Launch of the 2015 SCORE Index for Cyprus: “What are the key predictors of achieving a political settlement in Cyprus?”

The Center for Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development (SeeD), organized a public launch event on Thursday 26th November entitled “The 2015 Social Cohesion and Reconciliation (SCORE) Index for Cyprus: “What are the key predictors of achieving a political settlement in Cyprus?” where the findings and the policy recommendations of the SCORE Index Research were presented.

SCORE 2015 Executive Brief can be downloaded by clicking here

Reflections Paper can be downloaded by clicking here

 The 2015 data has been collected in July 2015, using the SCORE questionnaire administered face-to-face with 1000 participants (500 Greek Cypriots and 500 Turkish Cypriots). These latest SCORE findings indicate that there are certain population segments within each community that are less open to the idea of a political settlement with the other community. In Greek Cypriot community, young people (age: 18-35) and women report less readiness for a political settlement. Young Greek Cypriots feel more culturally distant from Turkish Cypriots, feel more anxious to meet them and are more socially distant from them, while being low on empathy. They also tend to not consume media information and experience low economic security. In the Turkish Cypriot community, right-wingers report that they are less ready for a solution. Contributing to their hesitation, right-wing Turkish Cypriots report reduced levels of community security. In comparison with 2013-2014 SCORE findings, there is also a decreasing trend for Turkish Cypriots on Reconciliation and Propensity to vote ‘Yes’ in a Future Referendum. Overall, SCORE findings suggest that public support for a future peace plan in Cyprus can be increased through a reduction of inter-group anxiety, social threats and cultural distance between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. This highlights the fact that the need for social change should be also considered by the negotiating stakeholders in parallel with the existing dossiers of the negotiations process.

During his opening address, Christopher Louise, Programme Manager of UNDP ACT referred to the value of the SCORE Index by saying “No political change can take place without the participation of the people affected by the change. In terms of the research methodology, SCORE is so robust that it can be transported to other context and it has successfully done so. It is one of the best tools for the international community" Louise said. 

Following the presentation of the SCORE 2015 findings, Alexandros Lordos, SeeD Co-Research Director delivered the policy recommendations which were developed through a participatory dialogue processes with various segments of the society from both communities. Lordos stressed that all actors; political and civic leaders in both communities should take responsibility for articulating the strengths inherent in a multi-cultural society, demonstrating the social, economic and political benefits. Therefore, it is important that all actors, including policy makers, members of the negotiating teams, local authorities and civil society organisations take such evidence into account in order to develop strategies that bring the communities closer together and inspire positive perceptions among them.

The event closed with an interesting discussion on the findings, policy recommendations and suggestions, moderated by Jasmine Kim- Westendorf, who is a Lecturer in La Trobe University, Australia. "SCORE fills a very deep gap, because policy makers are focused more on institution building but not on the dynamics at the local level and that is where SCORE comes in. It is also valuable to civil society to find out which areas should be strengthened" Westendorf said. As a conclusion, participants agreed that more needs to be done by stakeholders and policy makers to facilitate the people of Cyprus to accept political compromise.