A three-day conference aiming to explore the conservation, management and governance of protected areas and its application in the Akamas peninsula began on Wednesday.

Some of the core themes being discussed include the development of sustainable tourism around protected areas and the implementation of sustainable development models at local and national level with a focus on protected areas.

Organised by the agriculture ministry, attendees include experts from the World Bank, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Europarc Federation and universities.

They are also discussing how investments can be implemented in protected areas with the aim of creating environmental, financial and social benefits.

Taking place at Droushia Heights hotel, the conference is part of the ‘managing the Natura 2000 network – Akamas peninsula’ plan which is co-funded by the European fund on regional development between 2014-2020, as part of the business scheme on competitiveness and sustainable development by the EU.

The conference will continue until Friday and aims to present good practices in similar cases, as well as successful examples of good management of protected areas, with an eye on how they can be translated to Akamas’ case.

Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis, in comments he made a day earlier, said Akamas is an area with a unique natural beauty, which we have a duty to protect and properly manage.

The conference is a unique opportunity to enrich the knowledge of those involved in Akamas’ management both directly and indirectly, by learning from examples from across the world, he said.

“Utilising the proper tools and examples of other successful cases, I am certain we can adopt management models for these unique areas, the ensure the protection of their biodiversity, as well contribute to financial and social development on a local and national level.”