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It is only during the last decades that Cyprus has evolved from being an aid recipient to an aid donor country.

Education, Protection, Health
Youth, Children, Women
130 000 euro for 2013

Scope of involvement


During the Lebanon crisis in 2006, Cyprus assumed a vital role as a coordination centre for the dispatch of emergency humanitarian assistance in the region. Its geographic position and the good relations that Cyprus traditionally enjoys with countries in the area have facilitated this role. These initially included technical assistance and assistance in the form of grants, and shipments of pharmaceuticals, food and clothing.


Authorities and Services of the Republic of Cyprus are ready to respond to any possible large scale entrance in the country of refugees/citizens of third countries from a neighbour country where a crisis is ongoing.

Turning point

The 1974 Turkish invasion created huge challenges, including meeting the needs of the displaced population and facilitating the reconstruction of Cypriot means of production. In this context, valuable assistance was offered by international organizations such as the United Nations. This historical background has heavily influenced Cyprus which since then develops its own culture in humanitarian actions.


Types of stakeholders

NGO in general

NGO’s focus on handling refugee matters from psychosocial support to legal counselling, such as The Future Worlds Centre, “Hope for Children” and UNCRC Policy Centre, KISA (Action for Equality, Support and Antiracism). Finally, CYINDEP, an NGO that was formed by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot NGOs, aims to bring together NGOs working on international development, development education and development cooperation in order to improve the effectiveness of their work and advocacy.

Faith-based organisations

Assistance is provided via the Greek-Orthodox Church of Cyprus, the Cyprus Red Cross, and the Volunteer Doctors, all of which have developed cooperation with a number of countries of the region.

State humanitarianism

Ministries and State agencies involved

The most prominent humanitarian actor in Cyprus is Cyprus Aid, established in its current form in 2005. It includes a Coordination Body (CB) headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and having the Minister of Finance and the Permanent Secretary of the Planning Bureau as members. The CB sets up targets on the basis of international obligations, EU policy recommendations and national priorities. The Planning Bureau has policy preparation and implementation functions while the MFA represents the Republic abroad.


Specific roles of international organisations

European Commission

Cyprus redefined its humanitarian assistance policy after its accession to the EU in 2004, so that it would comply with the EU policy priorities in the sector.


Specific focus

Linking Relief Rehabilitation Development

A new component was introduced by Cyprus regarding its development cooperation effort, focusing on the implementation of development projects in partner countries through delegated cooperation. This enables Cyprus to gradually build up its aid delivery know-how while it safeguards that Cypriot aid is benefiting partner countries.


Humanitarian education

Higher education

Humanitarian education in Cyprus has gradually, but steadily been improving both in terms of quality and quantity. Education on humanitarian action is being offered in Cyprus mostly at the university level. Skills and competencies are usually being acquired via educational courses on humanitarianism offered by 3 out of the 6 universities of the Republic either at the graduate or post-graduate level.

The University of Cyprus via the department of Social & Political Sciences has been participating into 2 inter-university programmes focusing on human rights and thus on humanitarian assistance. It offers a European Master in Human Rights via its participation in the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights & Democratization. Frederick University via the School of Humanities & Social Sciences offers 1 graduate course that includes this issue. The University of Nicosia through its School of Humanities, Social Sciences & Law offers a total of 5 graduate and post-graduate courses focusing humanitarianism.

Seminar/short courses

CYINDEP has been quite active in issues such as international development and development education. In particular, it has been offering training on issues such as Global Education and Food Security and Gender & Development and has been organizing roundtables, conferences and lectures focusing among other on humanitarian education.

Additional Points

A historical trend of Cyprus’s humanitarian assistance has been the delivery of Technical Assistance and especially the provision of scholarships. Each year a number of scholarships are being provided by Cyprus Aid in various tertiary academic institutions, focusing on areas of studies in which Cyprus has developed expertise, such as Tourism, Management and Forestry.



Republic of Cyprus, Planning Bureau. (2013) Cyprus Aid - The Development Cooperation Service of the Republic of Cyprus , [Online] Available from: http://www.cyprusaid.gov.cy/planning/cyprusaid.nsf/index_en/index_en?OpenDocument
[Accessed: 8 November 2014].

Republic of Cyprus, Planning Bureau. (2009) Cyprus Aid - The Development Cooperation Service of the Republic of Cyprus, [Online] Available from: http://www.planning.gov.cy/planning/planning.nsf/AttachmentArchive/1D6633BC4757FC74C2257599003BAF12/$file/CyprusAid%20Brochure%20Eng.pdf?openelement
[Accessed: 8 November 2014].

CYINDEP. (2013) Cyprus Island Wide NGO Development Platform [Online] Available from: http://www.cyindep.eu.
[Accessed: 8 November 2014].

University of Cyprus, Department of Social & Political Sciences. (2013) General Information, [Online] Available from: http://www.ucy.ac.cy/sap/en/generalnformation
[Accessed: 4 November 2014].


Prof. Kalliope Agapiou-Josephides
Constantinos Hadjisavvas
Andreas Kirlappos
Andromachi Sophocleous
University of Cyprus

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