Launch event 21 September 2023
Cyprus Environment Foundation (CEF) celebrated the initiation of its actions in Cyprus in a modest ceremony in Palaia Elektriki in Nicosia, in the presence of business personalities, as well as the political, academic and social life of Cyprus.
The event was held under the auspices of the President of the Republic Mr. Nikos Christodoulidis, with honored guests the Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry Mr. Giorgos Papanastasiou and the Commissioner for the Environment Dr. Maria Panagiotou.
During the event, attendees had the opportunity to learn about CEF’s work, which aims to protect and enhance the natural beauty, biodiversity and ecosystems of Cyprus.
In particular, three of the projects CEF has supported to date were presented:
- The education of children through interactive and creative workshops in collaboration with Enalia Physis Environmental Research Center.
- The protection of the endangered quitarfish species, in collaboration with the Marine & Environmental Research (MER) Lab organization.
- The empowering of the “Plastic Free Beach” Initative, in collaboration with the Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Association (CSTI).
CEF, which is part of the Conservation Collective, an international network of 20 local organizations, realizes its goals by collecting funds from individuals, foundations and corporates, which is then channeled in the form of grants, to local organizations and initiatives, supporting environmental projects of high importance and impact. From March 2022 until today, it has supported a total of 19 projects in collaboration with 14 environmental champions of Cyprus, channeling around €150,000 for the preservation and restoration of the island’s natural environment.
Welcoming the guests, the President of CEF, Peter Drousiotis, referred to the important work that the organization has accomplished in such a short period of time, stressing, however, that CEF will not perform miracles, nor will it solve all the environmental challenges the island is facing. But through selected partnerships and alliances, but also with the support of benefactors, he noted, the organization can bring about significant change in the protection of the local natural environment by supporting targeted projects.
The executive director of the organization, Sofia Matsi, emphasized that it is no longer a choice if we will get involved, but how we will do it, making special reference to the risks to local biodiversity, unsustainable waste management practices and the serious effects of climate change in Cyprus, inviting everyone to cooperate with CEF and support its work.
Taking the floor, CEF co-founder and Steering Committee member Ben Goldsmith, pointed out that even small amounts, in the hands of capable people, can move mountains, inviting attendees to be part of the change through their donations and through network strengthening and promotion of the newly established organization.
The Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry Mr. Giorgos Papanastasiou spoke about the difficult but important work carried out by CEF, in his own speech. At the same time, he assured that CEF’s efforts to protect the natural ecosystem of Cyprus will by supported by the Ministry, providing all possible assistance where needed.
Her satisfaction with the fact that organizations such as the CEF contribute to the common goal of protecting the environment, expressed the Commissioner of the Environment Dr. Panayiotou. Cooperation is necessary, said Dr. Panagiotou, if we wish to achieve the goals of mitigating the consequences of climate change and see tangible results in our efforts.
It is worth noting that the attendees had the opportunity to enjoy a special menu inspired by invasive marine species, including lionfish and mantis shrimp, but also to travel with the musical compositions of pre-primary and elementary school children, on the theme of the sea.