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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN GREECE

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POVERTY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Decision-making is undertaken by the Ministries of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works; Foreign Affairs, National Foundation of Emigrants; Health and Welfare, and the Workers' Housing Organization; and Directorate of Shelter, Policy and Housing.  Together they have implemented the following activities concerning the housing problem of impoverished groups: housing programmes for the homeless and poor, for gypsies, minorities and emigrants; and remodeling of low quality habitation areas.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In Greece, Legislative degree 57/1973 addresses Measures for the Social Protection of Economically Needy People. Legislation on minimum pensions and mixed social pensions has also been issued.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status 

There is no official or commonly accepted definition of an absolute poverty line. However, the country has adopted the definition of relative poverty accepted by European Union (EU) countries. Associated with matters related to poverty are problems of social exclusion. The latter is defined as alienation from one or more of the following mechanisms: the labor market, social or other informal support networks, state unemployment benefits, retraining programmes, etc.

Social exclusion is considered a limited phenomenon in Greece, both because the processes of economic restructuring and modernization are occurring at a slow pace and because the informal support networks, mainly family networks, are functioning satisfactorily.

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies

No information is available 

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

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This information was provided by the Government of Greece to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

In Greece, the Ministry of National Economy, especially the Department of Population and Employment and the Department of Social Policy, is responsible for demographic issues. The National Statistical Service and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Social Security are also involved. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

The Law for Equality promotes women's participation in decision-making.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available 

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

A National debate has been held on linkages between population and environment. Women's organizations and the media have been included.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

Information on Greek demographics was provided to the Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

Greece has participated in international demographic conferences held by the European Union, the European Council, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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This information was provided by the Government of Greece to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Health and Welfare is responsible for protecting and promoting human health in Greece. The Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works is also involved. Several laws have been enacted to reduce health risks from smoking. The Government of Greece focuses on fulfilling basic health care needs and on balancing regional inequalities in social health services. Special emphasis is given to the development of telemedicine, the development of computer science in hospitals, cardiology, the operation of a National Blood Donation Center, and the modernization of blood donation services.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The Operational Environmental Programme of Greece recognizes the close link between health and environment. Action Programme 2.4 aims at protecting the human, anthropogenic, and natural environment from industrial accidents. Upon its completion, the requirements of the SEVESO Directive will be fully met. It should be mentioned that the aim of the Programme is also to make the residents in nearby areas aware of the operational plans for the management of environmental hazards once these occur. The overall budget for the Action Programme is 5 MECU. Specific actions include: the development of mobile stations for the monitoring of dangerous substances; public awareness campaigns; programmes for the implementation of SEVESO Directive Action Plans in the event of an accident and technical support to local and regional authorities; promotion of the "eco-audit" scheme; land use planning in the vicinity of industrial areas; specialized equipment for Fire Services; and creation of a training unit for major industrial accidents.

Action Programme 2.6 of the Operational Environmental Programme of Greece is two fold. It aims on the one hand to improve environmental conditions in major energy production units in Greece, especially with respect to atmospheric pollution. On the other hand, the programme aims at promoting the Charter Healthy Cities through pilot programmes and technical interventions at the urban scale. The overall budget for this is 9 MECU. All types of primary health care are offered free of charge to all citizens. Provision is made, inter alia, for social care, school health, dental health, and family planning. The Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works has initiated controls on the use of building materials, in order to mitigate the syndrome of "unhealthy buildings". Levels of pollutant emissions are being set and environmentally friendly construction materials are being promoted.

A programme, aimed at reducing urban noise and related health risks is being implemented. The noise abatement programme in major Greek cities attempts to reduce noise through such actions as periodic inspections for motor vehicles/motorcycles and major industrial installations, the construction of noise protective barriers along major highways, the promotion of noise insulation materials in buildings, and the promotion of the so-called "quiet products". Pilot projects have been implemented and research projects on the psycho-social issues of noise are being carried out.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

A public awareness campaign has been carried out concerning the recommendations of the European Code against Cancer, which aims at reducing deaths from cancer by 15% by the year 2000. The Ministry of Health and Welfare implements a de-aluminization programme to reduce the exposure of people to aluminium and reduce renal diseases. In order to develop control of contagious diseases, the following activities have been proposed: the promotion of hepatitis-B vaccination; the implementation of an anti-malaria programme; a measles vaccination programme; a tuberculosis vaccination programme; and raising awareness on HIV/AIDS and increasing funds for the rehabilitation of patients.

The programmes Europe against Cancer and Greece against Cancer have contributed to inform the public about cancer, to create awareness, and to improve health personnel training. Research on cancer is being promoted and encouraged. Health training is provided inter alia to young parents, teachers, and students at all grades.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies

No information is available 

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Greece to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In Greece, the Ministry of Education is responsible for promoting education. Framework Law 1566/85 provides legislation for this sector. Laws 1892/90 & 1946/91 also provide for environmental education in schools of primary and secondary education. These laws establish the control of those responsible for environmental education programmes all over the country, aiming at the development of environmental programmes and of a decentralized network of local environmental education promotion units.

Furthermore, environmental education operates under the framework of Ministerial Decrees and circulars that are published by the education directorates of the Ministry of Education. These instruments cover cooperation with other bodies, the coordination of the work of those responsible for environmental education programmes, and the promotion of environmental education.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Systematic cooperation has been established with major environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Goulandri Museum of Natural History, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, and Greenpeace through special pedagogical environmental education pilot projects. The Ministry of Education also cooperates with local authorities for both the elaboration of environmental education programmes and the operation of Environmental Education Centers. The Ministry of Education places great importance on its cooperation with environmental NGOs, who in turn contribute with the presentation of several projects to the public, the production of related material, etc. Finally, the Ministry cooperates with Greenpeace under the framework of the Green Teams programme, and with the Greek Society for the Protection of Nature on the Ecological Schools programme.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Seven Environmental Education Centers have been established where students participate in special environmental education programmes (Ministerial Decree G2/3219). One thousand four hundred projects on environmental education have been implemented voluntarily in schools of secondary education, and another 1,300 in those of primary education.

To increase public awareness, the Ministry of Education (Environmental Education Office) has supported "days of action" in schools for the European Campaign for the Nature Conservation Year and to demonstrate their projects in National exhibitions (for example, Heleco 1995), in TV and radio programmes, and in local community festivals. The Environmental Education Centers undertake short campaigns on local environmental problems in cooperation with local authorities. Public Awareness is raised through: a) environmental education programmes presented at the end of each school year to the public; and b) establishment of Centers for Environmental Education, where adult training programmes take place, and where the interested parties get to participate and reach a common action plan, so that local problems concerning environment and sustainable development can be confronted efficiently through cooperation with the active local population.

The Ministry of Education has a programme for environmental training. Environmental Education Centers organize special environmental education training programmes for employees, community organizations, teachers etc. Environmental education is part of the basic education received at university, and in introductory and continuous education seminars. Training of this kind lasts three months and takes place at the Regional Educational Centers.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

During the school year 1995-1996, the programmes of environmental education carried out in primary education schools were financed with 63,210,000 drachmas while those for secondary education with 212,000,000 drachmas.

Cooperation  

No information is available

   

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This information was provided by the Government of Greece to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works is mainly responsible for the implementation of sustainable human settlements in Greece.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Urban planning is mainly based on legislation from the early 1980s. The Law on Urban Development (1983) introduced "urban controlled zones" to direct urban development, safeguard sensitive areas, and stop unplanned construction.

Provision is made for relevant reform of town-planning legislation according to sustainable development principles for the development of newly built up areas, and the improvement of the institutional framework and procedures. The regulatory framework on energy-efficient design of buildings is being updated under the General Building Regulation. Bioclimatic-energy design of buildings and settlements is being promoted, as well as the use of renewable energy sources. Legislative instruments encourage technology and methods for energy and water conservation. Legislative and administrative measures have been adopted for the protection of people living in disaster-prone industrial areas.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Regional Plans of Counties (1984) provide for land-use organization, infrastructure planning, and environmental protection. Master Plans have been developed for metropolitan areas. Special Regional Studies have been carried out in areas with environmental problems to address gaps in the legislative framework. Greece has signed the Aalborg Charter for the implementation of Local Agenda 21s.

The National Action Plan for Cities and Housing (1996-2000) aims fundamentally at the fullest possible positive response of Greece to two main objectives: the creation of cities which provide safe, healthy, equal, and sustainable living conditions and the guarantee of adequate housing for all. The National Action Plan establishes the following sectors for action to respond to these objectives:

Policies and measures under the National Action Plan for Cities and Housing are promoting the reorganization of the system of housing subsidies; social and economic integration and housing for refugees and economic immigrants; projects for community development and upgrading according to the model introduced by the EU pilot programmes to combat poverty; and provision of housing for special disadvantaged categories of people.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The Government supports the involvement of local groups and organizations in the sector of social and cultural services, and welfare at the level of the local community. This includes encouragement of local government initiatives for the improvement of social infrastructure and transport systems; support of relevant local initiatives by non-governmental bodies for the implementation of the National Action Plan; special programmes for loans to employees of the State, local government, and public organizations; special programmes of the Workers' Housing Organization for the provision of subsidized housing for low and middle-income workers; special housing programmes for immigrants of Greek origin from the former Soviet Union; and special assistance for housing of families with more than three children.

Programmes and Projects 

Action Programmes 4.2 and 4.3, and the special programmes included in the Operational Environmental Programme of Greece are relevant to sustainable settlements. Action Programme 4.2 aims at the definition of urban plans for cities which lack relevant plans, as well as for the improvement of existing urban plans in light of modifications in the urban structure and the operations of the city. Considerable emphasis is given to the development of urban plans for estates located in ecologically sensitive areas, coastal zones, and islands. The overall budget for Action Programme 4.2 is 24.5 MECU.

Action Programme 4.3 aims at improving urban conditions in selected Greek cities, traditional settlements, and tourist sites in order to improve the quality of life, and living and working conditions. In addition, this programme is part of a wider National Programme for the restoration of the urban environment in selected Greek cities (see also Special Programmes below). The overall budget of Action Programme 4.3 is 35 MECU.

Specific actions under the Operational Environmental Programme include: restoration of traditional city centers; restoration of the landscape in areas of large technical works; and reduction of aesthetic pollution with emphasis given to tourist sites.

Special Programmes under the Operational Environmental Programme include:

Status 

No information is available

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

Capacity-building and technology issues are supported by open dialogue between agencies and the public, and information dissemination through professional journals, the press, and informative leaflets for the preparation of the National Report submitted to Habitat II. In addition, a Nationwide competition "for models of policy and programme implementation for improving the quality of the local urban environment and housing through specific projects" was used as a method of publicizing the activity of the National Committee and prepare the country for participation in the Habitat II Conference. Training of local government officials and mobilizing the interest of the local population in promoting the National Action Plan are also completed.

Information

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing 

The fiscal priorities for housing policy are to reform the system of subsidies and to support innovative efforts to reduce the cost of new housing; reform the system of financing (public investment, subsidies, local taxes) for infrastructure works and securing public spaces in newly built-up areas; and providing financial incentives to promote new technologies and systems of application of soft forms of energy.

Cooperation

In terms of regional and international cooperation, Greece participates in the structures and programmes of the EU, in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) working groups, and in committees and working groups of the UN, for example the Center for Human Settlements and the Committee for Housing, Building and Planning of the Economic Commission for Europe. In cooperation with the UN Committee of Human Settlements, a Colloquium on Urban Management was held in 1995. In the same year, a seminar was held on Sustainable Development of Human Settlements. A Greek National Committee, set up by the Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works prepared the National Report submitted to the Habitat II Conference (June 1996). Greece participated in the European Ministerial Conference "Sustainable Building - Sustainable Cities" (Copenhagen); the European Architectural Competition Programme (EUROPAN) which has as a theme the current problems of urban areas and the promotion of sustainable solutions; and the proceedings of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and the two European Conferences for Sustainable Cities and Towns. The Organization for Planning and Environmental Protection of Athens is an associate member of "Metropolis", the World Association of the Major Metropolises. The same organization is a member of the European Metropolitan Regions Network (METREX's Interim Management Committee).

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Greece to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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