The LIFE ElClima & the LIFE Natura Themis (http://www.lifethemis.eu/) projects have recently signed a declaration of cooperation with the aim of exchanging knowledge, as well as disseminating their results to the general public.
The LIFE Natura Themis (LIFE14/GIE/GR/000026: “Promoting awareness of wildlife crime prosecution and liability for biodiversity damage in NATURA 2000 areas in Crete”) is a five years’ project, aiming to promote environmental crime prosecution within NATURA 2000 areas in Crete, Greece. The project is addressed to Judges, State Prosecutors, Lawyers, NGOs, administrative authorities with interrogative competencies and the lay public.
Coordinating Beneficiary of the project is the University of Crete – Natural History Museum of Crete (UoC – NHMC) and Associated Beneficiaries are: Greek Ministry of Environment & Energy – Coordination Office for the Implementation of Environmental Liability (YPEN – COIEL), the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Natura (HSPN), the Bar Association of Chania (CB) and the Bar Association of Heraklion (HB).
The need to implement the aforementioned project arose after finding that prosecutors and interrogative authorities are not familiar with the competencies and the protection status of the protected areas.
Key objectives of the “LIFE Natura Themis” project are:
- Awareness of relevant authorities that the environmental crime is a separate field of criminal law and there is individual responsibility for preventing and remedying environmental damage.
- The capacity building of interrogative clerks in preventing and effectively prosecuting environmental crime and taking on the best possible compensation for damage to the environment.
- The documentation that the correct application of environmental law promotes local development and social cohesion, as well as ensures the rational use of natural resources.
- The awareness of inhabitants of NATURA 2000 sites about the illegal activity in their areas, which affects local development, social cohesion and economic prosperity.
The implementation of these objectives is based on the primary data that have already gathered in cooperation with the competent authorities, through the two Environmental Law Observatories in East Crete and West Crete, respectively. The data is available to the public on the official website of the project. The environmental crime map and the interrogation authorities’ guides intend to facilitate the planning and the conducting of criminal prosecution.