Cyprus and Greece have joined forces in a “milestone” collaboration to use their scientific expertise in tackling forest fires.
The Cyprus Institute (CyI), the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), and the National Observatory of Athens (NOA), recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the aim of joining forces for tackling forest fires, and in particular concerning the formulation of integrated plans for the prevention and management of forest fires.
The signing ceremony, which took place at the NOA premises in Greece, formalised “many years of research and cooperation” between the three top institutions, a written statement said.
The cooperation of the three institutions was deemed necessary as the climate crisis affecting the Southeastern Mediterranean is causing an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, resulting in more frequent catastrophic forest and suburban fires.
“The expected effects will be dramatic, with loss of life and property, degradation of the forest environment and biodiversity, reduction of quality of life and social cohesion and local and regional development lag,” the joint statement added.
Given these estimates, the collaboration between CyI, NKUA, and NOA is considered “urgent and necessary as ever, and a milestone in the management of Forest Fires in Greece and Cyprus”.
Focusing in four different areas, the collaboration aims to utilise the know-how and experience acquired by the three institutions regarding the issue of forest fires and develop a research cooperation framework that will lead to the formulation of an integrated action plan to incorporate, organise and utilise the existing knowledge for the effective response to forest fires at all stages.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the director and chairman of the board of NOA, professor Manolis Plionis, the vice-rector for research and education of NKUA, professor Nikolaos Voulgaris, and The Cyprus Institute’s president, Professor Costas Papanicolas.