The Engage Programme launched its second phase spanning 2011-2013, on 21st February 2012 at the Home for Cooperation (based in the UN Buffer Zone). During the ceremony the Representatives of the two Leaders of Cyprus and the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the U.N. publically stated their views on the role that Civil Society can play in supporting the on-going negotiations. Their messages were presented to the public via pre-recorded audio visual messages from interviews that the Engage team had conducted.
The importance of the role of Civil Society in informing the public about the challenges and opportunities for a comprehensive settlement and bridging the gaps between the two communities was stressed by the officials George Iacovou, Kudret Ozersay and Lisa Buttenheim. Mr. Iacovou added that: “When we do move forward there will be quite a lot of opportunity for civil society having common views spanning the two communities and setting the good example for all people of Cyprus”. Mr. Ozersay commented that: “There is an interdependency which necessitates a level of cooperation on the island which is unavoidable”. Ms. Buttenheim stressed that: “I think that on the day [of a settlement] Civil Society will have an even more important role [to play] …”.
The Engage team introduced the second phase of the project which, in addition to its ongoing active citizenship media campaign, includes four innovative informative and active dialogue campaigns and a programme for small scale funding that will further engage NGOs, the wider public and the Media towards the rapprochement of the two main communities in Cyprus. The programme will be running until September 2013 and will follow up on the work that it has been doing over the last two years that is building up the process towards peace and reconciliation in Cyprus.
For a complete version of the interviews with the Representatives of the Leaders and the Special Representative to the UN Secretary General click here