Climate change and the environment
#TheFutureIsYours Leading the way for a more sustainable future
Europe is evolving and undergoing drastic changes, new policies and legislation are being developed to facilitate the EU in its climate neutral and digital transition. The von der Leyen Commission recognises that the planning for the future of Europe is a collective process and cannot be done without YOU, its citizens.
The European Commission Representation in Cyprus and the University of Nicosia collaborated to implement actions to encourage our next generation to participate in this process. These actions were managed and organised by the European Documentation Centre University of Nicosia (UNIC Library and Information Centre) and overseen by the University of Nicosia Rectorate. One action was a competition where students from participating courses submitted their thoughts and ideas on the impacts of the Green Deal and Digital Agenda von der Leyen Commission priorities on their area of study and on the future of the Europe.
We would like to invite you to see our University of Nicosia students present their thoughts and ideas and join in the discussion.
Event reportThe event is part of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus-University of Nicosia collaboration pilot project, with the prime objective of giving students the confidence and opportunity to critically assess and give their ideas and opinions on EU policies (focusing on the Green Deal and Digital Agenda) and the Future of Europe within their field of study. The 2-hour online event comprised of two elements: an online competition – written submissions were received prior to the event – where the University of Nicosia students presented their ideas, and then a discussion on these ideas was held. The discussion was open to the audience (approximately 40 people attended comprising of academics and the general public). The event was moderated by the manager of the European Documentation Centre University of Nicosia with experts from the European Commission Representation in Cyprus and University of Nicosia to judge the competition element of the event. Fourteen students, forming 6 teams, participated in the competition (10 students from the School of Life and Health Sciences and 4 from the School of Business). Main subjects discussed The focal point of the event was the impact of the Green Deal and/or Digital Agenda on specific fields of study (Pharmacology and Business), specifically on: • Pharmaceutical waste management with emphasis on the disposal of expired medicine and the impact of waste on the environment generated during the development process of medicines. • Green sustainability in the business and financial sectors Main ideas suggested by participants • Facilitate correct and environmentally friendly disposal of expired medicine through the creation of a system that will connect in a triangular arrangement the bodies that participate in the storage, distribution, and consumption of medicines – The idea arose through the observation that there is a lack of people taking responsibility, especially by patients, in the disposal of expired medicines. The purpose of the system is to encourage patients to act appropriately when disposing expired medicine. Counter arguments highlighted patients pay for the medicines, which tend to be expensive, and feel they are throwing their money away with unused medicine, regardless that it has expired. Similarly, although the proposal enables citizens to access the system through a mobile app there are still people that do not own a mobile phone or have the confidence to use such application. Key outcomes: o Education and raising awareness within different target groups – on the dangers of usage and inappropriate disposal of expired medicines; on greener processes, materials and equipment, and of the toxicity of incorrect disposal for both those currently in the industry and those planning a career in pharmacology and chemistry (especially within formal education, at all levels) o Incentives – For pharmaceuticals to make the changes which incur high costs; for patients to ensure they adopt appropriate actions, e.g. a moneyback scheme o Closer collaboration between the EU, pharmaceutical companies and academics to develop and implement sustainable, realistic actions for pharmaceutical waste disposal both during production and expiration of medicines o Enforcement measurements need to be implemented by the EU and Member States both for the industry and formal education • Green sustainability in the business and finance sectors – The degree to which people are prepared to follow the Green Deal guidelines is, generally, determine by the degree of impact it has on their current and future lives. Generally, people are not susceptible to change, especially in business, and require assistance, either through legislation or financial gain to change their learnt behaviour. It is important to, collectively rather than on an individual basis, adapt people’s way of thinking to be more ethical rather focused on financial gain. Only then could we reach a climate neutral Europe. Key outcomes: o Education - Changing Europe’s collective conscious through education and training at all levels of formal education and within each industry. With practical application of preventive actions and principles of the Green Deal, which can be applied to other aspects of people’s lives. o Legislation – requiring business models to include sustainable greener practices and be reliant, sustainable and ethically/morally compliant with EU policies o Social accounting – for auditing the environmental, along with the financial aspects of business should be the norm o Cross-border agreements - Expansion of European cross-border agreements to the US for online banking. Regulatory delay between EU and USA which hinders implementation of cross-border banking services o Legislation – To solve regulatory loopholes essential to innovation spanning blockchain software technologies in New York, Europe and Africa. Development and passing of regulations need to occur at the speed of developing technologies, especially for online banking systems General atmosphere and expected follow-up The event achieved the objective of building students’ confidence in presenting their opinion to authoritative figures, both from the European Commission and the University of Nicosia. This led to an increased level of participation and the wish for more time to discuss the issues further. Building on this conclusion we will be organising a participatory event based on the winning idea, “Promoting education and green actions in the Pharmaceutical industry”.
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