Laona has been instrumental in motivating the Cyprus Government to ratify (in 2006) the Florence Convention on the European Landscape, 2000. In co-operation, originally with Reading University, UK, and now with Open University Cyprus, the Foundation has pioneered landscape mapping as a tool for better territorial/land use planning.
In 2008 a provisional landscape map at a scale of 1:250.000 was produced, being the first map of the whole island to have been produced by actual on-site evaluation since the Turkish invasion
and division of Cyprus in 1974. This was possible because Laona’s status as an NGO enables it to enter northern Cyprus and co-operate with Turkish Cypriot NGOs based on the other side of the island’s divide.
Within the ambit of its concern for landscape and communities the Foundation conducted a bi-communal project in 2008-09 on the rehabilitation of abandoned mines and quarries. Specialists from both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities participated in a Think Tank which produced a series of recommendations that are still valid and quoted today.
Between 2012 and 2016 Laona co-ordinated an eight-partner project to introduce a common methodology for assessing and mapping landscape character in the East Mediterranean. Entitled Medscapes https://www.keep.eu/keep/project-ext/41553/MEDSCAPES , this project - worth over one million euros – was funded by ENPI (the European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument) and involved Cyprus, Greece, Jordan and Lebanon.
The group was composed of one academic and one NGO partner from each country. The project delivered a complete mapping of Cyprus landscapes on a scale of 1:50.000. A complete mapping on a scale of 1: 250.000 was produced for the Greek island of Lesvos and for large parts of Epirus (Greece), Jordan and Lebanon.
Common Mediterranean Landscape Typology
All these data were submitted to the appropriate authorities of the partner countries to assist their planning tasks.
A digital Landscape Risk Assessment Tool was developed and university courses were also prepared and tested so as to introduce the methodology developed by the project to post-graduate students.
A year later, in a co-operation between Laona and the Open University Cyprus, a rapid assessment of the cultural landscape of the Akamas Peninsula in western Cyprus was carried out, on a far more detailed scale of 1:10.000 (funded by the Cyprus Department of Town Planning and Laona). The data is now being used for the preparation of the Akamas Local Plan. The experience gained from mapping at such a detailed level has thrown up challenges which the Foundation will address in its next landscape assessment project. At present Laona is working towards developing an appropriate multi-disciplinary team.