Last year was a challenging year for the environment and its protection. As every year, we remained committed to our mission: To promote environmental awareness and sustainability through lobbying, environmental education and through programs that promote conservation, protection, and research activities.
With your support, we have fought and continue to fight for the protection of nature on our island. Our major achievements in 2023:
Our fight for the protection of Akamas continue
Our Foundation, after a visit to the site where the works for the Akamas National Forest Park (NFP) were being carried out, identified serious deviations from the legally binding terms of the Special Ecological Assessment.
In collaboration with Birdlife Cyprus, the Cyprus Wildlife Society and the Cyprus Natural Coastline Initiative, we took immediate action.
We lobbied through letters to the relevant departments, to the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment and even to the President of the Republic, asking them to take immediate action to preserve Akamas. We participated in meetings with the Minister and we took part in the Parliamentary Committee on the Environment where we presented our positions; we lobbied through the publication of our positions. You can find all our positions here.
Our efforts seem to have paid off and we hope that the continuation of the projects in Akamas National Forest Park will follow all the binding procedures for the more effective protection of Akamas.
Our Foundation will continue to closely monitor developments, lobby and be actively involved in all processes concerning Akamas. For us, it is no question of the Akamas NFP not functioning, but whether framework will follow the correct implementation of the Akamas NAP. Akamas belongs to everyone and especially to future generations.
We educated more than 2300 people in the CESC
The Cyprus Centre for Environmental Studies continued its work in educating and raising awareness on environmental issues, ecology, geography, and sustainable development. Students from public and private academic institutions in Cyprus and abroad, as well as adults visited and/or stayed at our facilities, attending our multi-day educational programs at the Cyprus Environmental Studies Centre. Others attended one-day programs near us, or with our visit to their site or to other areas of the island.
We informed communities and institutions about the Natura 2000 network with presentations and experiences in nature
Through the experiences and presentations that we conducted within the framework of the “Pandoteira” project, 10 Communities and 5 Bodies were informed about the Natura 2000 network in Cyprus, as well as about the project’s activities.
Through events we organized, people had the opportunity to get close to nature, discover its richness, and learn why it is important to protect these areas. Learn more about nature experiences:
- Hiking on the mountain “Kreatis” in Mitsero
- We celebrated the European Natura 2000 Day
- Discovered the natural beauty of Cape Greco
- We celebrated World Mountain Day with a hike in Amiantos
The “Cyprus Turtle Program” has begun!
This year, and in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, “The Cyprus Turtle Programme” was implemented.
A program of participation and training of volunteers, coming from academic institutions, in the protection of sea turtles in the Akamas region and the broader Chrysochous Bay area.
This summer marks the start of a great and beautiful journey for us, dedicated to the protection of two sea turtle species, the Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and the Green (Chelonia mydas), which are found in these areas.
Our Foundation, for over 3 years now, has also been working with the British Bases on a project to monitor both nesting and pressures in the Lady’s Mile area.
Within the framework of the project, actions were taken to restore important wildlife habitats and to promote ecotourism.
More specifically, the actions were aimed at reducing human interference in the Akrotiri peninsula, which is a major factor in the decline of the area’s wildlife, and for this purpose metal barriers were installed. Earthen barriers were also created to prevent access to unpaved roads.
Through the project, we organised the Akrotiri Spring Festival to promote eco-tourism in Akrotiri and to highlight the environmental and cultural value of the area.
In addition, in order to support the economic viability of cattle grazing in the Akrotiri marsh, a plan for the ‘eco-beef’ of the Akrotiri marsh was completed.
The partners in the project are BirdLife Cyprus (coordinating beneficiary), the Department of Environment of the British Bases,the RSPB, and Terra Cypria.
We took action on the climate crisis
Our action on the climate crisis continues to be very active. In the context of the Fit For 55 legislation, which aims to reduce greenhouse gases in the European Union by 55% by 2030, reference was made to the importance of enacting a climate law in Cyprus to successfully and timely achieve the new more ambitious goals.
We co-organised with the Department of Environment a workshop on climate policies in Cyprus, on the revised goaels and policies planned in the context of the update of the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).
Our young people have been empowered in the fight to tackle the climate crisis. For the second consecutive year, as part of “Generation Klimact” we reached 500 young students aged 9-18, informed them about the climate crisis but most importantly, gave them tools with which they themselves can change for the better. The Generation Klimact students travelled in Brussels to ask for more climate action from MEPs and participated in a video awareness campaign, in which they appealed to everyone to raise awareness for a future without climate disasters.
We continued our actions for the conservation of the Vulture in Cyprus
In the framework of the “Life with Vultures” project, more than 250 students from schools in the Limassol and Paphos districts learned about vultures and the threats they face through activities and games. Some had the opportunity to witness the release of two vultures, while others participated in the World Biodiversity Day event.
We conducted over 620 questionnaires, mainly aimed at hunters and farmers, to learn more about the use of poisoned baits and knowledge of the legal consequences. By participating in the Shooting, Hunting & Wildlife Fair we informed attendees about the work of the Game and Wildlife Service’s dog unit trained to detect poisoned baits.
In September, 14 vultures were released, imported from Spain as part of the project to strengthen and maintain the population. The vultures are monitored daily through GPS tracking devices, which have been fitted to over 90% of the individuals flying freely. A further 15 vultures were introduced in December and will be released after approximately 6 months.
Additionally, we participated in the European Vulture Conference, held in Spain, presenting the results of the “LIFE with Vultures” project to a large network of scientists working on vulture conservation around the world.
The partners of the “Life with Vultures” project are BirdLife Cyprus, Game and Wildlife Service, Vulture Conservation Foundation and Terra Cypria.