Great Success of SEMEDFIRE and RESALLIANCE Events in Cyprus


CERIDES Excellence in Innovation and Technology, European University Cyprus conducted with great success a series of Events and Workshops, from the 9th to the 11th of April 2024, under the overall theme of: “Landscape Resilience and Integrated Fire Management“. The events and participatory co-development and co-decision workshops were organized within the contexts of two EU-funded projects under Horizon Europe: the “SEMEDFIRE: South Eastern Mediterranean Excellence-Development in Fire-Research” project, of which EUC-CERIDES is the Coordinator, and the “RESALLIANCE: Landscape Resilience Knowledge Alliance for Agriculture and Forestry in the Mediterranean Basin”, in which EUC-CERIDES is a Partner.

SEMEDFIRE is a HEU-WIDERA-TWINNING project funded by the European Commission under Grant Agreement no. 101079337. RESALLIANCE is a HEU-CL6-GOVERNANCE project funded by the European Commission under Grant Agreement no. 101086600.

The Events and Workshops of 9th to 11th April 2024 brought together a great diversity of actors: practitioners or representatives of professionals from the agricultural and forestry sectors; governmental and local authorities; research and educational institutions; civil society organisations and private sector involved in landscape resilience activities and fire management. Experts from Cyprus and across Europe shared knowledge and All participants collaboratively and participatorily contributed to co-building and co-developing more integrated fire management for a more resilient landscape in Cyprus.

Tuesday 9th of April was dedicated to a focused Working-Session on “Strategic Management Areas”. The workshop was structured to include an introductory presentation by Jordi Vendrell from Pau Costa Foundation (both an Advanced Partner within SEMEDFIRE, and a Partner within RESALLIANCE), followed by a practical exercise on designing strategic management areas. Participation to this workshop was targeted to: the Department of Forests of the Republic of Cyprus and the Cyprus Civil Defence Force, as well as all SEMEDFIRE Beneficiaries (Widening Coordinator and Advanced Partners); EUC-CERIDES, WUR, PCF, DGSCGC, NIMES Métropole, IMPERIAL HazeLab.

Wednesday 10th of April was dedicated to Integrated Fire Management, with presentations from experts in fire management in Cyprus, France, Spain and the Netherlands. This workshop and associated participatory works were developed within the context of the EU project SEMEDFIRE, aiming at developing integrated fire management in Cyprus. The Event took place at Classic Hotel Nicosia. Welcoming Speeches were given by Mr. Theodoulos Makriyiannis, the Director of the Office of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture Rural Development and Environment of the Republic of Cyprus, Dr. Maria Panagiotou, who had kindly provided her Auspices to the Event since she is also the Chair of SEMEDFIRE’s Advisory Board, and the CERIDES-Director Prof. George Boustras. Presentations from wildfire management experts included:

For the purposes of participatory work for this Workshop, EUC-CERIDES’ team-members Klelia Vasiliou, Matthieu Jost, and Pierantonios Papazoglou, devised a simulation ‘serious game’ by modifying into Cypriot context a Serious Game originally formulated by Wageningen University in the framework of its Pyrogeography MSc course with David Flores of the U.S. Forest Service. Our Cyprus-adapted and modified table-top simulation entailed role-playing to build an integrated fire management strategy and related communication and community-engagment measures, which were ‘tested’ against the ‘realistic scenario’ and ‘injects’ of a large Wildfire incident threatening a supposed “Pyropolis” community, its valuable agricultural lands, as well as the highly important adjacent National Forest Park that also hosted protected endemic species.


Closing remarks and the Event’s Evaluation were presented by Commandant Laurent Alfonso of the French General Directorate for Civil Protection and Crisis, and SEMEDFIRE-Chief-Project-Manager Mr. Pierantonios Papazoglou on behalf of CERIDES-Director and SEMEDFIRE-Project-Coordinator Prof. Boustras.

In a Side-Event of the 10th April Workshop, H.E. the Ambassadrice of France in Cyprus, Mrs. Salina Grenet-Catalano, honoured SEMEDFIRE by kindly hosting at the French Embassy in Cyprus a Meeting with a Delegation of the SEMEDFIRE Consortium, consiting of representatives from the Widening Coordinator EUC-CERIDES; Prof. George Boustras and Mr. Matthieu Jost, and our French Advanced Partners; Lt Colonel Frederic Harrault of DGSCGC and Dr. Adrien Mangiavillano of NIMES Métropole.

In another Side-Event, on the 11th of April 2024, the French Advanced Partners of SEMEDFIRE; DGSCGC and NIMES Métropole, with representation from the French Embassy by Lt.Col. Frédéric Munoz, and accompanied by EUC-CERIDES team-member Iasonas Senekkis, were hosted in a Meeting at the Headquarters of the Cyprus Fire Service.

Thursday 11th of April focused on best practices relating to landscape resilience. This Event was the RESALLIANCE‘s Cyprus-LandLab 2nd Workshop, and it specifically focused on controlled grazing in strategic areas, agroforestry as firebreak, hedgerows development, but also on land abandonment issues and payments for ecosystem services. The Event took place at Ktima Christoudia Winery. Welcoming Speeches were given by the Respected Environment Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus Mrs. Antonia Theodosiou, who has placed the Cyprus LandLab activities under the Auspices of her Office, and the CERIDES-Director Prof. George Boustras. The Workshop included Presentations, but also highly participatory works of co-development and co-decision on landscape resilience practices:


To share a better understanding on these issues, a short Field Visit was conducted at the end of the day, generally following the route of Kato Drys – Ora – Odou – Farmakas – Nicosia, so as to visualize certain practices (e.g. such as gabions) as well as to jointly reflect on the devastating impacts of Wildfires on our landscapes, by seeing parts of the burnt areas from the 2021 Melini-Arakapas Fire.

The thee full days of Events, Seminars and Participatory Workshops were made possible by the collective and collaborative efforts of SEMEDFIRE and RESALLIANCE Beneficiaries, and of their following personnel in particular, who contributed before; in the preparations, during; with their physical presence and engaged work, and after; in the review – debriefing – reporting aftermath:

[PAU COSTA FOUNDATION] Julia Nogues and Jordi Vendrell. [FRENCH CIVIL SECURITY] Frederic Harrault, Laurent Alfonso and Damien Zimmermann.  [NIMES Metropole] Adrien Mangiavillano.  [WAGENINGEN] Michael Cacciapaglia.  [IMPERIAL Hazelab] Carlos Walker-Ravena and Nikolaos Kalogeropoulos.

[EUC-CERIDES] Klelia Vasiliou, Matthieu Jost, KleliaPetrou, Iasonas Senekkis, Katerina Petrou, Cleo Varianou-Mikellidou, Maria-Thalia Christou, Thalia Pratistou, Pierantonios Papazoglou, Prof. George Boustras.