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EmpowerUs Cyprus teams up with stakeholders to protect Limassol’s coast

The EmpowerUs team in Cyprus, led by the Development Agency of Lemesos LTD and the Cyprus Marine and Maritime Institute (CMMI), have been engaging with stakeholders in the Eastern Limassol Region to find community-driven solutions to coastal challenges.

EmpowerUs has established Transition Coastal Labs (TCLs) in various coastal communities across Europe, with the aim of developing new knowledge through creative processes that actively involve communities through a process of real-life testing and sharing of information and knowledge.

Cyprus’ Transition Coastal Lab (TCL) is located in the Eastern Limassol Region, which is an area of remarkable beauty and ecological significance. Over the past few months, this dedicated team conducted fieldwork to identify the challenges and, more importantly, to gather insights into community-driven solutions.

Existing Coastal Challenges

During the fieldwork, several significant coastal challenges were identified, presenting potential threats to the TCL's ecological and social integrity.

For a start, the area’s proximity to the Vasilikos Energy Centre – a large hydrocarbon industrial hub – raises concerns about optical pollution, water quality, and the overall attractiveness of the region.

Furthermore, coastal development opportunities are scarce, particularly in Pentakomo village, where building permits close to the coastline are owned by displaced Turkish Cypriots.

It was also found that the TCL serves as one of the main marine aquaculture zones of the island, leading to conflicts between the tourism and aquaculture sectors. Moreover, the government’s plans to construct a new harbour for servicing the farms along the coastline raise concerns about fragmentation and community disempowerment.

There are also concerns about the impact of the planned marine aquaculture harbor, which is dangerously close to ecologically sensitive habitats, including submerged sea caves vital for the endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal.

“The fieldwork conducted thus far has offered profound insights into this TCL’s environmental and social complexities,” EmpowerUs said. “The next six months for the TCL team will be dedicated to reflection, analysis, and follow-up discussions with local stakeholders and policymakers. The team will focus on in situ informal discussions with users of the sea to gain deeper insights into their needs and perspectives. The next workshop is planned to commence in Autumn of 2023.”

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