Connecting Nature is an Innovation Action funded by the H2020 Research and Innovation Programme of the EU, with a total budget of €13 million.
Coordinated by Trinity College Dublin, Connecting Nature is a partnership of 31 organisations, from 16 different counties, co-working with local authorities, communities, industry partners, NGOs and academics. Nicosia Development Agency (ANEL) participates as the only partner from Cyprus, which is a great success as the country is represented in a project of such great scope and significance.
The overall goal of the project is “to position Europe as a global leader in the innovation and implementation of nature-based solutions”
What is the overall approach to implementing the project?
In order to realize the overall project goal, the project team has created a community of cities aimed at promoting peer group knowledge and competence development
Among them are advanced cities (Front Runer Cities) with experience in delivering solutions based on large-scale nature and fast-moving cities (fast follower Cities), which have the desire to implement such large-scale solutions but lack the expertise. As the knowledge and expertise grows, this community will include new members, cities multipliers.
At the same time, the project partners will develop the necessary policies and practices to increase the resilience of cities, innovation and governance through the use ofnature-based solutions. The approach will be open and innovative by fostering the development of synergies between local governments, SMEs, academic research and community partners to produce the necessary tools and guidance for cities seeking to adopt and implement such solutions at local level.
The Case of Nicosia
Within the framework of the project, Nicosia Development Agency’s vision is to create, on a district level, an urban network of Open and Green spaces (including existing and proposed / planned green spaces, parks and open public spaces) using as the core the National Forest Park Athalassa and other existing or planned "Nature-based solutions" (eg Linear Pediou Park, Academy Park, Agios Dimitrios and Acropolis Park, programmed Kakkaristras and Pallourokampos Parks in Latsia, Lourka Forest in Geri Mata). The proposed green network will be linked with an integrated bicycle and pedestrian network based on the existing mobility plan.
The proposed interventions will be designed, after a series of meetings with the parties involved, by the project manager, on behalf on ANEL, Eleni Malekkidou, who is an urban planning specialist.
Active participation and substantial contribution to the project include, among others, the Forestry Department represented by Forest Officer Mr. Glafkos Kyriakou, the Municipalities of the Nicosia Development Agency and other public and private bodies.
Meet us at the forest - Nicosia Connecting Nature Public Event
Nicosia Development Agency organized a dissemination event entitled ‘Meet us at the Forest’ on the 28th of January 2019. The event took place at the Environmental Information Center of Athalassa National Forest Park.
The event was attended by partners of the project from abroad, the mayor of Aglantzia, Mr. Charalambos Petrides, who opened the event, the mayor of Yeri, Mr. Neophytos Papalazarou, representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and its departments, the member - municipalities of ANEL, Universities and other individuals.
The event included a video presentation about National Forest Park of Athalassa, its importance as the “green lung” of the rapidly growing city of Nicosia and the quality work of the Forest Department. Also, a presentation from Eleni Malekkidou (Nicosia Development Agency) about Connecting Nature project and the planned actions for the city of Nicosia. The first part of the event closed with the prize giving ceremony of the ANEL's European Photography Competition, entitled: “Nature can give to our cities the answers we are looking for!”.
The second part of the event included a guided “walk in the park” tour and a networking lunch where all the participants had the chance to exchange ideas and discuss further the outputs of the event.
For more information about the project you can visit the project website here.
The orginail article was first published by Offsite 5th February 2019 and can be viewd here.