The APE-MPE review presents the most important interventions from the past year, which have the potential to stigmatize the environment policy of RIS.
“Although some interventions report could not give an accurate picture of the ministry’s past work, the environmental objectives were of high priority, urgent and planning has a time horizon of ten year,” says Konstantinos Arabosis, Secretary General of Natural Environment and Water in APE-MPE.
He emphasizes that: “In the recent years, environmental destruction and the climate crisis has intensified substantially and it was realized, that if immediate steps are not taken, then the situation will be irreversible.”
He explains that RIS’s policies are designed to deliver immediate and positive results in everyday life, thereby enhancing the country’s sustainability.
“It’s crucial that we succeed in our work in order for the country be led to a sustainable new era of green, sustainable, and climate-neutral development for the benefit of all,” APE-MPEo was told by the secretary general. .
1. Climate law
Climate law covers both mitigation (i.e. the path to climate neutrality) and adaptation (i.e. increasing resilience to climate changes). The law sets the intermediate climate targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the years 2030 and 2040, and the final goal of achieving a zero emission balance by 2050. It includes the monitoring and creation of “budgets” in energy, heat, transport and industry. They will be equal to the national carbon buget.
It is clear that the reduction of fossil fuel dependence is possible with the closing of all lignite plant by 2028 at latest, an increase in the share of RES and measures for buildings, vehicles, environmental licensing, etc.
The model for climate governance is also identified with the establishment a government committee to monitor progress towards climate neutrality and a Scientific Committee on Climate Change with advisory role. A National Council on Climate Change Adaptation is also established. A Climate Observatory will be established to manage climate data. The Climate Dialogue Forum will also be created, with the participation and consultation of representatives from municipalities, regions, universities environmental NGOs, businesses professional organizations, trade unions, and businesses. .
The nation’s proposal for a national climate law marks a major shift in the direction of a model of sustainable, just, cyclical, and green development. This new model aims to protect the environment, planet, and human well being.
2. Forests – Transfer of Forest Services To RIS – Establishment of the Institution of Rehabilitation and Reforestation
The transfer of Forest Services from the Decentralized Services into RIS is a significant and profound change. This is done under the supervision of the General Directorate of Forests, which is responsible for the formulation of a National Forest Policy to promote, utilize, and protect forests. and the Natural Environment. The goal is to improve organization and operation of forest service operations. The transfer of forest services allows for the best coordination with decentralized services. The combination of the new legislation, which allows the forest service to outsource projects much more quickly, and the newly established Rehabilitation and Reforestation Contractor is a decisive step in adapting the forest ecosystems for the challenges of climate changing. With RIS decisions, asphalt-covered areas are no longer considered forest. There will soon be initiatives to resolve property disputes that have arisen in areas not subject to the presumption or public ownership, such as Crete or the Dodecanese.
3. Forest Maps
A reliable representation of forest and reforestable zones creates a framework for land usage throughout the country. This will increase economic activity and, in particular, attract investment. The CoC made two decisions (1364 and 1365/2021), stating that Article 48 of Law 4685/2020 relating to approved forest maps is in compliance with the Constitution. The process of posting forest maps continues to be completed in order for their ratification.
4. Roadmap for the circular economics
Another important contribution of the GGFPY is the New Action Plan for the Circular Economy. This plan, which was approved by the cabinet, consists of 71 actions that have a horizon length of five years and aims to increase the recycling and reduce hazardous chemicals. Plastics, batteries, and vehicles are given priority.
5. Some disposable plastics can be reduced.
Law 4736/2020, which included Directive 904/2019 concerning the reductions of certain disposable products on National Law, prohibited the supply of 1 particular category of disposable plastic products by entities starting 2021 February 10, and the entire country from the 1st July. The goal is to reduce plastic pollution for all recipients, and especially in the marine environment.
6. Modernization of the framework for environmental inspections
The framework for environmental inspections has been completely reformed and modernized. This is to comply with environmental legislation. Fines will be increased on a case-by–case basis. The draft PD is complete. This allows for the participation and monitoring of specialized individuals to ensure the environmental protection and strengthen environmental inspections. The activation of a Register of Environmental Auditors will allow for more thorough environmental control of projects and activities, and to the implementation of European Directive on regular environmental inspections. It will also ensure the scientific and professional competence of Environmental Auditors as well as transparency.
7. Review of Flood Risk Management Plans and Review of River Basin Plans
GGFPY is currently working on the 1st revision of the Flood Risk Management Plans for the country’s Water Departments as well as the 2nd revision of the River Basin Management Plans. It has received European funding of 10.000.000 Euros for the development of all the Plans. The review will be completed by 2022. This project is especially important as floods are expected increase in the next years. Integrated and sustainable water resource management is essential to protect the aquatic environment from the many and ongoing pressures resulting from climate change.
8. OFYPEKA Operation- Attachment of Protected Areas Management Units
The reform of the management of protected areas, which began with Law 4685/2020 and was completed by the Organization of Natural Environment and Climate Change. At the moment, the transition from 36 existing Management Bodies of Protected Areas is being completed to 24 new Management Units. These will be under the supervision of OFYPEKA. The National Printing Office will issue relevant decisions for the first 6 bodies. Meanwhile, the decisions for other Management Units will be made. The new management system for protected areas will solve the long-standing problems in the operation of the Boards of Directors of Management Bodies.
APE-MPE was informed by Mr. Aravosis: “So far we have made significant progress, however there are still many issues in planning that are being processed, consulted, or are expected to be finalized in near future.”
It should be noted that the General Secretariat of Natural Environment (RIS) has a large portfolio. This allows it to handle issues related to natural environment, biodiversity, climate, air, quality, and acoustic.
It also has the responsibility of assessing and controlling the environmental impacts of projects, facilities, or projects through the exercise of the Environmental Licensing Process, the Environmental, Energy, and Mine Inspection, and the coordination of environmental Damage Management.