Environmental protection and cooperation in an (ethnically) divided island: The case of Cyprus

PRIO Report

Hadjimichael, Maria & Klitos Papastylianou (2019) Environmental protection and cooperation in an (ethnically) divided island: The case of Cyprus. PRIO Cyprus Centre Report: 6. Nicosia: PRIO Cyprus Centre.

The environment is considered to be an element which holds an enhanced peacebuilding potential as well as potential to exacerbate conflict. It has thus become an important topic in the international conflict and peacebuilding agenda, with intergovernmental organisations and civil society actors, including environmental NGOs, and research and advocacy institutes, working on issues that are at the interface of environment, peace-building and security. This PCC report revisits the concept of the environment and its peace-building potential through historical learning on the island of Cyprus and aims at finding sustainable linkages that can assist in environmental protection and foster meaningful cooperation across the divide. Starting from 1998, this report explores various ways environmental cooperation ensued on the island and attempts to comprehend how cooperation has failed or succeeded at different levels (from official administration levels to ENGOs and the civil society). Henceforth, a number of proposals are put forward, such as a peace park in the Buffer Zone, a network of Natura 2000 sites and Biosphere Reserves across the island, a bicommunal ecological studies centre in a remote wilderness area within the Buffer Zone, as well as an ecological online platform as a communication tool for those interested to collaborate, or exchange information on environmental matters. It is suggested that the more long-term, sustainable possibilities of the peace-building potential of the environment can be realised from those who embrace their actions as explicitly political, and who seem capable of creating stronger linkages towards a sustainable solution to the Cyprus Issue.

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