Find Civil Society expertise in Cyprus

In the 1990s, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) started taking a more visible role in the country’s civil society particularly in environmental, social and gender affairs. At present, a series of NGOs are highly active in gender affairs; these include the Centre for Women and Peace Studies, The International Eco-peace Village (IEV), and the Women’s Movement for Peace and a Federal Solution. Many such NGOs, as they names aptly point out, are involved in the resolution of Cyprus’ North/South dispute. The environment conservation sector has dominant players like the Federation of Environmental and Ecological Organizations of Cyprus (FEEOC). The Federation, an umbrella body of environmental NGOs, was founded in 1988. Its members are active in the areas of ecology, environment, and culture and human rights issues. There are four departments which are responsible for conducting bilateral relations with countries and regional organisations.

There are relatively few active NGOs. Observers attribute this to traditional village and church ties, and Cyprus’ vibrant economy given that most CSOs/NGOs are founded from a need for a developmental and social welfare focus. Unsurprisingly, civil society ties to the rest of the world are also minimal; many NGOs tend to concentrate more on internal issues.

In comparison to other countries in the Commonwealth, the number of workers who are involved in unions is high. Most organised workers belong to either of the two main trade unions, the Pancyprian Federation of Labour Federation (PEO) or the Cyprus Workers’ Confederation (SEK).