Landscape is a part of our everyday lives and is recognized by the European Landscape Convention (ELC), ratified by the Greece in 2010 (Law 3827), as a common resource that affects the well-being and quality of life of citizens. The landscapes that we experience are a result of change, produced by the interactions of various stakeholders with the environment in highly varied ways and on differing scales of time and space. Therefore, public participation is considered a crucial factor for the formulation of coherent landscape policies and for effective landscape management.
In Greece to date, there is neither a comprehensive strategy for landscape management nor appropriate institutional tools for citizen participation. The result is both fragmentation of landscape management through various sectoral policies and a top-down approach that excludes from the process the people who interact the most with the landscape.
Through its national level activities and the work undertaken in its two pilot sites -Prespa and Messinia- the Landscape Public Participation Tools project aims to:
• increase awareness on landscape and the processes that affect them.
• facilitate people and organizations to assess aspects of the landscape and increase their capacity to make decisions regarding its management.
• highlight pathways for public participation at various levels of decision making and regarding the policies that affect our everyday landscapes.
More specifically, the project objectives will be achieved through the following actions:
Assessment of the existing situation on landscape management
We will assess the implementation of the European Landscape Convention and status of landscape management in Greece so that we can map and asses the current institutional framework.
Creation of a toolbox for public participation
We will assess existing tools for public participation and will adjust them for the purposes of landscape management in Greece. We will focus on tools for landscape change, landscape character and landscape values
Work with the community
We will work with communities on two levels. At the local level, through involvement of the local community in landscape assessment and landscape quality objectives in two areas, Prespa Lakes and Messinia, using public participation tools from the toolbox.
Promote solutions for public participation
We will engage in a dialogue with authorities to advocate for the enhancement of public participation processes in policies that affect the landscape. In the Prespa pilot site we will develop a set of proposals for instruments and measures on landscape management in the area that will reflect the aspirations of the local community. At the national level we will consult with the competent authorities that implement such policies.
Create a pro-active approach for landscape management
Through the LPPT we hope to facilitate public participation and allow the recording of the aspirations of the local community in landscape management which can provide a framework of what people expect for the future of their landscape. This pro-active approach can guide future development and implementation of national policies, avoid conflicts and protect the local cultural and natural characteristics of landscapes.
The first workshop “Prespa’s landscape over the years” was held in Laimos (July 2021) with participants from the local community and local authorities. At the national level through a survey of needs and practices of civil society organizations involved in actions for landscape protection.
The project “Landscape Public Participation Tools – LPPT” is implemented by MedINA and Society for the protection of Prespa (SPP), in collaboration with Captain Vassilis and Carmen Constantakopoulos Foundation in the framework of the Active citizens fund program.
The Active citizens fund in Greece is supported through a € 12m grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as part of the EEA Grants 2014 – 2021. The program aims to develop the sustainability and capacity of the civil society sector in Greece, and to strengthen its role in promoting and safeguarding democratic procedures, active citizenship and human rights. The Fund Operator for the Active citizens fund in Greece is Bodossaki Foundation in consortium with SolidarityNow.
More information: www.activecitizensfund.gr/en/
About the EEA Grants:
Τhe EEA Grants are jointly financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The EEA Grants are available to the 13 EU member countries that joined the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) in 2004, 2007 and 2013 as well as Greece and Portugal. The decision-making body of the EEA Grants is the Financial Mechanism Committee, which is composed of representatives of the Foreign Ministries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
More information: www.eeagrants.org & www.eeagrants.gr
The Bodossaki Foundation is one of the most respected privately-owned public benefit organizations in Greece. The Foundation is the culminating point of its founder’s brilliant course in life and remains the carrying vessel of the values and ideas that he faithfully served throughout his eventful life. The Foundation was established in 1972 by Prodromos – Bodossakis Athanassiades who decided to donate his entire fortune to support health care, equal opportunities, quality in education, scientific progress and environmental protection. The Foundation has a deep knowledge of social needs in Greece and has administered so far more than €450m supporting its causes.
The Bodossaki Foundation also supports NGOs working with socially vulnerable groups and has lately set the strengthening of civil society as one of its primary objectives. Since 2013 it administers the regranting facilities of the EEA Grants for civil society in Greece.
More information: www.bodossaki.gr/en/
SolidarityNow (SN) is a non-governmental organization established in 2013 to respond to the needs, and advocate for the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, indiscriminately. SN’s Headquarters are in Athens, with large operations in Thessaloniki and activities across the country. The organization’s vision is to improve people’s lives and to empower them to create a just and inclusive society. SN’s actions fall under three main strategic priorities: a) Promoting safety and protection; b) Catalyzing livelihoods opportunities; c) Strengthening the independence of civil society and defending open society values. SN has supported 300,000 people to date, both through direct project implementation and through regranting programmes. Through its regranting initiatives, SN has supported 73 different programs and provided a total funding of € 14.4M to support Greek civil society organizations.
More information: www.solidaritynow.org/en/