Cyprus 2015

Intended Outcome

The purpose of the initiative is to contribute towards a sustainable settlement of the Cyprus Problem through objective research and respectful dialogue between all relevant societal and political stakeholders, in a way that complements the peace efforts on the island.



The ‘Cyprus 2015’ initiative, which commenced in May 2009, is being implemented by the Joint Programme Unit for United Nations / Interpeace Initiatives (JPU) and is supported by the UNDP-Action for Cooperation and Trust (ACT) programme in Cyprus and by the European Commission Representation in Cyprus.



  • Engage all three tracks of society, the leadership, the broad civil society and the general public, through the media.
  • Be a locally owned project. It is designed and managed entirely for Cypriots by Cypriots while drawing on best practices from around the world.
  • Go beyond bi-communal issues and address issues of trust, understanding, and the healing of the internal rifts within each community.
  • Involve all groups and schools of thought within each community.


  • A better informed public debate that relies on more objective and de-politicized information
  • More fluid channels of communication between the leadership and the general public
  • A better informed policy-making process
  • Improved awareness, understanding and trust between the two communities 

What is your SCORE?

“The Center for Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development” (SeeD) is developing a revolutionary index called the “Social Cohesion and Reconciliation” (SCORE) Index which aims to measure the impact of peace-building activities while taking the pulse on the underlying social factors that can influence the outcome of peace processes in Cyprus and around the world.

The Cyprus conflict has remained ‘frozen’ for decades. Parallel to political efforts at reunification there is the problem of insufficient ‘social cohesion and reconciliation’. Although significant effort and resources have been invested in peace-building over years, the Cyprus peace process lacks a systematic tool to assess and measure progress towards reconciliation or make informed policy decisions. In the absence of an accurate monitoring mechanism, attempts to improve the peace process are downgraded to ‘good-faith’ activities, without any real evidence of their actual impact on the society or the peace process itself.

The SCORE Index is an innovative tool that will capture social and political trends between and within the two communities in Cyprus over time, a model which can also be exported to other post-conflict situations beyond the island. The SCORE Index aims to achieve 3 main objectives:

It will serve as a “barometer”. Easily interpretable by users, the SCORE will help the general public, policy makers and practitioners understand how social factors interact with one another and how they influence the process of social cohesion and reconciliation.

It will serve as an “early-warning tool”. By identifying the possible challenges that may rise due to mutual mistrust between the two communities alerting society and policy makers to the need to develop appropriate responses. Trust at all levels, including at grassroots, is as important as brokering a deal and an essential ingredient of sustainable peace.
It will be a “policy-oriented application” that will assist decision makers in adapting strategies and mobilise their resources more effectively with targeted interventions and actions for social cohesion and reconciliation.

What are the next steps?

The SCORE will provide local policy makers and peace activists, as well as international donors, with a source of reliable information for decision-making.

Beyond the shores of Cyprus, the SCORE concept has already gained significant traction among practitioners in Kenya, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Palestine, with whom SeeD is collaborating in the development of locally adapted indices.

Who are we?

SeeD - Center for Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development

SeeD is a peace-building think tank, with regional scope, which grew out of the “Cyprus 2015” project, which was launched in May 2009 with the intention to create a bridge between public opinion and the policy level of the Cyprus peace process. Through its novel ‘Participatory Polling’ methodology, and now the SCORE index, SeeD provides unique tools for effective and sustainable policy recommendations and informs the peace-building policy debate while ensuring citizen participation in, and ownership of, the peace process.

Convergences and Divergences: How a more inclusive process could help unlock the Deadlocks

Recent research by the Cyprus 2015 project has examined the remaining obstacles in the public mind to reaching a comprehensive agreement on the “Cyprus Problem”, and highlights the need to address these through a more inclusive peace process.

Diplomatic groundwork for the resumption of the direct talks in Cyprus is underway, seeking means to overcome deadlocks in the process. This will entail retrospective critical assessment by the Good Offices mission and the respective sides of what has worked or not in successive rounds of talks. Cyprus 2015 advocates that any assessment of the negotiations to date cannot be concluded in the absence of feedback from the communities, nor can the peace talks themselves be conducted without ownership by the grassroots.

How to prevent the negative slide – knowledge is not enough

What has not varied since the current round of negotiations commenced in 2008, is the desire to see a settlement in Cyprus. However, based on people’s current understanding of what a comprehensive settlement would entail, there is an increasing trend towards a “no” vote: a majority of Greek Cypriot respondents (51%) declared an intention to vote “no” in a future referendum. Meanwhile, “yes” votes (18%) are at the lowest level since tracking began. In the Turkish Cypriot Community, the current trend is also moving more toward “no” (42%).

Traditionally, it has been assumed that more knowledge among citizens would automatically lead to increased acceptance of a potential peace plan. However, the data shows that more information merely works to confirm existing stereotypes and consolidate pre-existing trends. Research by Cyprus 2015 suggests that this paradox is a result of the public not having been meaningfully involved in the actual formulation of settlement propositions. Indeed, the poll reveals a strong desire by the public to be more directly involved in the decision-making process: they want the negotiators to spend more time visiting villages and communities to discuss key elements of the talks, they want the Leadership to set up a system to inform people about new developments and solicit public opinion on key issues, and they want substantial proposals to be submitted to public review and scrutiny (85% of respondents). They also want civil society organisations to play a more meaningful role in the peace process, as long as those organisations themselves become more representative of the wider public (80% of Greek Cypriots, 78% of Turkish Cypriots).

Conclusions and Recommendations

The public (and civil society) need to be involved in a designing and reviewing proposals for a settlement, before any plan is submitted to referendum. This should include, but not be limited to an extensive use of participatory polling, the creation of online platforms to solicit public feedback on critical issues, as well as a generally more inclusive negotiation process, where civil society has a seat at the table, and discussions are open and transparent.

To this end, Cyprus 2015 advocates for a new approach to peace-making, which provides opportunities for public input and civil society involvement.

Redesigning the peace process must entail a diagnosis of the dynamics of public opinion. Political compromises will be a ‘hard sell’ to alienated and skeptical publics in the event of a referendum. Instead of neglecting citizens, the peace process must bring people on board in order to enhance the chances of mutual accommodation and understanding.


If you would like to promote further awareness then please consider printing out some stickers to share with your network. These can be purchased online in the form of blank sheets of A4 labels and printed on your own desktop printer. Please contact us for suitable label templates which you can customize to suit your needs.

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