Newly Released Scenarios Explore the Next 12 Years for Cyprus
For immediate release
A new set of scenarios for Cyprus has been released, with the intention to promote widespread understanding and dialogue about the island’s future prospects. The scenarios were developed during 2022 by a diverse group of Cypriots. They outline four different possible futures looking towards 2035.
The Cyprus Futures initiative was created in 2022 in recognition of the changing and uncertain context in which the island finds itself today due to the ongoing political conflict, geopolitical shifts and tensions, as well as migration, climate change, inflation, soaring energy prices, and other factors. Noting that the island finds itself in an unpredictable situation, the convenors of the initiative saw a need for a unique effort by Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots to discuss and reflect on future possibilities together, considering their many everyday concerns today.
“The conversations and decisions about the future of the island should not be confined only to a small group. Citizens need to be involved in shaping the future.” – says Michelle Kari
The initiative applies a method called the Transformative Scenarios Process, which has a long track record around the world, dating back to the transition from apartheid in South Africa 3 decades ago. This method, led by an impartial organization called Reos Partners, has been applied to national and regional futures including in South Africa, Colombia, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Israel-Palestine, Thailand, the Netherlands, and elsewhere. Former President of Colombia and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Juan Manuel Santos in his foreword to the scenarios states,
“Given my own experience with transformative scenarios and this new approach to collaboration I was pleased to hear about the new Cyprus Futures initiative. This approach invites us not to fear complexity, not to fear the truth, but rather to take into account the different perspectives and possibilities.”
This approach is unprecedented in Cyprus. It does not advocate for any specific solution for the Cyprus problem, but opens up to all possibilities. The scenarios are not developed by think tanks or academic experts, but rather collectively drafted by a highly diverse group of individuals, who represent a cross-section of society. They comprise 36 Cypriots from a wide diversity of perspectives, across sectors, professions, generations, beliefs and political views.Half of them are Greek Cypriot and half are Turkish Cypriot, religious minorities are included, and the group is gender balanced. They participated in the process as individuals, each volunteering several weeks of their time to work together to create the scenarios.
“Our actions and inactions of today are shaping the future. Thinking in terms of scenarios can help us to consider the decisions each of us needs to make today.” - says Ceren Kürum
The group created four scenarios:
“No way: A scenario of stagnation and inaction”, in which a new failure of peace talks deepens divisions and the Cyprus problem is kept stuck in suspension as de facto separation solidifies.
“My way: A scenario of divergence and opposition”, in which the Turkish Cypriot leadership pursues an active policy of international engagement and recognition.
“Their way: A scenario of peace under pressure”, in which peace talks with external pressure and low public engagement lead to a fragile federation that lacks wide public ownership.
“Our way: A scenario of resilient peace”, in which a multi-track process with broad civil society engagement leads to a federation that is resilient and inclusive.
“These scenarios are not predictions, they are not negotiation options, and they are also not exhaustive. Others may imagine other scenarios. What matters is that we are talking about the future and engaging with people who think differently”, says Mille Bojer, Director of Reos Partners, one of the facilitators of the process.
“The interdependence of Cypriots is a reality in all scenarios - it is not going away, even if it’s not visible for and felt by everyone to the same degree.” - says Hüseyin Silman
Over the coming period, the scenarios will be discussed in various fora in Cyprus as well as at events in Brussels, London, and Geneva. All voices are welcome in this conversation. The full scenario report as well as guidelines for using the scenarios are available on the project website www.cyprusfutures.org
“Making informed choices about the future means that we have to consider all the possibilities including the ones we may not wish to happen. Otherwise the future may bring realities to us that we could have foreseen and prevented.” – says Petros Aristodemou
The Cyprus Future process was facilitated by Reos Partners, using an internationally validated methodology. The project was supported by PRIO Cyprus Centre and Result Mediation Foundation. Funding was provided by the governments of the Netherlands, Norway (via PRIO), and Finland.
Kathryn Gichini, Communications Lead, Reos Partners