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New commissioner pledges action to revive mountain communities

November 19, 2018 at 12:33pm
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A national strategy to boost the development of the mountain communities will be submitted to the government in January as efforts continue to breathe new life into rural areas.

This was revealed by the new commissioner for mountain communities Yiannakis Papadouris at his swearing in ceremony at the Presidential Palace on Monday.

Papadouris has resigned from his position at Kalopanayiotis community leader, where he spearheaded investment efforts,  to coordinate national policy for the development of the mountain areas of Troodos and the Larnaca and Paphos hinterland.

He had earlier served as a personal adviser to the president, commissioning and paying the University of Thessaly to draw up a Troodos Development Plan. This will be used a model for Larnaca and Paphos, President Nicos Anastasiades said.

“The aim is the adoption of comprehensive development policy for the mountain areas,” Anastasiades said.

This will allow the implementation of specialised financing programmes aiming to create a competitive rural economy that will rely on agriculture, processing of foodstuffs and cottage industry, he added. Proposals will also focus on reversing rural depopulation, the president said.

“To this end we are drawing up a comprehensive support policy with measures and incentives for housing and employment,” he said.

The aim also is to promote a tourism sector adapted to the natural, cultural and residential environment of the mountain areas.

A ministerial steering committee had been set up to oversee implementation of a comprehensive development policy for the mountain areas. They in turn had appointed technical committees and specialised working groups to work with the commissioner.

He praised Papadouris for the work he has done, particularly in his village of Kalopanayiotis, and noted that he had taken up his new duties with a symbolic monthly stipend of €250 .

Papadouris said that the government’s decision opened the way for recognition of Troodos as a single and separate development unit within the Republic of Cyprus and would allow investment programmes similar to those implemented elsewhere in the EU.

And he added that his office will submit the final text of a national strategy to cabinet in the beginning of January.