Cyprus agreements to strengthen bi-communal dialogue
The EEA and Norway Grants are helping to facilitate dialogue between the two communities on the divided island of Cyprus. A large proportion of the funds provided in the period up to 2014 are earmarked for civil society support. The Memoranda of Understanding were signed in Nicosia this afternoon.
“The physical division of the island is hardly conducive to fostering dialogue and understanding between the two communities. Through the EEA and Norway Grants, we will continue efforts to forge contacts between north and south at grass-roots level. Such dialogue could help Cyprus to find a solution to this protracted conflict in the long term,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
Cyprus will receive €7.85 million through the EEA and Norway Grants in the period up to 2014. About 25% of this amount is earmarked for civil society support, including a Fund for Non-Governmental Organisations which will give priority to projects involving both the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities.
Funding will continue to be given to the Home for Cooperation. This centre, which was established with EEA and Norway Grants support during the previous funding period, is located in the UN-controlled buffer zone in the capital, Nicosia.
The centre is a unique meeting place for the two communities and offers a number of activities, such as exhibitions, research and education, as well as office space for NGOs from both sides. In the new round of EEA and Norway Grants, the centre will receive funding for a project designed to initiate a dialogue on a syllabus for teaching history in the north and the south.
Funds have also been earmarked for the establishment of a new crisis centre and shelter for abused women and children. The project will be run by The Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family (SPAVO) in cooperation with the Norwegian Crisis Centre Secretariat.
Funding is being provided to upgrade the Cyprus Bone Marrow Donor Registry, to intensify efforts to combat money laundering, and for measures to conserve the biological diversity of the Troodos National Park.