Division in Cyprus
Cyprus has a history of continuous external attacks and invasions. The most recent, the Ottoman and British invasions, largely explain the country’s current situation. That is the division in Cyprus between the Greek part and the Turkish part. Despite the complicated situation of a divided Cyprus, the country became a member of the EU in May 2004. Partition is a reality in Cyprus for more than four decades already so it is important to see how the EU is helping with this situation, mainly explaining how it is dealing with the core challenges and if there are any chances of reunification.

Historical Background

Since the start of British rule and the defeat of Ottoman influence, the pressure for Greek independence was present. By 1955, the Greek government raised the issue of self-determination and in April 1955, the EOKA revolution began. The British had trouble repressing the Greek Cypriots (GC) by themselves so they recruited Turkish Cypriots (TC). The British Empire not only prevented the island from joining Greece but increased the enmity between the GC and the TC which provoked the division in Cyprus.

The division in Cyprus started after it gained independence in 1960, but differences soon proved that ordinary coexistence was impossible. Almost 15 years later, negotiations were still stagnant. Therefore, in 1974, a 220 km long frontier, known as the Green Line emerged, separating the TC and GC regions. This Berlin-style iron curtain suggested that the only way to achieve peace is by granting the two regions the capacity to self-govern. In 1983, the Turkish side of Cyprus declared its independence as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. However, it remains a state that only Turkey recognizes.

What are the Challenges?

According to a report that the Congressional Research Service published, the per capita GDP in Cyprus by 2019 was $30,000 while in the north, it was more than half that amount, approximately $14,000. The TC has an open, free market economy, however, it is largely dependent on Turkey as a trading partner. TC’s diplomatic and economic isolation has limited its business opportunities and capacity to grow. The lack of political stability and recognition by other countries increases the costs of foreign investment in the region and makes it less attractive. Therefore, it also has to rely on Turkey for financial assistance.

This dependency has led to an unbearable situation in Northern Cyprus due to the Turkish Economic crisis. Inflation has sky-rocketed in Turkey, especially over the past few years. The Turkish Lira is 18.6 against the U.S. dollar, as of November 2022. This means an unprecedented fall in the value of Turkish currency, and thus, everything imported becomes more expensive.

Meanwhile, this situation in Northern Cyprus led to worrying shortages of basic goods in the region, including fuel. During the first half of January 2022, electricity cuts in Northern Cyprus were an ongoing thing. Constant power cuts, sometimes even daily mean no heating which severely affects a person’s quality of life. Furthermore, students are having difficulty studying during long periods of power cuts, making education harder for many.

The Ways the EU is Helping

When Cyprus asked to join the EU the problem was whether to recognize Cyprus as part of the EU or recognize the division in Cyprus and the existence of the Turkish state on the island, thus being the first power to recognize it apart from Turkey. Cyprus became a member but the EU only recognizes the Greek part of the island. Northern Cyprus, which the TC populate, is outside EU legislation and remains an isolated region in international affairs.

However, ever since Cyprus joined, the EU has stated its commitment to help alleviate the isolation that the TC suffered. Therefore, it established an EU Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community whose ultimate aim is to encourage reunification. The specific objectives in order to achieve this are:

  • Improving the economic situation in the TC.
  • Promoting communication and cooperation with the GC.
  • Establishing relations with other countries.
  • Preparing them for EU legislation.

From the start of the Programme until 2018, the EU dedicated almost €520 million to improve the situation for the TC region. Furthermore, even though EU legislation does not allow the TC to trade freely with EU members, since 2004, it has allowed all North Cyprus products to be sold to the GC and through them to other member states, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Due to this allowance, the EU became the largest trading partner after Turkey.

On the other hand, the relationship that has emerged between Turkey and the EU since the accession of Cyprus as a member is also important. In 2004, Turkey started negotiations to join the EU. Indirectly, the best way to help the situation in divided Cyprus is to change Turkey’s attitude towards the problem, according to International Council. Pushing for negotiations in Cyprus, rather than defending the separation would be good proof that Turkey is ready to make changes in favor of joining the EU.

However, up until today, Turkey’s accession negotiations have frozen. For Turkey, the EU means an opportunity to improve the economic problems in the country and for the EU, the accession of Turkey ensures a way of transforming the country’s practices into respecting democracy, rule of law and human rights. Reaching an agreement with these unnegotiable conditions has been difficult for Turkey which is clearly in democratic backsliding.

What the EU could do to revive democracy is clearly limited and depends greatly on the country itself. Therefore, reunification in Cyprus is a matter that has to wait but the EU has been helpful in stabilizing the problem, supporting the TC community, and avoiding violent confrontation.

– Carla Tomas
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Impact of COVID-19 in CyprusSituated south of Turkey in the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus is a small island with a population of 1.2 million, increasing modestly. Approximately 15.3% of the population is vulnerable to poverty or social exclusion — and given the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Cyprus, this percentage is only rising.

Cyprus Before the Virus

Poverty existed in Cyprus before the COVID-19 pandemic. This is due in part to the country’s political divisions, which include the Northern Republic of Cyprus, a Turkish de facto state that has controlled one-third of the island since 1974, and the Southern Republic of Cyprus. With such a stark division, the Cypriot government has found it difficult to track its impoverished population and provide assistance where it is needed.

A recent survey found that in 2019, just one year before the advent of the pandemic, “194,400 Cyprus residents were living in households with disposable income below the at-risk-of-poverty line.” Cyprus’s ethnic division also accounts for this, in that dense Greek-Cypriot populations in the South have tight-knit familial relationships. If one person in these families falls into financial difficulty, they are likely to not have another stable family member to fall back on. This leaves unsupported people like immigrants, single mothers and the elderly most vulnerable to poverty.

Impact of COVID-19 on Poverty in Cyprus

As one of the most popular destinations in Europe, tourism is a vital component of Cyprus’s economy. Prior to COVID-19, Cyprus had three consecutive record years of tourist arrivals, topping 4 million annual tourists. International travel bans that were implemented in March 2020 stagnated the country’s economy and exacerbated the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Cyprus. In that vein, domestic quarantine restrictions also halted the progression of potential reunification talks between Turkish-Cypriot President Ersin Tatar and Greek-Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

Cyprus also saw a surge in unemployment rates at the height of the pandemic. According to the most recent data on Cyprus’s unemployment rate, unemployment rates were at a low of 6.3% in July 2019, but jumped to 10.2% a year later, just a year after the pandemic hit.

Taking Initiative: Caritas Cyprus

Despite these drawbacks, fellowships have been able to make a dent in combating the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Cyprus. Organizations like Caritas Cyprus were among the first to do so.

Since its inception in 1986, Caritas Cyprus, a member of the Caritas Internationalis confederation, has worked at the grassroots level. It aims to end poverty, promote justice and restore dignity by “responding to humanitarian needs on the island with the aim of providing compassionate care and support to the poor, dispossessed and marginalized.”

Caritas Cyprus primarily works through local parish initiatives as well as cross-island programs that focus on migrants, local needs (diaconia) and youth engagement. The Migrant Sector typically affords support to hundreds of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants through the operation of two centers. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine restrictions, these two centers weren’t able to operate at full capacity. Nonetheless, the organization still provided sufficient aid through its two other sectors.

The Diaconia Sector provided extensive relief for Cyprus’s unemployed population amid the pandemic. Job Search Program connected jobseekers with potential employers using networks within the community.

Following the relaxation of quarantine restrictions, the Youth Sector encouraged the country’s youth to participate in volunteering, fundraising, social events and other humanitarian efforts to raise awareness for groups that bore the brunt of the pandemic’s poverty.

Looking Ahead

As of October 2021, Cyprus has administered more than 1.1 million doses of COVID vaccines; assuming that every person requires two doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated nearly half of the country’s population. Though the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Cyprus has posed an acute setback on the country’s economic progress, hope still exists that the country can recover. The rapid distribution of vaccines, assistance from organizations and potential reunification talks between Northern and Southern Cyprus can not only suppress the spread of COVID-19, but ultimately make headway in eradicating poverty.

– Tiffany Grapsas
Photo: Flickr

Greek and Cypriot povertyAfter decades of economic struggle, which the pandemic and COVID-related restrictions exacerbated, Greece and Cyprus are optimistic about their economic futures. In 2019, both countries’ economies were in grim states. In Cyprus, 15.3% of the population was at risk of poverty as of 2020, a marginal rise from the previous year. Meanwhile, 30% of Greece’s population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2020. Amid all the pessimism, however, there are reasons to have a bright outlook for the future of Greek and Cypriot poverty reduction.

EU Funding

Massive pandemic relief packages stemming from the EU budget have already allowed a solid recovery for Greece and Cyprus. In June 2021, the EU approved a recovery plan worth €30.5 billion for Greece. According to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the plan “will help Greece build a better future.” The recovery plan could spur Greek economic growth by 7% within the next six years, giving people a reason to be optimistic about the future of Greece’s economy.

In Cyprus, the €1.2 billion that Greece secured from the EU Recovery and Resilience Program and €1.8 billion from the EU’s Structural and Investment Funds form part of the Cypriot president’s self-described “ambitious” recovery plan. The massive cash influx will help add at least 11,000 new jobs, a significant number for a country with a population of around 875,000. In addition, it will help Cyprus reverse course from the continuous austerity its government has implemented in recent years, which has proven counterproductive in the fight against poverty. These two gigantic pandemic relief packages from the EU will allow a bright future for Greek and Cypriot poverty reduction.

Optimistic Economic Growth Projections

Another major reason for optimism about Greek and Cypriot poverty rates is the countries’ economic growth projections. Despite the pandemic significantly shrinking both nations’ economies, economic growth projections for upcoming quarters and years are notably better than expected.

In Greece, for example, after a fantastic 4.4% rise in GDP in the first quarter of 2021 despite the COVID-related restrictions that were in place for almost the entire quarter, the EU Commission has released a favorable economic forecast for Greece for the remainder of 2021 as well as for 2022. It expects Greece’s GDP to grow by 4.3% in 2021 and 6% in 2022. Cyprus’s economy also appears poised to bounce back phenomenally from its shrinkage. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has said that the EU’s relief plan will enable a 7% increase in GDP over the next five years.

Gabriel Sylvan
Photo: Flickr

Women's Rights in Cyprus
The Republic of Cyprus is located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. With a population of 1.2 million people, this country faces gender inequality in education, wages and poverty rates. However, its government is working to improve women’s rights in Cyprus through various policies and programs.

The Gender Gap

Cyprus ranks 21st on the European Union’s Gender Equality Index. The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) developed this measurement to see how different factors like age and disability have an impact on gender equality. Cyprus’ ranking emphasizes the need for improved gender equality, specifically women’s rights. Even though there are more women in education than men, in 2017, only 32% of women were secondary school graduates. However, this percentage went up to 38% only a year later.

Despite having more female graduates from secondary and tertiary education, men often receive more pay than women. In fact, women earn half of what men earn. A disproportionate number of women live in poverty in comparison to men. The AROPE (at-risk-of-poverty and social exclusion) measure, which measures poverty, exclusion from the labor market and material deprivation, found that 23.3% of women were in poverty in 2019 while men were at 21.2%. Three in 10 women were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2017.

Despite its low ranking in the Gender Equality Index, Cyprus is making faster progress than other countries when it comes to gender equality scores. One can credit this improvement to effective government initiatives.

Government Initiatives

The Constitution of Cyprus has a section on gender equality. Article 28 of the constitution focuses on the equal treatment of women and prohibits discrimination. Cyprus has implemented many government policies and programs to improve gender equality in the country. The government distributed its Strategic Plan on Equality between Women and Men 2014-2017 to different government departments, ministries and local authorities. This precedent has continued with its National Action Plan (NAP) on Gender Equality 2018-2021, increasing awareness for gender equality throughout different areas of the country.

The government of Cyprus has established six new committees to bridge this gender gap. Two committees specifically target violence against women and trafficking and economic empowerment. The government has also increased collaboration with different women’s organizations.

Cyprus Women’s Lobby and Cyprus Antipoverty Network

The Cyprus Women’s Lobby is a branch of the European Women’s Lobby, a nonprofit organization that works with European institutions and civil society organizations. The Cyprus Women’s Lobby is a network of 16 women’s organizations and nonprofit organizations. This group formed in 2008 to improve gender equality and women’s rights in Cyprus. The NAPN-Cyprus (National Anti-Poverty Network Cyprus) is a network of nonprofit organizations. This network focuses on eliminating poverty and social exclusion. NAPN-Cyprus helps alleviate the gender inequality in the country, specifically of women’s rights due to their higher levels of poverty.

Women face a disproportionate amount of inequality in Cyprus. However, their government and different nonprofit organizations are looking to bridge this gap in inequality.

– Mia Banuelos
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Cyprus
The Republic of Cyprus is an island country that is located in the Mediterranean. The country is between the Middle East on one side and Europe on the other. While The Republic of Cyprus has a rich history and is a beautiful location, the country has had issues with feeding its citizens in the past. Nonetheless, international organizations are making efforts to help reduce hunger in Cyprus. The U.N. is one such organization that is making efforts to help the people of Cyprus through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Hunger in Cyprus

One of the goals is to end hunger in Cyprus by providing food security, improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. The U.N. states that Cyprus is usually able to provide food for its people and that the status of nutrition among its citizens is for the most part good. However, there have been instances in the past where this was not the case. In 2013, for example, there was a financial crisis in the country where 2,500 families had to rely on the charity of food banks to meet their daily needs. Additionally, Cyprus faced difficulties in agriculture because Cyprus has a semi-arid climate and water resources that rely on rainfall to replenish them. To overcome those challenges to effective agriculture, Cyprus must improve its production through investments and innovation.

Improving Agriculture in Cyprus

The E.U. is currently trying to do just that for the agriculture of Cyprus. It has implemented The Farm Advisory Services Programme back in 2017. The E.U. understands how vitally important agriculture is to the economy of Cyprus. There are about 10,000 farms that take up 60% of the land in Cyprus. There are also about 125,000 hectares in the north of Cyprus that have dedicated themselves to agricultural production alone. The Food Advisory Services Programme seeks to provide the farmers of Cyprus with the training and technical support that they need to best improve their production. The E.U. began the Food Advisory Program by reaching out to Cyprus farmers in 723 consultations with them. The goal of these consultations was to make sure that as many farmers as possible would have access to E.U. funding. By providing this type of support, the E.U. hopes to prevent hunger in Cyprus.

Not only will improved agricultural techniques help prevent hunger in Cypress, but it will also help the country compete on a global scale. Since 2018, the agricultural sector of Cyprus has been able to make great strides. About 50% of agricultural exports in Cyprus go to the E.U. with the rest going to European countries not part of the E.U., the Middle East or Asia. While Cyprus cannot put out as many agricultural products as larger countries, it can excel in the quality of its agricultural goods. For example, the Cypriot potato is a well known and vital export that makes up 40% of the country’s agricultural products. This particular product is of great quality in Cyprus.

Such progress in the agricultural sector will help the country alleviate its poverty and prevent the possibility of hunger in Cyprus should there ever be another economic crisis.

– Jacob E. Lee
Photo: Flickr

healthcare in cyprusIn the small Mediterranean country of Cyprus, healthcare systems function quite well. Though the World Health Organization recognizes it as being at the same level as that of other developed countries — the Cypriot Ministry of Health has decided to reform it. Here are four things to know about healthcare in Cyprus.

Important Points About Healthcare in Cyprus

Cyprus does not have universal healthcare. Instead, it is a system that is split between a private and a public sector. This, in turn, causes an imbalance. In the public system, “Entitlement to receive free health services is based on residency and income level.” Patients must endure long waiting lists for several services — a problem that has only worsened, recently. According to Cypriot Minister of Health Dr. Androulla Agrotou, “the majority of the population has the right to a free of charge access to public health services while the remaining population must pay per fee schedules set by the Ministry of Health.”

The private system is largely unregulated and financed out-of-pocket by entrepreneurs and voluntary health insurance providers. Moreover, the private system has a surplus of expensive medical technology that often goes underutilized. It also experiences staffing issues, problems with the quality of services and developing health facilities. According to Dr. Agrotou, the lack of a unifying base between the private and the public sector causes “a significant disequilibrium.”

Recent reforms

Despite the aforementioned flaws, the Cypriote Ministry of Health has recently unveiled a new, more comprehensive healthcare system in 2015. The title of the new system is — the General Health Insurance System (GHIS). It aims to provide universal coverage within many areas of the health system. In this same vein, the new healthcare system plans to provide more autonomy to and better management of public hospitals. To do this, GHIS will merge public and private health resources to introduce “information technology systems” and involve patients and the public “in developing and designing services.” In early 2019, the process of giving public hospitals more autonomy began and it aims to finish implementing the reforms in June 2020.

Where Healthcare in Cyprus Currently Stands

Healthcare in Cyprus is considered comparable to that of the U.K. or the U.S. It has made significant progress in disease prevention, as well as surveillance and control mechanisms. Notably, the indicators for life expectancy at birth are at about 75 and 80 years — for men and women, respectively. Other indicators, such as infant mortality and incidence of communicable diseases are also quite low, and “rank Cyprus in high positions in E.U.-wide and international comparisons” says Dr. Agrotou.

Future Outlook

In conclusion, though Cyprus lacks a universal healthcare plan, it is in the process of reforming its system to provide universal coverage to its citizens. Despite the split between the private and public systems, the current system is good enough as some considered it to be a high-quality service provider. However, despite this promising status, the Cypriot government is not settling for “good enough;” and valiant efforts to further improve healthcare in Cyprus are now underway.

Mathilde Venet
Photo: Flickr

Homelessness in Cyprus
Homelessness in Cyprus is increasingly becoming a problem, or at least, many are just now recognizing it as a problem. Thousands of families are unable to afford the high rents and loan installments. Furthermore, asylum-seekers from a number of countries such as Syria, Cameroon, Somalia and Iraq are unable to find housing. However, the Ministry of Labor claimed in 2019 that “there isn’t a single person living on the street, not one homeless person exists.”

The leaders of Cyprus claim that the economy has spectacularly recovered from a 2012 to 2013 economic crisis in which the second-largest bank shut down and the largest, the Bank of Cyprus, had to seize deposits from savers in a bid. The government bailed out the economy, and Cyprus was able to repay the emergency liquidity assurance and regain the trust of its people. While it is true that Cyprus has made a remarkable recovery, the country cannot continue to ignore its housing problem.

Although the government has generally failed to recognize and take action against the problem of homelessness in Cyprus, here is some information regarding how Cypriots are coming together to make a difference.

Housing for All

Created in 2019, an alliance called Housing for All unites 20 social organizations together to fix the housing problem. It put forward demands and proposals to address the issue of homelessness across the European Union.

SXEDiA Shelter

A new center for the homeless opened on July 15, 2020, in Limassol called SXEDiA. The center, led by Nicos Nicolaides, teamed up with the Labor Ministry and provides shelter and support. The center’s goal is for homeless people to gain skills to re-enter the workforce. It also works to help the homeless strengthen support networks and find housing. Cyprus’ lack of data on the homeless population fuels the problem, so the group will also collect and monitor data. This is one of the first temporary accommodation centers in Cyprus.


The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is advocating for Cyprus’ homeless, specifically the refugees. The Cyprus Refugee Law guarantees asylum-seekers immediate access to housing and social assistance after applying. However, the system currently fails to deliver on these promises. One problem is the time it takes to receive these applications, leaving many homeless and without money for long periods of time. The Kofinu Reception Center is no longer admitting single asylum-seekers, further exacerbating the problem.

However, the UNHCR claims the problem is avoidable. By allowing refugees to work as early as possible, they will become independent of state welfare and also contribute to the development of Cyprus’ economy. The UNHCR pushes for the government to review the current policy on asylum-seekers so that they can ensure a certain standard of living. They also push for assisting asylum-seekers outside of organized centers so they can more easily integrate into society.

Although homelessness in Cyprus does not seem to be a pressing problem due to the “very low rates,” it is much more of a problem than many realize. The limited statistical information hides the issue, but the number of those without housing is rising dramatically. Luckily, various organizations are taking action to ensure that the thousands in need of housing will receive it. Through direct action, Cyprus can solve its homelessness problem.

Fiona Price
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Cyprus
Cyprus is an island country in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Turkey, with a population of 1.2 million. The Republic of Cyprus, the country’s only internationally recognized government and part of the European Union, controls 60% of the southern region of the island. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus controls 36% of land in the north region of the island. The division between the North and South republics of Cyprus has created a power struggle of high tension, leaving the island politically unstable. Despite this instability, Cyprus has seen an improvement in decreasing poverty rates, as well as an expanding economy. Here are seven facts about poverty in Cyprus.

7 Facts About Poverty in Cyprus

  1. Cyprus’s economy is growing and expanding. Its tourism sector saw a significant boost in 2018 when more than 4 million travelers visited the island, a 7.8% increase from 2017. This increase in tourism correlates to its increase in GDP per capita, rising from $25,957.85 to $28,341.05 in 2018. Experts expect Cyprus’s GDP per capita to increase even more in 2020, with models estimating a 1.03% increase.
  2. When Cyprus gained independence in 1960, it began transitioning to a service economy. Cyprus’s economy started focusing more on its tourism and service sectors instead of agriculture. This allowed the GDP to rise. As of 2020, Cyprus’s GDP was $34.5 billion, a 3.9% growth since 2019.
  3. Cyprus’s unemployment rate has decreased. With the expansion of Cyprus’s economy came more jobs in the tourism and service sectors. As a result, unemployment rates have decreased. Since 2015, the country has cut its unemployment rate almost in half, from 14.91% in 2015 to 7.92% in 2019.
  4. Education in Cyprus is growing. Today, Cyprus has five private universities and three public ones. Both are rapidly expanding and connecting with other institutions across the globe. These schools continuously put millions of dollars back into the local economy, thus, providing thousands of jobs for the community.
  5. Life expectancy is increasing in Cyprus. As of 2020, the island’s life expectancy is 81.05 years, a 0.19% increase from 2019. Future projections from U.N. data predict a continuous upward trend.
  6. Cyprus does not have a standard minimum wage law for all workers. However, some occupations do have certain wage requirements. These requirements undergo review and revision annually in an effort to be fair to citizens. Since there is no countrywide minimum wage, however, this leaves room for many disparities in poverty and wealth.
  7. The Economic Interdependence Project is a partnership between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Cyprus Chambers of Commerce. Created in 2009, the project’s goal is to intervene and encourage partnerships between businesses of both parties. The project hopes to reveal the benefits of the two communities working together to improve Cyprus’s economic stability and growth. They have been able to open the first island-wide business directory with more than 200 businesses. Additionally, the project also gave Market Research Grants to some businesses. 

Concluding Thoughts

Despite Cyprus’s political tensions between the southern and northern regions, the country has expanded its economy, increased tourism and implemented programs that encourage business relationships. These factors have allowed for an overall decrease in poverty in Cyprus. Hopefully, this progress will continue in the coming years.

– George Hashemi 
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Sanitation conditions in CyprusCyprus is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean with a rich history. Over the years, the island has sought to develop safe sanitation facilities that would greatly improve the way of life for much of its rural population. More and more measures are being taken to encourage higher hygiene levels by providing the right supplies such as proper sewer systems, latrines, septic tanks and composting toilets. Cyprus has also begun to address clean water measures throughout the country. These rapid developments have promoted economic growth and decreased high rates of poverty. Here are the top six facts about sanitation conditions in Cyprus.

6 Facts About Sanitation Conditions in Cyprus

  1. Due to the depletion of groundwater resources, the Ministry of Agriculture, National Resources and the Environment had to resort to non-conventional water resources such as desalination, using low-quality water and reusing wastewater. They have used these techniques since 1997. In fact, a desalination plant near Larnaca Airport produces about 33 million cubic meters of water per year, helping to improve sanitation conditions in Cyprus.
  2. The government implemented a harmonization program in 2012 to develop strategies that would improve water and environmental outcomes, which would improve sanitation conditions in Cyprus. It installed central sewage systems in four areas across Cyprus, including Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos.
  3. The irrigated agricultural sector makes up about 70 percent of the entire water use in Cyprus. The domestic sector, tourism and amenities make up the rest of it. Each year, Cyprus’ water demand equals to 265,9 million cubic meters. It is projected to rise to 313,7 meters in 2020 due to an increase in tourism and the use of domestic water sources.
  4. Currently, there is a domestic water supply project in progress to improve water and sanitation conditions in Cyprus. It will focus on the city of Nicosia and the surrounding areas in the western province of the city. The Vasilikos to Western Nicosia Conveyer Water Supply Project is financially backed by the European Investment Bank and the Kokkinokremmos Water Supply Project. It will construct necessary infrastructure including pumping stations, a pipeline and water storage facilities. The project cost around $66 million. The government of Cyprus was able to obtain a loan for almost $44 million.
  5. Due to the water shortage, many farmers face high costs today. Most of their income loss comes from competition within the agricultural sector. Insufficient surface water resources, deeper groundwater pumping and droughts can impact water availability, which then compromises water demand.
  6. According to a graph by the World Bank, the number of people using basic sanitation services in Cyprus has remained consistent from 2000 to 2016. In 2000, reports showed 99.7 percent of people had basic sanitation. In 2016, it had only decreased to 99.5 percent.

Sanitation conditions in Cyprus are readily improving with new development that has strengthened water supplies throughout the country’s regions. Water shortages compromise the livelihoods of much of the population on the island, which severely impacts the rate of global poverty as a whole. These six facts about sanitation conditions in Cyprus are therefore important in understanding how poverty in Cyprus is continuously shifting.

Brittany Adames
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Cyprus
Cyprus, a Mediterranean island with a population of 1.2 million, has endured several different occupations by major powers since the birth of the civilization. Beginning with the Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian and Roman Empires, Cyprus was then taken by the French Venetians and then the Ottoman Empire (from 1571 to 1878). The United Kingdom was the last imperial body to control Cyprus, from which Cyprus gained independence in 1960. In the article below, the top 10 facts about living conditions will be presented and will try to show how the people in this country live and what impacts their lives.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Cyprus

  1. Since 1974, Cyprus has been politically and ethnically divided into two territories- Northern and Southern Cyprus. Northern Cyprus is a de facto state of Turkey and populated primarily by Turkish Cypriots, while Southern Cyprus governs itself and is populated primarily by Grecian Cypriots. While Turkey recognizes Northern Cyprus as a Turkish territory, the rest of the world considers Northern Cyprus a part of the Republic of Cyprus, along with Southern Cyprus. Both Greek and Turkey are official languages in Cyprus. This division mostly impacts people in the country and reunification talks have been held in order to improve the situation.
  2. Cyprus joined the European Union (EU) in 2004 and has benefited politically and economically since its admission. Living conditions in Cyprus improved as the nation gained access to European treaties and European Union law to resolve internal unrest, and also the increased security that comes with EU membership. Today, more than half of Cyprus’ trade happens within the EU, expanding its markets farther and with more ease than that would be possible without the membership status.
  3. Cyprus has one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union despite the economic crisis of 2013. The nation’s economy grew 3.9 percent in 2017 and is predicted to continue growing in 2019 in the wake of expanding employment and a flourishing tourism industry.
  4. Poverty in Cyprus is notoriously hard to track, but it is presumed that the number of people at risk of poverty has been steadily decreasing over the last few years, starting from 28.9 percent in 2015, 27.6 percent in 2016 and to 25.2 percent in 2017. Improvement in poverty rates is largely due to continued economic growth, coupled with a rise in income in the nation.
  5. Along with a reduction in poverty, unemployment rates continue to fall in Cyprus. From about 15 percent in 2015, the unemployment rate fell to 13 percent in 2016 and further to 11 percent in 2017. In 2018, the unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent, among the lowest in the EU.
  6. Global Finance Magazine ranked Cyprus 32nd in its 2019 list of the world’s safest countries. This ranks the country higher than the United Kingdom (38th), Japan (43rd) and the United States (65th).
  7. Education completion rates in Cyprus have been maintained at high rates. School completion rates hover between 97 and 98 percent, except for the year Cyprus divided in 1974 when the education completion rate was 64 percent. The political and social unease of this time is to blame for this dip in education completion rates, as the number went right back up the following year.
  8. Matching its high education completion rates, Cyprus’ literacy rate sits at around 99 percent, ranking the country among the best in the world regarding this issue.
  9. The life expectancy in Cyprus is around 80.5 years, which is comparable to neighboring countries Malta (81.8 years) and Greece (81.04 years). This rate is higher than the one in the United States (78.69 years).
  10. Health care in Cyprus is comparable to health systems in other developed nations. Split into public and private sectors, health care in Cyprus is generally free or very inexpensive for citizens and persons from EU nations. Emergency treatment is free for citizens, and EU nationals are eligible for free health insurance at public hospitals, which are located in all major cities.

While living conditions in Cyprus are already good, life in the nation could be improved by the reunification of the North and South. By some estimates, reunification could improve Cyprus’ GDP by as much as $5.7 billion in only five years, as Southern Cyprus would be less vulnerable to the economic problems of Greece and also gain access to Turkish markets. If the two territories gain free access to each other, the economy will benefit as a whole, improving further the Cypriotic economy and living conditions in Cyprus as a whole.

– Jillian Baxter
Photo: Flickr