International Treaties

Sustainable Development

Environmental Law

Case Studies


Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Cyprus

While constitutional environmental provisions are now the norm throughout most of the world, there are no provisions regarding environmental rights and duties in the constitution of Cyprus. There are, however, fundamental rights and directive principles of the State policy which are dedicated to the rights and freedoms of the individuals. Chapter 2 of the constitution recognises and guarantees fundamental human rights as well as cultural, social, economic and political rights of individuals. Efforts have been made to integrate environmental rights and duties under these categories but to no avail.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment is the authority for the endorsement and implementation of governmental policy on environmental issues. On the other hand, The Environment Service of the Ministry, a personnel team of the Ministry Directorate, provides advice on issues of environmental policy, coordination of environmental action plans and supervision on the performance and implementation of environmental policy and legislation.


1999: The National Forest Programme of Cyprus was unveiled. This document is a national sectoral policy covering the period 2000-2009. The objective of this Policy is to increase the forest sector development, to protect and enhance the natural environment and to promote recreation and tourism with a rural development approach. To achieve these objectives the Policy defines measures for: a) extending the forest area by afforestation and increasing silviculture; b) increasing the production of timber and non-wood products; c) increasing effectiveness of protection against fires and other hazards; d) ensuring the conservation of ecosystems, flora, fauna and heritage; e) increasing the quantity of water coming from forests and enhancing water supply; f) encouraging appropriate development, based on ecotourism, within local plans and village development; g) ensuring institutional reform, modernization and capacity building.

2002: The Water Pollution Control Law (106(I)) was created to grant permits for waste disposal.

2002: The Air Pollution Control Law (187(I)) was promulgated to govern the issuance of Air Emissions Permits for industrial plants.

2002: The Packaging and Packaging Waste Law (No. 32(I)) was tabled, defining the responsibilities of companies that are considered to be responsible for their packaging and the ways and means for the recovery and recycling of their packaging waste.

2003: Law 33(III) was passed, incorporating the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (“the Aarhus Convention”).

2004: The Law on Public Access to Information Related to the Environment was enacted for the purposes of harmonising Cyprus legislation with Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information.

2004: The Exclusive Economic Zone Law was tabled. By this Law, the Exclusive Economic Zone is proclaimed, the outer limit of which shall not extend beyond the 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured. In cases where part of the Exclusive Economic Zone overlaps with part of the EEZ of any other State, the delimitation shall be effected by agreement between the States involved. In absence of an agreement, the delimitation of this zone shall not extend beyond the median line or the equidistance line, measured from the respective baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured. The exact limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone shall be made public by Notification issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In the Exclusive Economic Zone the Republic of Cyprus has sovereign rights and jurisdiction with regard to the establishment and use of artificial islands, installations and structures; marine scientific research; the protection and preservation of the marine environment.

2011: Law 185(I) was approved, mandating The Environment Service grant permits for waste management.  A breach of any environmental Law may result in criminal, administrative or civil liability.  Criminal liability is founded on several offences which involve breaches of environmental legislation, such as failure to obtain environmental permits, breach of conditions of permits, water pollution, soil pollution, waste disposal and other.  Sentencing involves fines of up to €500,000 or imprisonment for not more than three years or both of these sanctions.

2013: The Industrial Emissions Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Law (184(I)) was introduced, governing industrial emissions.

2018: Law 127(I) was signed, ensuring the public must be kept informed of any decisions the Environmental Service makes relating to submitted studies and the issuing of the relevant permits to projects, programmes and plans. This information should be published no more than 30 days after the issuing of the Environment Service’s decision. The Environmental Impact Assessment of Certain Works Act was approved to regulate polluting industries and large-scale installations.

Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • A growing awareness of the effects of climate change, overfishing and industrial farming in Cyprus has resulted in the in activist energy among local communities and numerous environmental NGOs. Coordinated efforts to clean up beaches, forests and streets from the unwanted waste. One organization, Save Your Hood, founded in February 2021 features over 4,000 dedicated members. Created by Athenian Vasilis Sfakianopoulos, this organization hosts clean-up events across the island, campaigning for collective action against fly-tipping and the littering of beaches, fields and roadsides. The NGO alleges that the government has been complicit in the illegal disposal of waste in remote regions of the country. In a mere month of operating, Save Your Hood has collected 270,000 litres of rubbish – namely, microplastics which destroy local beaches. The local organization also aims to change policy, launching a campaign to reduce single-use plastics, and incentivize restaurant owners to stop stocking plastic water bottles. Immediate plans for Save Your Hood entail finding corporate sponsors for the creation of branded reusable water bottles to be donated to their volunteers.
  • The European Network of Prosecutors for the Environment (ENPE) hosted a Working Group workshop in Nicosia, Cyprus in 2019, discussing the enforcement of environmental criminal law by supporting the operational work of environmental prosecutors. ENPE will be embarking on a five-year project to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of prosecution of environmental crimes – specifically, in the areas of waste and air pollution.

References and Further Reading


Director of Environment: ​​