lead to safer communities, promote more effective decision-making through the collection of useful data, achieve better management of natural resources, protect the environment, improve transport, and offer better opportunities for economic growth. All this leads to better governance for the benefit of citizens.
So, using innovative and smart solutions as a springboard in our Municipalities and Communities, our goal is to significantly change the experience of residents and visitors alike and get closer to the goal of creating a "Smart Cyprus".
Through collectivity and joint efforts, as well as the synergies between the Union of Municipalities, the Union of Communities and the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, I am confident that we will successfully carry out this important project, which will be the trigger for the transition of our State to the digital era.
I have followed with attention the presentation of the design of the "Smart City" of the Nicosia Municipality, and I am really proud of the work you have done, the effort and the zeal you have shown through this effort. Congratulations are truly due to all those who have contributed and are part of the implementation of the whole project.
Addressing the Mayor of Nicosia, Mr. Constantinos Yiorkatzis, I admit, dear Mayor, that it takes great inspiration and perseverance to achieve such a great and innovative project and innovative initiatives that will transform the capital of Cyprus into a smart and sustainable city.
Addressing the Mayor of Nicosia, Mr. Constantinos Yiorkatzis, I admit, dear Mayor, that it takes great inspiration and perseverance to achieve such a great and innovative project and innovative initiatives that will transform the capital of Cyprus into a smart and sustainable city. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you warmly.
From our side, as the Government, our goal as a State is to create an ecosystem like the Nicosia Municipality, in every municipality and community - the State is coming to follow the Local Government, which is about the private sector, which is clearly ahead of all of us. I am sure that it will positively change the lives of our residents and visitors alike.
In conclusion, allow me to congratulate again all the contributors, all those who believed in this project so that we are here today, at such a brilliant moment in the history of the Local Government of our country and especially of the Nicosia Municipality.
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