PyrAnakampsi Closing Event

Laona Foundation / PyrAnakampsi Closing Event

On Wednesday, March 13, 2024, Laona Foundation for the Conservation and Regeneration of the Cypriot Countryside and the Cyprus Environmental Initiative (CEI) hosted the closing event of the Pyranakampsi/Alevlerden Geleceğe Project, where the actions and conclusions of this two-year bi-communal project was presented.

The event was held at the at the Home for Cooperation in Nicosia, was dedicated to the memory of Martin Marancos (1956-2023), a long-standing associate of Laona Foundation and a much-respected colleague in this project.

Mr. Charalampos Theopemptou, Member of Parliament, Cyprus Green Party – Citizens Cooperation and Mr. Panicos Champas, the General Secretary of the Cypriot Farmers Association addressed the event. Mr. Theopemptou emphasized the importance of projects dealing with climate change and wildfires because of the unique weather conditions in our region which combine high temperatures and low rainfall. He referred to the inclusion in the Cyprus’ National Plan for dealing with climate change, the goal to plan 1 million trees by 2030; and to the Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) policy of the European Union which foresees the planting of 3 million in trees in Cyprus by 2030! According to Mr. Theopemptou, implementation is problematic due to the lack of a national common strategy for tree planting; as well as the lack of support by the state and the local authorities towards the civil society which is willing to carry out tree plantings. This restricts the availability of public areas, and the option left is to plant trees only along roads.

Mr. Champas commented that due to the extreme nature of the terrain in Cyprus and the small size of the island, European directives cannot be applied blindly. He also pointed out the importance of a common local plan for preventing and managing wildfires.

Followed a presentation of the project’s actions by Dr. Artemis Yiordamli, Executive Director of Laona Foundation and project manager and Dr. Salih Gucel, the CEI team leader, three speakers Irene Raab Marancos CEI, Pavlos Paradisiotis President of Phoenix NGO, Costas Orountiotis Deputy Director Laona Foundation referred to future challenges. They focused on 1) community engagement in creating volunteer teams properly trained and equipped, as part of a long-term prevention, protection and recovery plan, 2) exercising pressure on the government to create national policies, and strategies recognising the threat of desertification and fires due to land abandonment, and supporting local communities and NGOs in their effort to protect against natural disasters and 3) encouraging tree planting in private properties and abandoned land as a matter of national interest.