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UNDP deal to restore Cyprus church, mosque

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The International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH) has partnered with the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to conserve two cultural heritage sites.

According to a UN statement, the sites are St. George of the Latins church in Famagusta and Tuzla Mosque in Larnaca.

UNDP will carry out the conservation works within the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage framework to support peace and trust building in Cyprus.

A Nicosia event was organised to mark the signing of a grant for $840,335 from ALIPH to UNDP for this project.

This initiative marks the first partnership between ALIPH, TCCH and UNDP.

This project is co-funded by the European Union.

The project builds on UNDP expertise in project implementation on cultural heritage in Cyprus between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, which has successfully completed over 100 projects since 2010.

Jakhongir Khaydarov, Head of Office, UNDP Cyprus, said: “As UNDP, we are committed to ensuring the protection and preservation of cultural heritage to ensure that future generations can enjoy the island’s monuments.

“Protecting this heritage is a key pillar in building a culture of peace, understanding, cooperation, and dialogue.”

Valéry Freland, ALIPH Executive Director, said that working with Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities to restore two important historical and remarkable sites embodies ALIPH’s mission: protecting heritage to build peace.

Sotos Ktoris, Greek-Cypriot TCCH Co-Chair, said: “ALIPH’s substantive support to the work of the Technical Committee not only empowers our efforts to ensure the protection and preservation of our cultural heritage so that, through shared responsibility, but future generations can also enjoy the island’s monuments.

“But it also empowers our uninterrupted effort to promote intercultural understanding, reconciliation and mutual respect amongst Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.”

Ali Tuncay, Turkish-Cypriot TCCH Co-Chair, said that all monuments of the civilisations that passed from Cyprus “are our shared heritage and richness”.

“We acknowledge the responsibility and duty of preserving and sustaining this richness and hand them over to future generations.”

ALIPH says it is the only global fund dedicated to protecting and rehabilitating heritage in conflict zones and post-conflict situations.