SPAW: Cooperation and prevention “key” to the protection and saving of forests

The contribution of the Association for Protection and Development Hymettou (SPAH) in co-shaping the next day’s environmental agenda was at the center of discussions at the opening of the 2nd forum of SPAH on the theme “The Salvation Decalogue of Forests us – The next day”.

In the need to shield Hymettos in front of climate crisis was mentioned the regional governor of Attica Giorgos Patoulis. As he said, there is a great need to protect and highlight Hymettos as its environmental value is enormous.

In addition, Mr. Patoulis emphasized that the Region of Attica, through the EKPA and the Athens Observatory, drew up a plan for the master plan for the points that should be taken care of as they are particularly burdened due to the climate crisis. “The master plan is already in everyone’s ability to process it and make their strategies. In this context, ours is to create studies to carry out important projects in the 11 municipalities for better armoring and resilience”, emphasized Mr. Patoulis and added that what is important is “that we all have the same compass”.

Finally, Mr. Patoulis thanked the volunteers Civil Protection for the “universal work they offer”. “This forum now takes on the meaning of the Civil Protection institution. The Association managed to give substance to the importance of self-government”, he concluded.

Among other things, he mentioned the action of SPAH and the voluntary movement the head of Citizen Protection of KO SYRIZA Progressive Alliance and Member of Parliament for Eastern Attica, Christos Spirtzis. “We have proven both as a government and as an opposition, that our doors to self-government are open and have always been open, not depending on the colors that each mayor had and in terms of cooperation and in terms of support, but also funding. And I hope that in the final analysis the failed government will have shown such logic too”, he pointed out after congratulating SPAW for its action but also for the utilization and activation of the voluntary movement.”

As he said, the problem that self-government usually faces is “the lack of studies and mature projects”. “So, in my opinion, it is a great injustice that SPAW has submitted a specific program for Hymettos two years ago and it has not been approved,” he noted and added “it is a shame when “Antonis” Tritsis is running and when there is so much money for the civil protection from Europe that only 200 of the 1200 volunteers of the SPAW have received personal protective equipment”. “In Eastern Attica, they haven’t even received 200 because there is no corresponding SPAH to run things and on this I would like to ask the present ministers, and there is a cross-party consensus, as a state we must ensure that all volunteers have full equipment for their protection . We must also support the code of values ​​that they show in Greek society and their great social work”, underlined Mr. Spirtzis.

He then emphasized that it is necessary for associations such as SPAW to be institutionalized but also scientifically staffed and he added that an honest dialogue with the local government and associations like SPAW is needed to facilitate self-governing bodies to avoid bureaucratic procedures.

He described SPAW as a “small self-governing miracle”. the secretary of the central political committee of PASOK-KINAL, Andreas Spyropoulos. As he said, the protection and promotion of Hymettos is the primary purpose of this inter-municipal initiative. “We must highlight and preserve Hymettos for future generations by protecting this unique green lung where 10% of Greeks live. PASOK – Movement for Change is committed to always stand by the local government for the promotion of such promising initiatives”, underlined Mr. Spyropoulos and added: “The government cannot remain in the role of an observer. The state shows long delays. We have a duty to protect this green lung.”

“The work of SPAH could be a model and provide inspiration for similar initiatives throughout the country”, concluded Mr. Spyropoulos.

Kostas Synolakis, professor of Natural Disasters and president of the scientific committee for dealing with climate change in Greece, characterized the actions of SPAW as an example for the management of Hymettos.

“You have set an example not only for the management of Hymettos but also for how the country will be able to work on other parts of climate change as well,” he said and emphasized that what emerges from the work of SPAW is how important interoperability is .

“You are doing an amazing project. Congratulations,” he concluded.

“There is no civil protection without local self-government”, said Mr Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, Christos Stylianidis in the greeting he addressed at the start of the forum’s work, he added: “We are all here to prove the complementarity of the state apparatus with local government and volunteers.”

At the same time, regarding this year’s anti-fire season, Mr. Stylianidis said that competitions concerning vehicles and aerial vehicles have started and added that this year emphasis will be placed on uniforms.

Mr. Stylianidis separately referred to the innovative project of SPAH “Smart Ymittos” which, as he said, is “an outgrowth of the modern understanding of how technology helps civil protection”. “It’s a multi-tool. It needs trained people to use it,” he stressed, adding that it should be linked to the Crisis Management Coordination Center.

“All operations centers must end up in the National Crisis Management Coordination Center. There is the brain of the system and the orders will be given from there because only in this way can there be synergy, the cooperation of the Fire Department with the Local Self-Government and the volunteers”, he said characteristically and added that with the update of the AEGIS program the municipalities will receive 130 million euros for Civil Protection vehicles and tools.

“We are preparing through AEGIS the national database which will be evaluated by groups of scientists. In other words, there will be analysis, scientific documentation so that it ends up in the operational decision that will be taken by the operational executive body of the Fire Department. Then the absolute coordination will be possible. It is a big bet for us”, underlined Mr. Stylianidis.

At the same time, the minister emphasized that Civil Protection and the Climate Crisis do not have ideological characteristics. “Civil Protection has no ideology. From the beginning of my term, I say and I repeat that this ministry, it is good to be given as a national ministry beyond ideological and political confrontations, because that is the only way it will achieve its goal”, he noted.

“We need everyone. The state needs the aerial means, the Fire Department is needed. The Greek firefighter is perhaps the best in Europe. However, they would not be able to act effectively if it were not for the Local Government, if it were not for the mayors, the volunteers. We are all a fist”, Mr. Stylianidis concluded.

Takis Theodorikakos: “This effort is a huge challenge for the creation of a development model with perspective”

The Minister of Citizen Protection, Takis Theodorikakos, spoke about a huge challenge emerging through the development of Ymittos. “Himetos unites us. This effort is a huge challenge to create a development model that will have a perspective for all the residents of the area and at the same time will upgrade the environment. The challenge that always exists is that economic development goes hand in hand with the protection and upgrading of the environment. Ymittos is a landmark that enables young children not only to get to know nature, but also their history and destination”, emphasized Mr. Theodorikakos. Furthermore, he referred to the contribution of the Greek Police in dealing with and preventing disasters. “ELAS is always next to the Local Government, it is always next to the Fire Department, the volunteers, the society and the citizens because simply ELAS is a part of the society where, whenever it is needed, it helps in the task of dealing with disasters or preventing disasters. He is there and he does it selflessly and with a very strong will. We are part of yours, ours, common effort for the good of all citizens”, he pointed out.

Stelios Petsas: “For the first time an attempt at a coordinated plan against the climate crisis”

The Deputy Minister of the Interior, Stelios Petsas, referred to the actions taken by the Ministry of the Interior to assist the work of the SPAS and the local government. As he said, only in the last year and a half, 11.5 million euros have been given by the Antonis Tritsis program and he added that the next fundings are coming. “We fully support the decalogue you have adopted with our money. We think that for the first time there has been an attempt at a coordinated plan in order to bring the best results in the face of a climate crisis that torments us a lot”, noted Mr. Petsas.

Giorgos Amyras: “Ymittos is a matrix of biodiversity”

The Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy, Giorgos Amyras, referred to the cooperation of the Ministry of Environment and Energy with the Local Government and what is to be done from here on in Ymittos. “A fire protection plan for the Hymettos is being prepared for all acres. It is of great importance to us, it is a matrix of biodiversity. Ymittos has 650 different species of plants of which 65 are endemic, only there you find them. It has about 120 different species of birds, many species of reptiles, so it is an important guardian of biodiversity that we will protect and are protecting,” noted Mr. Amyras.

Regarding the actions taken for Ymittos, Mr. Amyras said: “We have established a basis for cooperation with the Local Self-Government. We collaborated with SPAW. SPAW had a study ready and the other day we signed a memorandum of cooperation to enter and clean Hymettos. We cleared an area of ​​2.5 thousand acres, removed the accumulated fuel with the help and supervision of the forest office and the employees of our forest office and SPAV. We opened 90 kilometers of forest roads. We removed arbitrary constructions and arranged the fire posts as well.”

Furthermore, Mr. Amyras referred to the cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the leadership of the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection as well as the ANTINERO program. “With absolute cooperation with the leadership of the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection we cleared 119 critical forest ecosystems of the country that we could not lose. We opened forest roads with a total length of 12,600 kilometers and fire zones of 2 thousand kilometers to facilitate the work of the Fire Service and local communities,” he noted.

Regarding Tatoi, Mr. Amyras said that after the devastating fire, 27,000 acres of the 45,000 acres have been logged for 14 months. “We removed about 300,000 burned pine trees and did anti-corrosion works 2.5 thousand kilometers,” he said and added: “From the royal tombs we had removed 800 burned trees since last August.”

Source: RES-MPE

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