Olivier Adam: Speech at the Inauguration of the New Nicosia Wastewater Treatment Plant

08 Apr 2014

imageOlivier Adam, UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS, speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the new Nicosia Wastewater Treatment Plant. Nicosia, 8 April 2014. UNDP Photo/Kerim Belet

Dear representatives of the city of Nicosia Mr. Constantinos Yiorkadjis and Mr. Kadri Fellahoğlu, Commissioner Štefan Füle, Excellencies from the diplomatic community, Members of the Sewerage Board, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen;

I am very honoured to join you today to inaugurate the New Nicosia Wastewater Treatment Plant. This bi-communal project is one of the largest projects of this type in the region implemented by the United Nations Development Programme.

Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP would have wished to be with us today. She has personally asked me to congratulate the representatives of the two communities of Nicosia, their predecessors who initiated this project as well as the technical teams for this important achievement. She also asked me to thank the Sewerage Board of Nicosia and the European Union for your financial support in making this project happen.

As was already very well explained by Mr. Yiorkadjis and Mr. Fellahoglu, the issue of wastewater treatment in Cyprus has been at the core of cooperation between the two communities since the late 1970’s. At UNDP we are proud to have been a trusted and long-standing partner since these very early days.  

Almost 36 years ago, in 1978, UNDP facilitated the first meeting, during which, representatives of the two communities of Nicosia addressed common wastewater issues. Since then, together with other UN agencies and partners, we have worked side by side with both communities to build reciprocal trust through dialogue and participation.
Between 1998 and 2001, we have helped enlarge the lagoons and ponds of the first plant. In 2005, UNDP was called upon to support the project for the new bi-communal Nicosia Wastewater Treatment Plant.

We have fully embraced and supported this project, recognizing its importance in fostering cooperation between communities and its significant environmental impact.

By joining resources and technical expertise, you have built one of the largest and most modern wastewater treatment plant in Europe.

More importantly both communities have joined hands to work together for a more sustainable future in the greater Nicosia area.

Thanks to the new environmentally sound membrane technology used by this Plant, more than 10 million cubic meters of treated water per year can be re-used for irrigation purposes. This is sufficient to irrigate over 500 hectares of land. Over 3,000 tons of dry solids produced by the plant each year are suitable for re-use as natural fertilizer. Importantly, the plant is partly powered by renewable energy produced from biogas.

This plant is indeed remarkable, especially in view of the increasing challenges linked to water scarcity around the globe. Promoting the “reuse of treated wastewater” has been at the forefront of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development “Rio +20”. Reusing treated wastewater is critical to significantly: reduce water pollution, increase water quality, improve water efficiency, and reduce water losses.

This bi-communal Nicosia Wastewater Treatment Plant represents a real example of cooperation and partnership, as it will have a long-lasting positive impact on the communities in Nicosia and Cyprus.

In closing, I would like to once again express my greatest appreciation to the European Union and to Commissioner Fule and his team, in particular, for their leadership. I would also like to thank the local stakeholders for your trust, excellent cooperation and commitment. Finally I would like to acknowledge my UNDP colleagues, especially the Manager of our Partnership for the Future Programme Ms. Tiziana Zennaro, for their unabated efforts to implement this challenging project. The results of this fruitful partnership are in front of you today.