This is the most critical decade to address key global environmental issues, which requires the transition of the economy and society to a sustainable future. In this context, the European Green Deal sets climate and environmental goals, but also the necessary steps, policies, and initiatives to achieve them. However, for such measures to be effectively implemented, the active participation of the citizens in the decision-making is necessary. Citizen participation requires, in addition to awareness and knowledge of environmental issues, the capacity, as well as the confidence, to participate in environmental governance processes.
In Greece, despite the number of universities that focus on or have departments related to the environment, but also law and policy, the participation of young citizens in environmental policy-making processes is limited. At the same time, while there are volunteer groups that are active in environmental protection, they focus on local actions, without being equally active in policy interventions. Therefore, the need to empower citizens to be actively involved in environmental governance is evident.
In order to fill this gap, the project ” Learn-Participate-Protect the environment” aims to promote, strengthen and shield the participation of citizens in processes related to the creation and implementation of environmental policies in Greece, with emphasis on climate crisis, biodiversity loss and plastic pollution.
The project aims to address the lack of citizen participation in the public through three central axes:
- inform citizens on these three environmental issues and policy developments related to them,
- train citizens on how to participate in policy-making,
- educate citizens on how to use mass media and promote volunteering.
The project will focus on people that already have the knowledge or interest in environmental issues, as their participation in environmental governance is estimated to have a major positive impact on preserving the environment and enhancing their long-term involvement in environmental governance However, baseline information on three selected environmental issues will be provided in order for all interested citizens to be able to participate!
The activities of the project consist of two cycles of educational activities that will include webinars and seminars (Autumn 2021 – Spring 2022 and Autumn 2022 – Winter 2023).
- 3 Introductory Webinars (Climate Crisis, Biodiversity Loss, Plastic Pollution),
- 4 Training Seminars (in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Volos, Xanthi, Mytilene, Heraklion, Zakynthos),
- 2 Training Webinars (Best use of mass media, good examples of volunteering & citizen interventions).
ACTIVE CITIZENS FUND
The project “ Learn-Participate-Protect the environment” is implemented within the Active citizens fund program, by iSea and its partner The Green Tank.
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.
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.
Bodossaki Foundation came into being in 1972 and works to promote its vision for a society of equal opportunities for all, which enables people to fully realise their potential. The Foundation has intimate knowledge of the non-profit public benefit sector in Greece. From its establishment to this day, it has allocated more than €450 million to furthering its causes, focusing on reducing disparities in opportunities, educating young people, and supporting socially vulnerable groups of the population.
See more in www.bodossaki.gr .
SolidarityNow was established in 2013. Through our initiatives and the services provided to the Greek, migrant, and refugee populations, we seek to restore the vision of a strong Europe based on solidarity and open society values. Our main objective is to support the most vulnerable members of our society indiscriminately, through innovative social actions. These programs focus on: a) responding to the ongoing refugee crisis, b) providing access to basic health services and food aid, c) defending, d) human rights and freedoms, and e) supporting the integration of minorities and vulnerable groups
See more in www.solidaritynow.org.