I.A.CO Environmental & Water Consultants Ltd is participating in the first “LIFE IP” project in Cyprus named “Managing the Natura 2000 network in Cyprus and shaping a sustainable future”. This is an Integrated Project that is funded by the LIFE programme for Cyprus with the participation of fifteen (15) partners: Department of Environment (Coordinator), Department of Forests, Game and Fauna Service, BirdLife Cyprus, Terra Cypria, University of Cyprus, Frederick University, Cyprus Wildlife Society (CWS), Federation of Environmental Organisations of Cyprus (FEOC), ACC Perivallon kai Kainotomia Limited, I.A.CO Environmental & Water Consultants Ltd (IACO), National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, Cyprus University of Technology and AP Marine Environmental Consultancy Ltd.
The project has a total duration of ten years (1st of November 2019 – 31st of October 2029) and its total budget is €16.999.279. It is co-funded with 60% by the funds of the EU LIFE program and 40% by own contribution.
It is the first time in Cyprus that experts in the management and protection of the environment, from public authorities, academic community, SMEs and NGOs collaborate in the same project, and join their expertise in order to improve the conservation status of species and habitats of community interest through actions in the whole Natura 2000 (N2K) network in Cyprus. The project includes actions concerning the whole N2K network and specific actions concerning certain species and habitats in specific N2K sites. The horizontal actions are considered to be of vital importance for the sustainable management of the network.
The specific objectives of the LIFE IP-Physis project are:
- Implementation of robust conservation measures and application of legal instruments for habitats types and species of community interest that are facing significant pressures.
- Development of management structures at a regional scale for the sites of the N2K network outside state forest land, so as to involve main stakeholders (land owners, users and local authorities) and enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of management.
- Addressing the private land issues in the N2K network through innovative solutions.
- Acquisition of the necessary knowledge on Ecosystem Services and their provisions at national and local scale.
- Strengthen of the coherence between the areas of the N2K network and improvement of their connectivity.
- Provision of a geospatially oriented data base system of the Natura 2000 network and a web-based GIS tool for governmental, professional, expert and public use.
- Improvement of capacity, knowledge and awareness of key stakeholders, involved bodies, authorities and the general public with respect to the implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives and the N2K network.
- Dissemination of the results of the project and replication by other stakeholders both nationally, regionally at the Mediterranean Biogeographical Region and at EU level.
I.A.CO Environmental & Water Consultants Ltd has a key involvement in the project, through the participation of its personnel to various actions of the project. These are summarised as follows:
- Action A1: Mapping of habitat types and species included in Annexes I and II of Directive 92/43/EEC;
- Action A4: Compilation of Action Plans for species and habitats of Community interest; Action A5: Study the ecological requirements for 7 Annex I bird species of Directive 2009/147/EC;
- Action A.7: Mapping of the distribution and action plans for Invasive Alien Species;
- Action A.8: Preparation of a Capacity Building/Training Action Plan for Better Management of Protected Areas;
- Action C.1: Implementation of Capacity Building Training Action Plan for Better Management of Protected Areas;
- Action D.4: Monitoring the impact of the project (KPI);
- Action F.1: Project management and monitoring of project progress.