Terra Cypria–the Cyprus Conservation Foundation is a non-governmental organisation (NGO), officially established in 1992 as a charitable, non-profit organisation. Its overall aim is to promote environmental awareness and sustainability through political pressure and environmental education, as well as through programmes that promote conservation, environmental protection and research.
The Foundation has three main objectives:
A. The first objective of the Terra Cypria Foundation is the application of political pressure for better environmental protection. Our policy actions are achieved through continuous communication and awareness of people in key positions who can influence our daily lives, such as politicians and technocrats. This is done through letters, meetings, publications, seminars and exhibitions. We also participate in various Parliamentary Committees of the House of Representatives, as well as governmental technical committees assessing the environmental impact of projects and programmes in protected areas and the environment in general. Our policy action focuses mainly on biodiversity protection, renewable energy, environmentally friendly agriculture and fishery. We promote the implementation of the Aarhus Convention and, at the same time, we are dealing with Sustainable Tourism and the Circular Economy.
B. Our second objective is to make tomorrow’s citizens environmentally aware, specifically students of primary, secondary and tertiary education, so that they can deal responsibly with the environment and manage its natural resources. As a key part of achieving this objective the Foundation set up the Cyprus Environmental Studies Centre in the abandoned school of Kritou Terra village in Paphos. The Centre was funded by the A.G. Leventis Foundation and the EU LIFE Programme. The Centre has been in full operation since 1995, offering courses to nurseries, primary schools and Greek and anglophone secondary schools from Cyprus and abroad, as well as higher education institutions.
The Centre contributes to the sustainable development of Kritou Terra’s community as the participants have the opportunity to stay overnight in the community’s dormitories and houses of the village’s residents, as well as enjoying local food. Until the end of June 2018, the Centre’s courses had been attended by more than 63,000 participants from Cyprus and abroad.
C. The third objective of our Foundation is the implementation of programmes that contribute to the increase of knowledge about and the preservation and protection of the environment. Through our actions we aim to protect natural and semi-natural areas, and their biodiversity. We also promote sustainable agricultural practices, with the aim of a better future for both the present and future generations. We aim for action to improve the urban environment, such as the promotion of sustainable urban mobility and the establishment and protection of existing green spaces and the minimization of urban sprawl.
We acknowledge that education and increasing the awareness of the general public about the importance and value of the environment is particularly important. We believe that everyone needs to participate actively to address and solve the environmental problems of our country and of the entire world. Through our continued presence in the printed and electronic media we keep our fellow citizens in touch with our activities and the latest environmental news, and we suggest what they can do to support the protection of the environment.
The Foundation’s main funding derives from an annual grant provided by the A.G. Leventis Foundation, grants from projects, and contributions from people who participate in educational programmes provided by the Cyprus Centre for Environmental Studies at Kritou Terra.
Since 1997, Terra Cypria has been participating as an NGO partner in the proceedings of the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention for the Protection of European Wildlife and Habitats. We are also a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and we are board members of two pan-European NGO, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and Eurosite. We are also members of the Environmental Coalition on Standards (ECOS) and the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE).