Norwegian support to dialogue and cooperation in Cyprus

EEA and Norway Grants

The last few months, the UN has given important positions in Cyprus to two Norwegians. Did you know that Norway also provides substantial support for dialogue and reconciliation across the divide through the EEA and Norway Grants?

The last few months, the UN has given important positions in Cyprus to two Norwegians. Did you know that Norway also provides substantial support for dialogue and reconciliation across the divide through the EEA and Norway Grants?

Espen Barth Eide was newly appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus. Earlier this month, Major General Kristin Lund, took command over the military forces in the UN peacekeeping operation on Cyprus (UNFICYP).

Ever since Cyprus became a member of the EU, the island has received support from the EEA and Norway Grants. Over 100 million Norwegian kroner (or 12.55 million euros) have been set aside for Cypriot initiatives. Both the Norwegian and the Cypriot governments have agreed that a large amount of the Norwegian support should be spent on initiatives that strengthen dialogue and cooperation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

A unique meeting point in the buffer zone
One of the results of the funding is the establishment of Home for Cooperation (H4C). Situated in a house in the capital Nicosia, H4C opened in 2011. Because of the division of the island in 1974, the house ended up in the middle of the demilitarised buffer zone. Only a small shop on the ground floor remained, making and selling t-shirts to the UN peacekeeping forces. The UN also established a guard post on the roof, but the rest of the building was left to decay.

Builders taking a break. Photo: Home for Cooperation.

Backed by the EEA and Norway Grants, the house transformed into a centre for education and dialogue between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The centre is available from both the north and the south and has become a unique meeting point also for political leaders that have used the house as a neutral space for meetings.

The H4C has a lot to offer: seminars, lectures, language education in Greek and Turkish, a library, office space for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), a café, the list goes on. Norway also supports a project promoting dialogue on history teaching both north and south of the divide. This year, the centre also received the EU prize for cultural heritage, Europa Nostra.

Look at the video above for more information about the activities at the H4C.

     See also: Overview over the EEA and Norway Grants in Cyprus.

Norway also supports NGOs that operate and execute projects benefitting the whole of Cyprus. This has been a recurring thought when choosing which projects to support. Here are some examples:

Public health (1,2 million euros)
The bone marrow register in Cyprus is being upgraded. Several thousand new bone marrow donors have been recruited from both the north and south of the island. Several families that are disposed for, as an example, cancer, are given proper examinations and follow ups. Read how paper cups saves lives (in Norwegian).

Domestic violence (0,7 million euros)
Nicosia will have Cyprus’ first purpose built crisis centre for victims of domestic violence. The centre is built in cooperation with the Norwegian Secretariat of the Shelter movement (Krisesentersekretariatet). When finished, the centre will offer help to victims across the whole of the island.

Culture centre (0,6 million euros)
A new culture centre for visual art and research will open in Nicosia mid-September. The centre will exhibit art, books and photographs that document the cultural heritage of Cyprus.