10 December 2013 11:14

The Famagusta Ecocity project is going ahead in January with events aiming to push a vision of Famagusta as a centre for peace and sustainability.
The team behind the initiative envision an integrated, sustainable, and environmentally responsible Famagusta that promotes peaceful coexistence amongst all of its inhabitants and embraces the latest environmental and urban technologies.
The aim is for Famagusta Ecocity to also serve as a magnet for high-quality trade, commerce, tourism and investment.
One of the questions to be addressed at the design studio event scheduled for January is how to finance the project.
"Broadly speaking, we envisage a virtuous circle in which visionary ideas, solid planning and productive cooperation attracts not only private investors but also official sector EU funding as well as companies who want to showcase their latest ecofriendly Technologies," the team said in a statement.
So far for the documentary, they have raised $34,000 from a crowd-funded Kickstarter campaign After US taxes and costs to the Kickstarter and Amazon they have a net $20,000 for the documentary.
"Documentaries that pay their staff regular salaries typically cost $300,000 - $1 million, so we are starting this on a shoestring and we are still campaigning for more funds," they said.
For the design studio, they have raised $20,000 through private donations to cover travel, accommodation and costs on the ground.
They have also received a pledge for a small donation from an EU-based NGO.
The funds are being channelled through an NGO called ESTIA founded by one of the members, Emily Markides, as well as Amazon payments (for the Kickstarter funds).
Seeking to steer clear of politics, the group is not taking a position on whether Varosha should be returned before a settlement, but are only preparing for what could happen if it is returned.
One of the core team members is also a core team member of The Bicommunal Famagusta Initiative (BFI) which is a separate organisation and provides information and logistical support.
The two groups support each other and also work together to gain political support for the project.
"As a result of this outreach to date, both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot municipalities of Famagusta have publicly expressed their support for citizen initiatives regarding the future revitalisation of Famagusta," the group said. Government officials in various departments and at various levels have also privately expressed support and encouragement to the proposition that a vision for the reconstruction of Famagusta, garnering widespread bicommunal stakeholder support, ought to be in place in advance of a comprehensive settlement, as this would prepare the ground for a successful "Day After" and be a good omen for the implementation of any agreed political solution to the Cyprus problem," they added.


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