Listen to the people: Embracing the future by addressing today’s grievances

Recently, I initiated a robust dialogue on LinkedIn that highlighted the challenges Cyprus confronts in our modern era.

Central to my post was the urgency for digital reform, commitment to sustainable urban planning, transparent real estate practices, bolstered support for families and women, and an overhaul of our somewhat outdated legal and financial systems. The feedback received, resounding with concerns and ideas, reinforced the shared vision for a future-ready Cyprus.

Digital Transformation and E-governance: Many respondents expressed discontent with our bureaucratic processes, labelling them cumbersome and outdated. Adopting a comprehensive e-governance system can help transform this narrative. By eliminating paper-reliant processes and introducing digital procedures, we can foster efficiency and reduce redundancies. Furthermore, the feedback from non-native speakers emphasised the need for broader language accessibility on platforms like ARIADNI, stressing the importance of inclusivity in our rapidly globalising world.

Infrastructure and Urban Planning: Climate change is an impending reality, and respondents voiced concerns about Cyprus's preparedness. Sustainable practices such as implementing solar panels, harnessing wind energy, and promoting urban agriculture were frequently suggested. Furthermore, integrating urban greenery, which serves both aesthetic and practical purposes, can help combat the harsh realities of rising temperatures and improve overall living standards.

Housing and Real Estate: Many respondents drew attention to the challenges of housing affordability and real estate transparency. Suggestions ranged from introducing government-backed home loans, which could make homeownership more accessible, to introducing regulations that keep the impact of short-term rentals in check. These changes could ensure a balanced housing market that prioritises the needs of every Cypriot.

Support for Families and Women: A recurring theme was the pressing need for stronger societal support mechanisms. Respondents underlined the necessity of policies such as extended parental leaves, which can play a pivotal role in achieving gender equity and improving the low birth rate. Moreover, the introduction of services like free school transportation and expanded daycare facilities up to age 12 were often cited as crucial solutions for relieving the burden on working parents and promoting a balanced family life.

Legal and Financial Systems: A transparent and efficient legal and financial framework is the backbone of any progressive society. Feedback highlighted residents' frustrations with the existing systems, emphasising the need for more transparent, expedited processes. Addressing concerns like delayed grant applications and ensuring timely financial responses can restore public trust and confidence in these essential systems.

Workforce and Talent Management: Cyprus boasts a talented workforce eager for global recognition. Feedback spotlighted the importance of not just attracting but retaining this talent. By offering competitive salaries in line with global standards and providing continuous professional development opportunities, Cyprus can harness its workforce's full potential. Furthermore, standardising benefits across both public and private sectors could further drive innovation and ensure balanced growth.

Public Transport and Connectivity: The collective aspiration for a more interconnected Cyprus was palpable in the responses. An efficient and accessible public transport system, as many believe, can revolutionise daily commutes, reduce traffic congestion, and significantly decrease the nation's carbon footprint. By prioritising such developments, we can pave the way for a more mobile and eco-friendly Cyprus.

Ecosystem Development for Innovation: The idea of Cyprus as a hub of innovation was a favourite among many. To achieve this vision, support structures like tech incubators for startups, and stronger university-industry linkages for R&D were frequently suggested. Prioritising long-term, grassroots initiatives over temporary foreign investments can offer sustained growth and innovation.

Environment and Sustainability: Cyprus's environmental treasures, from its pristine beaches to its lush landscapes, must be preserved for future generations. Respondents strongly emphasised the need for structured waste management practices, ranging from systematic trash collection to promoting community-based recycling initiatives, underscoring the need for both government action and citizen participation.

Communication and Language: Cyprus's strategic position was a frequently discussed topic. Many respondents emphasised the importance of multilingual services that reflect our nation's diverse heritage and foster connections across borders. By promoting multilingualism, not just in official documents but in daily communication, Cyprus can truly solidify its position as a bridge between continents.

Education and Continuous Learning: A well-rounded education system, one that matches global standards and prioritises holistic student development, was deemed indispensable by many respondents. Alongside core academic curricula, the importance of extracurricular activities and real-world application of learned concepts were frequently highlighted, reflecting a shared vision for an education system that truly prepares students for the challenges of the modern world.

Open Dialogue and Collaborative Governance: The overwhelming response to the LinkedIn dialogue underscores the significance of open conversations. True governance is not just about decisions but about collaborative processes. Many respondents expressed a desire for platforms where they can routinely voice their concerns, suggesting a more inclusive approach to decision-making that promises a future co-created by its people.

This digital dialogue went beyond mere conversation; it was a testament to Cyprus's potential and the collective will to achieve it. Whether politicians have the resolve to plan for the long-run instead of satisfying short-term grievances that appease voters remains to be seen.

Pavlos Loizou, CEO, Ask WiRE

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