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Open letter to the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Environment

In September, more than 1100 citizens have emailed the letter below to the Ministers of the Interior and Environment, expressing their concerns about the future of Akamas and demanding answers to specific questions. This e-mail action was coordinated by BirdLife Cyprus, who are publishing this open letter, asking from the Ministers to be accountable and to tell us how they will ensure the protection and management of the entire Akamas Peninsula.
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To: Nicos Nouris, Minister of the Interior

Costas Kadis, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment

Subject: Questions to the Ministers regarding the future of the Akamas Peninsula

The Akamas Peninsula is a unique area of unparalleled beauty, retaining a naturalness and authenticity that has been lost from most coastal areas of the island. With the right vision and will, Akamas can be a model for sustainable development while its precious nature is protected. Your plans do not convince that you share the above vision for sustainable development. These plans provide for the “protection” of only part of Akamas, the National Forest Park, while opening the door to the development of the rest of the peninsula. You are proposing inappropriate developments that endanger the area and its biodiversity, while destroying its competitive advantage and the main attraction for visitors, its natural landscape.

Dear Ministers, we invite you to publicly answer the following questions:

  1. When will the illegal structures and activities, that have existed in the area for years, be removed, and how will the environmental damage be restored?
  2. How will the proposal for the construction of refreshment stalls and shops within the National Forest Park, and in ecologically sensitive or untouched areas, contribute to the better management of the area? How are local communities supported by promoting shops that will compete with those found in the core of these communities?
  3. Why is the isolated housing policy being promoted for the Akamas Peninsula, when it is widely accepted that it creates very serious problems island-wide, with negative impacts on multiple levels?
  4. How is sustainable development achieved by proposals for scattered development outside community development boundaries (visitable farms, specialised big developments etc.) and for the expansion of quarries, at the expense of the area’s unique landscape? How is the proposal for the expansion of residential and tourist zones justified, when a significant percentage of the existing development limits remain unexploited?
  5. When will Management Decrees be issued, giving legal standing to the measures proposed in the Management Plans of the Natura 2000 sites of the Akamas Peninsula? How and by what procedures will you achieve holistic and substantial protection and management of the Akamas Peninsula, as a whole?

We call on you to answer our questions and review the Akamas Local Plan and the Akamas National Forest Sustainable Development Plan and to withdraw proposals that promote infrastructure beyond the development boundaries of local communities, endangering the biodiversity of the area and threatening its unique landscape.

In anticipation of your replies,

The BirdLife Cyprus team

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