The Greek Ombudsman on the occasion of the World Environment Day

(Press Release, Athens, 5 June 2014)

Participating in the celebrations for the World Environment Day in its institutional capacity, the Greek Ombudsman focuses closely on the highly topical and crucial matter of the protection and management of the coastal zone. The recent publication of the Draft Bill on the delimitation and management of the coastal zone for the purpose of public consultation, in conjunction with the Draft Bills for the regulation of the possibility of state-owned property being purchased by private [legal or natural] persons and for the out-of-court settlement of property-related disputes between the State and private owners, justifies this Authority’s grave concern.

The risk of degrading the coastal environment through exhausting exploitation is inherent in the proposed regulations. The narrow and short-term conceptualisation of economic development increases the risk of damaging  coastal natural habitats, the already shrinking protected areas that are part of the Natura 2000 network, natural resources, the value of the landscape, and the quality of life.

The risks that arise from legislative policies that have been adopted over the last few years are: the creation of irreversible conditions, the degradation of the environment, and the erosion of natural habitats through the depletion of their productive capacity.

The present independent Authority, as it has pointed out in a recent special report and documents, as well as in older proposals (Annual Report 2005, p. 220; Annual Report 2004, p. 213 [both in Greek]) submitted to the ministers responsible [for these issues],  believes that it is imperative to manage the coastal zone in an environmentally sound manner and according to the principles of sustainable development. At the same time, having evaluated the recent legislative initiative, it highlights the potential risks and proposes that concrete criteria, procedures, or environmentally sound policies be adopted, so that the coastal environment can be protected and utilised and public property, as well as the citizens’legal rights, can be safeguarded.

The Greek Ombudsman, especially in the current economic and social circumstances, emphasises that safeguarding the citizens’ quality of life and respecting the preservation and protection of environmental goods, so that we don’t mortgage the natural legacy of the coming generations, is of the utmost importance.

For further information contact:

[Ms] Kallirroi Tzavara, tel. [+30]213 1306 610, mobile [+210]6979448887
[Mr] Petros Parayios, tel. [+30] 213 1306 625
[Ms] Demetria Papageorgopoulou, tel. [+30]213 1306 604