Appropriations of 11.2 million euros are included in the state budget for 2024, with the aim of leasing/purchasing two firefighting helicopters as well as leasing/purchasing the services of four firefighting planes, as reported by the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Petros Xenophontos.< /p>
Speaking at the Tree Festival, Mr. Xenophontos noted that the budget also included provision for the lease/purchase of services of a coordination aircraft together with the necessary personnel for a period of six months for 2024, with an option for the years 2025 and 2026 as well. He also added that the state budget for 2024 includes appropriations of 9,750,993 euros for projects through the Recovery and Resilience Plan.
These amounts correspond, as he said, to the need of the Forestry Department “to be able to respond better to the constantly intensifying and more difficult work it performs, especially in the summer months”. With these funds, as the Minister explained, the Government aims to modernize both the ground firefighting fleet of the Department and the aerial means.
He underlined, moreover, “that the Government will continue to strengthen the Forestry Department both in human resources and with wheeled and aerial vehicles, so that the Department can plan and face the challenges presented in matters of fire protection and suppression with more confidence and above all with efficiency”.
A series of changes was decided by the AKEL Statutory Conference – “We will get to work united”
A series of changes was decided by the AKEL Statutory Conference – “We will get down to work together”
The work of the long-hours AKEL Statutory Congress, which started on Sunday morning (26/11) and ended in the afternoon of the same day, has been completed.
He also referred to this year's fire fighting season which ended just recently. “Improving the operational capacity of the Forestry Department as a result of improved planning and organization as well as the strengthening of the Forest Fire Response System has limited major disasters as much as possible,” he said, expressing his recognition and appreciation for the important work done it was carried out both by the staff of the Department of Forestry, as well as the rest involved in the fire protection of state services and agencies.
Highlighting in particular the important role of forests for Mediterranean countries, such as Cyprus, in the midst of the effects of climate change, he said that in order to deal with the adverse effects of climate change, the implementation of the “Planting for the Climate” Program began in 2019 with which free forest saplings are granted both to public bodies and to organized groups. Additionally, free saplings are given to the public during Tree Week in an effort to develop initiatives and encourage tree planting, he said.
“What I can assure you is that the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment and the Department of Forestry, as the competent Authority, manage Cypriot forests on the basis of the Sustainability Principle, so as to ensure balanced maximum environmental and social benefit for today's but also the next generations”, said Mr. Xenophontos.
He added that the Forestry Department set as immediate priorities the effective protection of forests from fires, climate change and other factors, the effective protection of biodiversity and other forest ecosystem services, the improvement of greenery, development and upgrading of the recreational functions of the forest and the support of the forest villages.
The Minister noted that the institution of the Celebration first started in Nebraska, USA, while in Cyprus it was established in 1920 initially by a small group of forest officials, and then it was embraced and celebrated continuously every year. He added that the purpose of the Tree Festival is to cultivate the love for the tree, to highlight its importance in our lives and the need to protect it. and value, because they are aimed mainly at our young students, the generation that is the future of our country and in which we should invest more”, he said, underlining that “trees can live without man, but man cannot live without the trees”.
“I want to express the certainty that, the effort of all of us for a substantial cultivation of environmental consciousness and love for the tree will continue to be consolidated and will finally bear fruit successfully”, concluded Mr. Xenophontos, expressing thanks to the Department of Forestry, the Cyprus Philanthropic Association and the Directorate, the staff and students of Kokkinotrimithia Primary School B', as well as all those who contributed to the organization of the event.
SOURCE: KYPE< /p>