MIO-ECSDE’s Greek member organizations Elliniki Etairia (ELET), Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS), Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (HSPN), the Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles (MEDASSET) and the World-Wide Fund for Nature – Greece (WWF Greece) released last September, a joint announcement on the floods, extended heatwaves and fires that ravaged Greece in 2023 as the country struggles on the front lines of climate reality.

The joint announcement came in response to the tragic summer that witnessed, within just 3 months, from July to September 2023, many devastating wildfires and floods resulting in losses in lives and biodiversity as well as immeasurable impacts on agricultural land and infrastructure. The statement highlights the ineffectiveness of the national strategy that focuses largely on boosting a firefighting force rather than preventing the occurrence of wildfires. In the joint announcement, the Greek organizations advocate, as a key priority, for the redesign of policies and measures aiming at strengthening the country’s ecological, social, and economic resilience in the face of the new climate reality.

More specifically, the announcement calls for the following:

  • Planning the restoration of important water systems (rivers, wetlands, floodplains, riparian forests) and their vital flood regulation services throughout the country.
  • Shifting the emphasis from tackling to preventing forest fires through transparent and participatory national planning for integrated forest management.
  • Integration of river basin/catchment management and flood management plans, that take into account extreme climate disaster scenarios.
  • Complete, land use and urban planning and abolish illegal construction which weakens the country’s prospects for climate resilience.
  • Immediate and definitive cessation of all planning for the diversion of Acheloos River which would only have exacerbated the already dramatic flood disaster in the Thessaly region.
  • Full compliance with the EU nature protection legislation, and the immediate adoption of the Presidential Decrees for all Natura 2000 sites and relevant conservation and management measures.

The joint announcement can be found, in Greek, here.

Read the article in French here