RAI RAI Consultants Public LTD REPORT ON A QUANTITATIVE SURVEY ON PERCEPTIONS ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE IN CYPRUS Prepared for CESF and AKTI Project and Research Centre in cooperation with United Nations Development Programme Action for Cooperation and Trust December, 2008
Introduction • The Cyprus Environmental Stakeholder Forum (CESF) and the Network for a Sustainable Future which forms the Coastal Group of CESF, with the support of AKTI Project and Research Centre, in cooperation with UNDP-ACT, has requested from RAI Consultants Public Ltd to carry out an opinion research project which would explore various environmental issues among the Cypriot public. The present document is the report on the survey that was carried out between the 1st and 30th of November 2008, aiming to collect data on the following topics: • Awareness / attitudes towards climate change • Awareness of environmental issues, including coastal erosion • Awareness of organizations which promote/fund the care of coastal areas • Awareness of the function / attitudes towards breakwaters This research project, which employed a quantitative methodology, consisted of telephone interviews and face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of members of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. The sample was distributed proportionately throughout the urban and rural areas of the island. A total sample of 661 telephone interviews were carried out – with 412 Greek Cypriots and 248 Turkish Cypriots.
METHODOLOGY Coverage The survey was based on a nationally representative sample drawn from urban and rural areas on both sides of the Cyprus divide. Sample Selection The method of multistage stratified sampling, based on the Population Census available for each community was used for the sample selection. Interviewing technique In the Greek Cypriot Community, interviewing was carried out by CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews). In the Turkish Cypriot Community, interviewing was carried out by a combination of telephone and face-to-face interviewing. The average length of each interview was 20 minutes. Sample structure In total, 661 interviews were carried out – 412 with Greek Cypriots and 248 with Turkish Cypriots. The demographic analysis of the sample structure is shown overleaf. Data analysis The data were processed and analysed with the aid of the QPS software package. The margin of error, calculated at the 95% confidence level is, at a maximum, ± 4%.
Summary of Key Findings • The term “sustainable Development” was known to one third of the sample, but nearly half of those who knew it were not aware of its meaning. Some of those who knew it thought that it referred to the environment whilst others thought that it referred to the viability of economic development. • The development currently taking place in Cyprus was rated modestly by the respondents, who tended not to think that it was sustainable for future generations. • The greatest environmental problem faced by Cyprus today was understood to relate to its forests. • Overall there was dissatisfaction with information received with regards to various aspects of development such as coastal management, tourism development, urban planning and land use, waste management and water management. Most dissatisfaction was expressed for planning and land use. • The most frequently spontaneously mentioned problem faced by the Cyprus coasts was pollution of the coastal waters. Landscape degradation, water scarcity and overpopulation were also mentioned by considerable proportions of respondents – more so by Turkish Cypriots than by Greek Cypriots. • Coastal erosion was spontaneously named as a problem by a small minority of 8%. After prompting, 50% of the sample agreed that the Cyprus coasts are experiencing erosion. • The respondents were almost equally divided between those who were in favour of breakwaters and those who were against them, preferring the beach to be left in its natural formation even if eroded. • The belief that any touristic development in Cyprus should take the environment into account was strongly present among the sample. • Climate change was currently influencing Cyprus according to the majority of the sample – more so according to Greek than among Turkish Cypriots. • The readiness of Cyprus to deal with the problems created by climate change was mostly rated as unsatisfactory.
Summary of Key Findings • The Aarhus convention was known to a small minority of 6% of the respondents. • The media were the most likely body to be named as capable of having an impact on achieving environmental sustainability. • Those who thought that in Cyprus the citizen is either consulted or can participate in decision making with regards to social issues were at a minority. • Bi-communal co-operation was, according to most, essential in resolving environmental priorities. • There was a tendency, among the total sample, to express the opinion that environmental sustainability decisions should be made at the EU level. Analysis by ethnic group, however, indicates that Greek Cypriots tend to prefer these decisions to be made at the federal level, while Turkish Cypriots tend prefer the EU level for decisions relating to the environment.
Awareness of “Sustainable Development” Whether ever heard of the term “Sustainable Development” Base: All respondents Nearly one third of all respondents interviewed for this study claimed that they had ever heard the term “sustainable development, whilst over two thirds claimed that they had not heard of it. Analysis of the answers to the question of whether they had ever heard of this term by ethnic group shows an uneven distribution of awareness, with twice as many Greek Cypriots saying that they had heard of it compared to Turkish Cypriots. Whether ever heard of the term “Sustainable Development” by ethnic group Base: All respondents
Awareness of “Sustainable Development” (cont’d) What “Sustainable Development” refers to Base: All respondents Asked what they thought that the term “Sustainable Development” referred to, nearly half the respondents (48%) could not say. The variety of responses given by those who ventured to give an answer to the relevant question showed that while many believed that the term referred to development which took the environment, and subsequently survival, into account, others saw it as referring to the social and economic aspects of development.
Evaluation of development taking place in Cyprus Rating of the overall development currently taking place in Cyprus on sustainability for future generations Asked to evaluate the overall development currently taking place in Cyprus in terms of its sustainability for future generations, the greatest proportion of respondents (24%) gave it a 5 on a 10-point scale. Most of the others rated current development below the medium point, whilst 20% gave it a rating of over 5 points. Analysis by ethnic group shows the Turkish Cypriot sample giving the development a lower rating than the Greek Cypriot sample did, indicating a greater level of dissatisfaction with the development in the northern part of the island. Base: All respondents
Sectors of the environment believed to be currently facing problems in Cyprus Aspects of the environment facing problems and need greatest attention Base: All respondents The forests were mentioned by nearly three quarters of the respondents as one of the aspects of the environment that is facing a problem in Cyprus. The forests were also named by the greatest proportion (22%) when they were asked to name one aspect that needed the greatest attention. Other elements named as being those needing greatest attention were the atmosphere, the sea, aquifers and rivers and wetlands, each mentioned by 10% - 14%. Considerable proportions of up to 66% mentioned rivers and wetlands, the atmosphere, farmland and the urban environment as aspects currently facing problems. The sea, aquifers and the coastline were understood to be facing a problem by between 50% and 57% of the respondents, while maquis were mentioned in this context by 46%. The coastline, with 50% mentions as an aspect facing problems and 4% mentions as an aspect needing greatest attention does not seem to occupy a relatively significant place in the list of environmental concerns of the respondents. * Single answer
The public’s relationship with specific environmental issues Rating of satisfaction with various factors concerning development Base: All respondents Rating scale
Problems faced by Cyprus’ coasts Total problems faced by the Cyprus coasts Base: All respondents Pollution of coastal waters was the most frequently spontaneously mentioned problem that the respondents believed were faced by the coasts of Cyprus – mentioned by 54%. 37% had mentioned this problem first when they were asked the relevant question, indicating that this is the problem most prominent in their mind. The second most frequently mentioned problem was landscape degradation, mentioned by 27% of the respondents, of whom 11% had given it a first mention. Water scarcity, over population, overdevelopment and pollution from rubbish were each cited by between 10% and 16% as problems, while erosion was spontaneously mentioned by 8%.
Problems faced by Cyprus’ Coasts (cont’d) Total problems faced by the Cyprus coasts By ethnic group Base: All respondents It is interesting to note that the two communities perceive the problems faced by the coasts of Cyprus differently, with Turkish Cypriots naming landscape degradation, water scarcity and overpopulation in considerably greater frequencies than Greek Cypriots do. Greek Cypriots, on the other hand, were more likely to mention pollution from rubbish than Turkish Cypriots were.
Whether Cyprus coastline is experiencing erosion Percentage who think that Cyprus coastline is experiencing erosion Base: All respondents Having mentioned all the problems that they believed were faced by Cyprus coasts spontaneously, those respondents who had not mentioned erosion as a problem were specifically asked whether they thought this was a problem. Taken together with those who had already mentioned erosion, we find that half of all respondents now believe that erosion is one of the problems faced by the Cyprus coastline. Analysis by ethnic group indicates that Greek Cypriots are more likely than Turkish Cypriots to see erosion as one of the problems faced by the Cyprus coasts. Percentage who think that Cyprus coastline is experiencing erosion by ethnic group Base: All respondents
The public’s attitudes towards aspects of coastal development Level of agreement with specific statements Base: All respondents • The highest level of agreement was expressed for the statement “Any tourist development should take the environment into account”. • Lowest agreement was expressed for the statements • “Coastal erosion is a natural phenomenon and there is nothing we can do about it” • “I do not like breakwaters, I prefer the beach to be left in its natural formation even if it is eroded” • “In Cyprus tourist development follows an environmentally friendly model” • “In my opinion, constructed breakwaters are aesthetically pleasing” • It is notable that there was a higher tendency by respondents from the older age groups of both communities compared to the younger age groups to agree with the statement “I do not like breakwaters, I prefer the beach to be left in its natural formation even if it is eroded”. Rating scale
Cyprus and climate change Extent Cyprus is believed to be affected by climate change Base: All respondents The majority of the respondents (68%) thought that Cyprus was affected by climate change very much. Analysis by ethnic group indicates that Greek Cypriots are much more likely than Turkish Cypriots to believe that climate change is influencing Cyprus.
Cyprus and climate change (cont’d) Ways Cyprus is affected by climate change Base: All believing Cyprus is affected by climate change According to those who thought that climate change did have an effect on Cyprus, this impact was most evident in the lack of rainfall or the draught experienced and in the subsequent water scarcity. Other problems cited by significant proportions were higher temperatures, adverse effects on agriculture and animal husbandry, seasonal abnormalities and extreme weather conditions. A considerable proportion – all Greek Cypriots – remarked that climate change was also having negative effects on tourism.
Readiness of Cyprus to deal with problems arising from climate change Rating of preparation of Cyprus in dealing with problems arising from climate change Base: All respondents The greatest proportion of respondents (46%) thought that Cyprus was not at all prepared to deal with problems that are arising as a result of climate change. A further 30% thought that Cyprus was not very well prepared while a minority of 20% expressed the opinion that it was somewhat or very well prepared.
Aarhus Convention Awareness of "Aarhus Convention" Base: All respondents The Aarhus Convention was known to a small minority of 6% of the respondents.
Expectations from various sectors Extent to which various sectors can have an impact on achieving environmental sustainability Base: All respondents The media were considered to be one of the sectors with the greatest power to have an impact on achieving environmental sustainability. Other sectors in which the respondents appeared to have considerable faith in the context of having an impact on environmental sustainability were environmental authorities, ordinary citizens and international donors, such as UNDP-ACT. Rating scale
The citizen’s role in decision making Rating of agreement: In Cyprus the citizen is usually consulted in the decision making process on environmental matters Base: All respondents The majority of the respondents from both communities did not think that as citizens they were consulted in the decision making process on environmental issues.
The citizen’s role in decision making Rating of agreement - In Cyprus there is a law that safeguards and protects the citizen's participation in the decision making process on environmental issues A considerable proportion of the respondents, 24% in total, with a bias on Turkish Cypriots, did not know about any law that safeguards and protects the citizen’s participation in the decision making process on environmental issues. Of the others, the likelihood was that they disagreed that such a law existed at all, although about one third of them did agree with the statement “In Cyprus there is a law that safeguards and protects the citizen's participation in the decision making process on environmental issues”. Base: All respondents
Bi-communal cooperation Extent to which bi-communal cooperation is considered essential for resolving environmental priorities Base: All respondents Respondents tended to claim that they considered bi-communal co-operation essential for resolving environmental priorities in Cyprus. There were some variations in the degree in which this co-operation was considered essential in the comparison between the responses of the two communities, with Turkish Cypriots considering co-operation in most sectors less essential than Greek Cypriots do. Rating scale
Environmental sustainability decisions Where decisions regarding environmental sustainability should be made at Base: All respondents The greatest proportion of respondents, 32% believed that decisions regarding environmental sustainability should be made at the EU level and a relatively high proportion of 30% named the central/federal level in this context. Analysis by ethnic group indicates that the federal level is mostly supported in this context by Greek Cypriots, while Turkish Cypriots are more likely to consider the EU level and the international level as the most appropriate forum for decision making on matters of environmental sustainability.