Collaborative Solutions to Shared Environmental Problems (2012)
In Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities have officially been divided between the north and south by the UN “Green Line” established in 1974. Presently, there are several environmental issues facing the entire island-nation of Cyprus that require island-wide collaboration between the communities to address them. Uncontrolled development on the island for tourism, as well as illegal hunting and trapping, habitat degradation, and habitat destruction, negatively impact the environment in Cyprus and breed conflict. Environmental NGOs on both sides of the island are involved in research, advocacy, awareness-raising, and conservation. However, there is a significant lack of coordination and awareness within and between these communities. Solutions to environmental conflict require collaborative strategies for facilitating workable solutions.
HasNa embarked on this project with a partner from both sides of Cyprus. Terra Cypria is HasNa’s partner in the south of the island and the Cyprus Turkish Biologists Environment Research and Protection Association is HasNa’s partner in the north.
HasNa brought a bi-communal group of Cypriot environmental NGO leaders to Washington, DC for two weeks of training and site visits in July 2012. The Collaborative Solutions program highlighted the relationship between environmental issues and conflict over resources and protected areas as well as identified collaborative strategies for facilitating workable solutions to environmental conflict on the island. The group visited and heard from a multitude of groups and individuals at the following organizations:
- Environmental Law Institute (ELI)
- Anacostia Watershed Society
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center
- EPA Office for Transportation and Air Quality
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Bird Habitat Conservation
- Ocean Foundation
- National Academy of the Sciences
- District Department of the Environment
- Sierra Club
- Smithsonian National Zoological Park
- EPA Administrator for the Chesapeake and Anacostia River
- Keystone Center for Science and Public Policy
- Ducks Unlimited
- Environmental Defense Fund
- World Bank
Combining communication and negotiation skills training, environmental conflict resolution training, site visits with American counterparts, and project planning and implementation sessions, HasNa gave the Greek and Turkish Cypriot environmental leaders the tools needed to collaborate on initiatives vital to promoting environmental sustainability in Cyprus.
How You Can Help
HasNa and our local partners in Cyprus need your support to help our participants implement the joint projects they have developed during the Washington, DC program. If you would like to support these peacebuilding initiatives in Cyprus or get involved, please make a donation or contact us to get involved.