Taking care of extra fragile ecosystems: Mediterranean mountainous islands


A conference organized by the Government of Cyprus addressed the complex challenges that face mountainous islands in the Mediterranean. The “Mountain areas of large Mediterranean islands: European issues, national and regional policies and local mechanisms” conference was held from 28 to 31 January in Platres, Cyprus. The gathering aimed to highlight the importance of Europe’s Mediterranean mountains and the need to implement policies concerning these areas.

The National Commissioner for Mountain Communities of Cyprus organized the conference as a strategic step for the state’s new National Strategy for Mountain Communities, adopted in October 2019. The strategy aims to revitalize the region of the Troodos Mountains, which provides freshwater to the entire country. The strategy includes 250 measures to be implemented over the course of a decade.  

Cyprus is one of six large Mediterranean islands, among Mallorca, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and Crete. These six islands are largely mountainous, and their mountain ecosystems supply important ecoservices to the rest of the island. The islands face similar challenges, such as ageing populations, depopulation, economic struggles and lack of services for residents.

Participants approached the issues from both theoretical and operational perspectives. Researchers, decision makers, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and regional and local authorities contributed their perspectives and visions over three days of discussion. The outcome of these collaborations was the adoption of a declaration with some recommendations to the Government of Cyprus to consider when implementing the National Strategy for Mountain Communities.  

The Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) contributed with an international perspective on sustainable mountain development and contributed to discussions about mountain policies in the European and Mediterranean context. The MPS also shared the vision, goals and activities of Mountain Partnership members, stressing the work that the support the MP can provide to Cyprus as it implements its national strategy.

Read the outcome document, the Troodos Declaration

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Photo from Patricia Quillacq

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