The manifesto is published in the framework of BirdLife Cyprus‘ campaign 'I vote Nature' (#IvoteNature). The campaign aims to inform citizens about Europe's importance for nature and to draw voter attention to the upcoming European elections, ensuring that the environment is a real election topic, and at the same time to mobilize informed citizens to vote for MEPs that share the same values as them.
With its manifesto, BirdLife Cyprus, the national partner of BirdLife International in Cyprus, promulgates BirdLife's vision for the 2019-2024 European Parliament, highlighting the important role that it has to play for nature protection in Europe, in particular with regards to the protection of ecosystems and our seas, sustainable agriculture and climate change. BirdLife Cyprus has shared its manifesto with the candidate MEPs and has asked them to sign the pledge that accompanies it, thereby commiting them to work for the protection of nature. During the campaign, the names of the candidate MEPs who have signed BirdLife Cyprus‘ pledge will be announced online on www.birdlifecyprus.org/ivotenature (available only in Greek).
BirdLife Cyprus Director, Martin Hellicar, said "Choosing between destroying and protecting nature is but a political decision. The European Parliament can decide if Europe destroys or protects nature and every individual MEP counts and can make a difference."
On 26 May 2019, as European citizens, we will be asked to vote six new members to the European Parliament, the ‘voices of Cyprus in Europe’. The EU has been able to contribute to conservation outcomes through the Nature Directives, the vital laws that protect Europe’s wildlife and nature. In Cyprus, the Nature Directives provide the legal framework for the protection and management of 63 Natura 2000 sites, from Cape Greco to Akamas Peninsula. The Directives have also contributed in reducing destructive practices, such as spring hunting and trapping of birds, both on an EU-level and in Cyprus. The restoration of Oroklini Lake - an outstanding example of what the EU can do for nature - was made possible thanks to funding from the LIFE programme; a fund that depends on being voted in by the European Parliament every 7 years to exist.
Without the Nature Directives there would be a serious challenge to achieving the goal of halting the loss of biodiversity. And without a strong pro-nature EU parliament, we risk seeing decades of EU environmental policy being reversed by relentless anti-environmental lobby from powerful vested interests.