The European Union provided an additional €3 million in support of the work of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in Cyprus via an agreement between the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), it was announced on Thursday.
The EU is the largest contributor to the work of the committee with a total contribution of €17.7 million since 2012 through the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community. This contribution serves to implement the priorities of the committee for the preservation of island-wide cultural heritage in Cyprus.
Since 2012, with the support of the EU and UNDP, the committee has conserved, structurally supported, physically protected or restored 31 heritage sites islandwide including Orthodox, Maronite and Armenian churches, mosques and minarets, fortifications, hamams, aqueducts and watermills.
Additionally, 23 sites have benefited from simple, non-structural, small-scale works such as internal and external site cleaning, removal of vegetation from roofs and walls, minor repairs, replacement of doors, fences and windows. Conservation designs for future projects are ready for an additional 40 sites.
Head of the Cyprus Settlement Support Unit Kjartan Björnsson underlined that the work of the bi-communal committee was an inspiration for everybody working to preserve the common history and legacy of Cyprus, and an essential element of the efforts to promote a united Cyprus for the future
“Saving the island’s cultural heritage is a matter for all those living in Cyprus. At the same time it is a concern for international organisations, because it is a part of the global cultural heritage. The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage taught us that as Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots we can be efficient when we cooperate, work and produce together,” commented Ali Tuncay and Takis Hadjidemetriou, representatives of the committee.
“In the past years, these initiatives have brought together thousands of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots demonstrating how cultural heritage can play a catalyst role in support of the ongoing peace and confidence building process. We are looking forward to continue supporting the work the of the Technical Committee in the coming years,” added UNDP Senior Programme Manager and Head of Office in Cyprus Tiziana Zennaro.
In addition to conservation designs and works, this new €3 million phase of the programme includes new educational and community engagement activities which it is hoped will increase the opportunities to bring youth and people from all communities of Cyprus together, to reconnect and appreciate their common heritage.