One of the decisions of the Ministerial Council on the Akamas issue was the creation of a National Forest Park in the area, which will include the current national forest and all the appropriate public land of the Akamas Natura 2000 site. Four ENGOs, including BirdLife Cyprus, met with the Director of the Department of Forests, Mr Takis Tsintides on16 March 2016 to discuss this issue. During the meeting ENGOS presented their views on the initial boundaries of the Akamas National Forest Park as well as our request for the inclusion of all the public land of Akamas into the National Forest Park, and not just the ‘appropriate public land’. Furthermore, we had a general discussion on the management of Natura 2000 sites. Following the meeting, BirdLife Cyprus also sent a detailed letter with our position.
On 18 March 2016 the Forest Advisory Body overwhelmingly approved the inclusion of all public land of the Akamas Natura 2000 site into the Akamas National Forest Park. This will result in the taking of immediate management measures, at least for this part of land. This is extremely important especially when having in mind that some of these areas such as Toxeftra with its sand dunes, are exposed to high pressure from visitors.
This development is an important success of civil society and NGOs and their ongoing efforts to protect the Akamas peninsula. BirdLife Cyprus will remain committed to this effort and intensify even more its activities for the protection of Akamas, in the best interest of its valuable biodiversity and environment and the current and future generations of Cyprus.