12/02/2018

A new starting point for the protection of nature in Greece

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The adoption of the bill on protected areas is an important milestone for the protection of the nature of the country, stressed by environmental organizations. What matters now is the way it is implemented, which will also determine its effectiveness.

From this day, Greece has a new framework for the management of its protected areas, as mentioned by the environmental organizations Arcturos, ARCHELON, MedSOS, Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (eepf), Hellenic Ornithological Society, Prespa Preservation Society, Callisto, Ecological Recycling Company (ecorec), ΑΝΙΜΑ, MEDASSET, MOm and WWF Hellas. By law "Protected Areas Management Entities and Other Provisions" adopted yesterday by the majority of the Parliament, a big pending about the architecture and structure of the national system of protected areas of the country seems at least formally to be settled.

Placements of speakers and party speakers, the remarks of Members and the changes brought by the Ministry of the Environment itself have improved the bill. Consequently, the 36 management bodies created will be called upon to play an active role in the design and effective management of their areas of responsibility while the Ministry of Environment explicitly takes over the central role of supporting and coordinating the national system of protected areas, but also of the Nature Committee 2000, and of ensuring the necessary resources (human and financial).

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There is doubt as to whether improvements really ensure the management of protected areas, which have not been designated as Natura 2000 sites, since provisions that set out their alternative management schemes are abolished.

Finally, the fact that the same law attempting to set new fundamentals for nature protection, causes at the same time weakening of the protective provisions for forests and woodlands in protected areas, by legalizing illegal ski resorts, camping, and even excavating forests by defending the farm and paving the way for infrastructure projects in forest areas of particular ecological interest.

Environmental organizations point out that with the bill being passed, the country is entering a new period to protect biodiversity. It is mainly at the discretion of the Ministry of the Environment to demonstrate that it wants the new system to work effectively, and that all the actors involved should use this new tool. Environmental organizations highlight that they will continue to contribute to making the National Protected Area system operational at some point, and the protection of nature is effective.

See the organizations' placements on the bill:

Against the consultation process (November 2017): http://www.wwf.gr/news/2034-thetika-stoixeia-alla-kai-provlimatismos-gia-to-nomosxedio-tou-ypen

On the announcement of the draft law (19th of January 2018): http://www.wwf.gr/news/2054-thetika-stoixeia-alla-kai-entoni-anisyxia-gia-tis-prostatevomenes-perioxes

In the process of processing in the Production and Commerce Committee (25th of January 2018): http://www.wwf.gr/images/pdfs/2018Jan25_Nomos_FDPP_NGOs.pdf

More information:

Spyros Psaroudas, General Coordinator - Director Callisto, 2310-252530, line. 3 Panos Stefanou, Contact person, Arcturos, 6977 415873 Konstantina Demiri, Environmental Policy Officer, Hellenic Ornithological Society, 210 822 8704 Angela Klauschen, Director, MEDASSET, 210-3640389 Ioli Christopoulou, Environmental Policy Officer, WWF Greece, 210-3314893

(translation: Savvas Stylianakis)

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