Nicosia, 1 October 2005 – A new three-year programme aimed at assisting Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to work together on issues of common concern will be launched this week. The programme to promote Action for Cooperation and Trust (ACT) will receive funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and will be managed directly by UNDP. It replaces the Bi-communal Development Programme (BDP), which completed its activities after seven years of work and almost $ US 67 million of investment into the development and implementation of projects which supported Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot co-operation.
According to UNDP’s Andrew Russell “Action for Co-operation and Trust is a bi-communal initiative with a mandate to create opportunities for both communities to work together on concrete projects which will benefit all people on the island, while at the same time promoting tolerance and mutual understanding. We hope that such joint projects will support principles of multiculturalism and European values and provide Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots the resources and opportunities to jointly build the foundations for a sustainable solution to the Cyprus Problem”.
UNDP’s first bi-communal programme started in 1998 and over seven years of co-operation the programme supported Cypriots to work together to protect the environment, restore buildings of important cultural significance, upgrade the urban infrastructure of Nicosia’s old city, promote educational and cultural exchanges and address social issues like drugs and dispute resolution.
Russell says, “We are proud of the achievements of our many partners over the past seven years. Much has been accomplished. We now need to build on the achievements and lessons learned and we are committed to continuing to support all communities across the island to strengthen the foundations for co-operation and trust. Our new programme will focus on bi-communal initiatives which allow Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot organizations to take joint action in areas such as the environment, education and cultural heritage”.