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Laona Foundation

For the Conservation and Regeneration of the Cypriot Countryside

A brief background about the Foundation

The Foundation is a private non-profit-making organisation established to implement the Laona Project, a US$1m. rural regeneration and ecotourism project in western Paphos, which was completed in 1994. The project involved five villages on the border of the proposed Akamas reserve area and helped introduce the concept of agrotourism to Cyprus through the project’s activities. A total of 26 traditional buildings were restored, points of visitor attraction were developed in each village, and a number of publications were produced.

Since 1994 the Laona Foundation has continued its activities, offering guidance to the people of Laona; but at the same time, at the request of other communities outside Laona, it has broadened the scope of its activities to cover all areas of Cyprus. In recent years the Foundation has worked closely with the Cyprus Conservation Foundation/Terra Cypria and with the Cyprus Architectural Heritage Organisation; since 2003 it has been taking an increasing interest in issues of landscape and participates as an observer in the meetings of the Landscape Convention, Council of Europe.

Summary of Actions / Studies

  • 1989-1994 Development and implementation of the Laona Project (Phase I-IV) Funded Program MEDSPA-LIFE, Leventis Foundation and other sources.
  • 1997 Field study of the old Xanthi (Thrace, Northern Greece), trying to evaluate the recovery capabilities of the old city.
    Funding: Leventis Foundation
  • 1998 Tour operators from study visit Nepal for comparison and study of mass tourism and rural tourism.
    Funding: Agency Sheepdrove Trust, UK.
  • 1999-2002 Valleys Plan for the sustainable development of river communities west of Paphos. The study aimed to revive seven communities, utilizing the natural and cultural heritage with a detailed management plan.
    Funding: Project LIFE ’99, Leventis Foundation, Community Development Committee riverside.
  • 1999 Preparation and delivery of on-site seminar and educational research Valleys area for the University of Frankfurt (Department of Cultural Anthropology).
  • 2001-2002 Bilateral cooperation between Paphos and Eastern Sitia, Crete, for the sustainable development of ecological tourism.
    Funding: Greek Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works.
  • 2003 Leadership and participation in bicommunal Cyprus team of the IUCN Mediterranean conference on protected areas.
    Funding: EU Civil Society Programme.
  • 2004 Tour bi-communal seminar to better assess options relating to land in the countryside.
    Funding: UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services).
  • 2005 Co-organized by the Department of Building and Housing in consultation with the Council of Europe, a workshop on implementing the European Landscape Convention.
    Funding: Department of Building and Housing, Laona Foundation.
  • 2005 Co-organized by Ministry of Agriculture and Community Development Committee riverside east of Paphos, introductory seminar on the meaning of programs LEADER.
    Funding: Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment of Cyprus.
  • 2005 Organization of the Ministry of Agriculture and the European Landowners Association (ELO), the conference entitled: ‘The role of the program and LEADER Local Action Groups in Rural Development’.
    Funding: European Commission.
  • 2006 Cooperation with the Department of Planning and Council of Europe on the European Landscape Convention, including guidance from the University of Sheffield.
    Funding: Laona Foundation.
  • 2007 Organization of practical introductory workshop with the University of Reading in characterization techniques / assessment of the landscape.
    Funding: Laona Foundation and the Cyprus Environmental Studies Centre.
  • 2008 First edition of the Landscape Charter of Cyprus, with collaboration of the University of Reading, and presentation to the relevant government departments of the Ministry of Interior.
  • 2008 Sustainable Rehabilitation of abandoned or Future Mines and Quarries, bi-communal project funded by UN, involving a Think Tank with experts from both communities.
  • 2010 Mapping of Cultural elements in the Cypriot landscape, funded by Department of Town Planning.
  • 2011 Training of Young farmers in Biodiversity issues, funded by the Department of Agriculture.
  • 2011 Promoting Phytiotiko weaving in cooperation with Phyti community. A series of activities starting in 2011 involving filming of the weaving process, discussions with the community, a seminar in cooperation with Frederick University in 2013, and securing the inclusion of phytiotiko on our National List of Intangible Heritage, in line with UNESCO procedure.
  • 2014 Coordination of Medscapes Project (Greece, Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon) to map the landscape in the Eastern Mediterranean. Financing: European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI)
  • 2016 Development/Submittal of Phyti weave (Phytiotiko) in the Cyprus cultural heritage roster.