ESDN | European Sustainable Development Network
You are here: Home > Country profiles > Single country profile
spacer

Single country profile

  Greece

Content:

Select another country from the
pull-down menu to view the
respective SD strategy features:

 

Basic information

Year of approval of the
SD strategy and updates

The first NSDS was adopted by the Council of Ministers in 2002. The second NSDS was prepared in 2007 and had been partially implemented till 2009.  Since 2009 when  “ the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change” (MEECC), was established, the political priorities for Greece, throughout the whole Government structure, have been set under the overarching objective of “Green Growth”. Since 2010 when the economic difficulties has been increased due to the financial crisis,  until today Greece’s overarching political strategic objective, remains that of “Green Growth”, taking into account the constraints and obligations arising from the structural reform.

 

In the framework of this structural reform for more efficient and effective public administration, a new  organisation chart of the Ministry is in force, aiming at enhancing the sustainable management of environmental sector through the  improvement of the  horizontal coordination at the central level, optimization of human resources management, promotion of administrative efficacy and decentralisation of responsibilities, modernization, rationalization and adaptation to international and EU  standards.

Type of SD strategy

NSDS aims at covering all three dimensions of SD.

Lead ministry/institution in
the SD strategy process

Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (2002-2009)

Ministry of Finance (2009-2014)

Link to the SD strategy
document

National Strategy for Sustainable Development (2002) (English executive summary)

Further information about
the SD strategy process

Greek National Profile 2004 (Commission on SD, United Nations)

Greek National Profile 2006 (Commission on SD, United Nations) 

Greek National Profile 2008 (Commission on SD, United Nations)

Greek National Profile 2011  (Commission on SD, United Nations)

First National Report on implementing the EU SDS

 

-- Back to overview --

National Implementation of 2030 Agenda for SD

Greece, after a preparatory phase for setting up the required governance structure that will undertake the responsibility of coordinating efforts, at national level, for the implementation of the SDGs, is currently “adapting” the SDGs to national priorities and circumstances.

§ Given that all SDGs are equal, interlinked and need to be addressed holistically, Greece’s general objective is to benefit from the opportunity that the SDGs provide, in order to revisit the country’s overall development perspectives from a sustainable and more balanced point of view, through an “SDGs lens”, while improving policy coherence for sustainable development and promoting new win-win-win opportunities for the country.

 

 

Leading Ministry and
respective unit

 

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

Other ministries involved

 

All line / thematic Ministries of the government. Special burden falls on the Ministry of Environment and Energy as is thematically involved in the majority of SDGs (e.g. more than 7 out of the overall 17 SDGs)  

§ Regarding the governance scheme for coordinating national efforts to implement the SDGs, since December 2016 following a decision by the Greek Prime Minister, the task has been allocated by Law, adopted by the Hellenic Parliament, to the General Secretariat of the Government (GSG), with emphasis on enhancing inter-ministerial coordination, given the fact that the GSG is a permanent structure well positioned, standing close to the political leadership of the country (inter alia  Governmental Council of  Economic Policy,  Governmental Council of Social Policy etc), indicating commitment at the highest level, as well as close to the public administration and all line Ministries for law making issues, ensuring the continuity of efforts. Moreover, it works closely and on a daily basis with the Hellenic Parliament on legislative and regulatory issues and coordinates the legislative work of the whole government. Thus, the GSG is capable of ensuring a whole-of-government approach, reducing silos across thematic policies from the design to implementation, ensuring coherence and cooperating directly with all governmental bodies and line Ministries.

§ In parallel, the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to be responsible for the external dimension of our national efforts while the Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy is “thematically/technically” responsible for the implementation of 7 out of the overall 17 SDGs (i.e. 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14 partly and 15) with past experience on the matter being the national Focal Point for the UNCSD for around 20 years (1992-2002).

§ Under the coordination of the General Secretariat of the Government (GSG), an “Inter-ministerial Coordination Network for SDGs” with representatives from all line Ministries, was officially re-established in December 20016 to oversee and steer national efforts for the implementation of the SDGs at national level and in particular, as a first urgent initial step, to undertake the completion of a mapping / gap analysis exercise by all Ministries.

§ The above mentioned mapping exercise has been completed by all Ministries in February 2017 in order to explore the existing and missing policy instruments for SDGs implementation in Greece. The Ministries identified which goals and targets they are covering and by which policies and measures. The measures vary from national and EU legislation to sectoral or thematic strategies and action plans, as well as implementation of the international agreements and commitments. This exercise resulted in compiling all relevant policies and measures that are still missing, indicating the state-of-play and budgetary status, and analysing areas of insufficient action or potential for cross-sectoral co-operation. Moreover, all Ministries had to rank and prioritise all SDG targets under their competences according to their existing priorities and on-going work, from 0 (little emphasis / priority) to 3 (high priority target for Greece).  

§ This overall analysis and mapping resulted in defining 8 overarching National Priorities for Greece linked to the SDGs and in line with the overall Government priorities that should be pursued through our national efforts for adapting the SDGs to national circumstances. These are:

1.       Promotion of a competitive, innovative and sustainable economic growth (SDGs 8,9)

2.       Promotion of full employment and decent work for all (SDGs 8,4),

3.       Addressing poverty and social exclusion and promote universal access to quality health care services (SDGs 1, 2, 3, 8, 10),

4.       Reduction of social and regional inequalities and ensuring equal opportunities for all (SDGs 10, 5, 4, 8, 1, 3, 11, 16),

5.       Promotion of a high quality and inclusive education for all (SDG 4),

6.       Strengthen the protection and sustainable management of the natural capital as a base for social development/prosperity  and  transition to a low-carbon economy (SDGs 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15),

7.       Building of effective, accountable and transparent institutions / institutional mechanisms (SDGs 16, 17),

8.       Strengthen and promote open, participatory and democratic processes (SDGs 16, 17).

§ The above-mentioned National Priorities along with the mapping/gap analysis exercise regarding the SDGs are going to be further discussed and reviewed by the Parliament in the context of the elaboration and evaluation of the National Implementation Action Plan on SDGs scheduled for 2019.

 

 

Main contact point for the
implementation process

 

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

Links to main websites/
documents on national
implementation of the
2030 Agenda and SDGs

 

http://www.mfa.gr/exoteriki-politiki/pagkosmia-zitimata/stokhoi-biosimes-anaptuxes.html

§ In this abovementioned overall context, the National Development Strategy of Greece which is currently going though the final stages of elaboration, has been made “SDG aware” by including references and operational linkages to the SDGs, and vice versa as the Strategy will serve as the basis and strategic framework the implementation of the SDGs at national level.

§ Moreover, there is an effort and intention to make all programmes and strategies “SDG aware” through the involvement of the GSG both in law-making, generally in Greece, and recently in the implementation of the SDGs. This involvement can ensure greater coherence in legislation and addressing of trade-offs from the policy design phase, right from the start, so that the legislation that is enacted / institutionalised as well as the various national programmes and strategies adopted,  thereinafter, can be complementary and aligned to the principles and objectives of Agenda 2030.

§ Greece will be going through the VNR process in New York during the HLPF, next year, in July 2018. To this end, Greece, through the “Inter-ministerial Coordination Committee” and under the leading of the General Secretariat of the Government, national preparations for the drafting of the National VNR Report have already started: the outline of the Report has been agreed by all Ministries and now all Ministries are in the process of providing their inputs to the actual elaboration of the Report.

§ The plan is to submit a draft of the VNR Report to the Parliament, for its guidance and comments in order to finalise it. Therefore, the Parliament’s involvement will clearly be an important one in this process. 

§ Since the 5 SDGs selected for the in-depth thematic review during the 2018 HLPF are of an “environmental nature” (i.e. SDGs 6, 7, 11, 12, 15), an important part of the work to be done regarding the thematic analysis falls under the responsibilities of the Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy.

§ Greece plans to elaborate a National Implementation Action Plan after the VNR process is completed, which is due to be finalised in 2019, also with the involvement of the Parliament (see also answers provided for question no 4 below).

 

Voluntary National Reviews [No information available]

 

-- Back to overview --

Mechanisms of Vertical Integration

National — sub-national linkages

For the preparation of the 2002 NSDS as well as its 2007 Implementation Report to the EU, representatives of local authorities, civil society, academia, private sector, NGOs etc actively participated in general or thematic workshops.

The  difficult financial situation has required the promotion  of a new model of development that will serve citizens’ needs while in parallel respecting the environment as a reserve for development.To this end the new model, in the form of a green economy in the context of sustainable development, provides the ability to address the multifaceted current challenges in the financial, energy, food and environmental sectors, while fostering sustainable livelihoods and social cohesion.To name an example, the promotion of renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaic and wind turbines have been driven. In parallel the new model serves the fulfillment of  requirements of the aquis communautaire in the environmental sector.

As mentioned above, since 2009 the Government's structure, objectives and priorities have been redefined and redesigned in order to foster actual development based on the principles of “Green Growth”, while adapted to the constaints and international obligations .

To this end, MEECC has drawn up a  revised National Strategy on “Green Growth” for growth and sustainable development respecting the environment, while responding to actual needs with practical means. This Strategy is also linked/inspired of to the recent Europe 2020 EU Strategy.

More specifically, it aims at:

·         Increase of development investments

·         Reforming the production basis of the economy and reinvigorating economic activity

·         Balancing rural development

·         Creating new jobs and reducing unemployment 

Its principles and requirements include:

·         Investment in education

·         Investment in knowledge-base expansion

·         Investment in innovation

·         Investment in new technologies

The Strategy introduces a cross-sectoral approach. The priority sectors encompassed include:

·         Agriculture

·         Tourism

·         Manufacturing

·         Construction / infrastructure development

·         Energy /promotion of renewable energy

The thematic pillars of the Strategy are four and include:

  • Addressing climate change challenges and transition to a competitive low-carbon economy (e.g. by promoting the penetration of RES, energy saving and energy demand management, increase of energy efficiency etc);
  • Sustainable management of natural resources (e.g. integrated management of ecosystems and biodiversity, water and forest resources, risk planning and management, rehabilitation and landscape preservation);
  • Improvement of quality of life based on an environmental-friendly approach  (e.g. improvement of social and productivity cohesion, revitalizing of rural and degraded urban areas, sustainable mobility, integrated waste management etc);
  • Reinforcement of institutional tools and mechanisms for environmental governance (e.g. reinforcement of inspection instruments, improvement of public access to environmental information, education and awareness raising etc).

The Law 4014/2011 considerably contributes to the implementation of the above-mentioned aims through the procedural simplification of the environmental permitting process of projects and activities.

More specifically, Law 4014/2011 aims at accelerating environmental permitting and licensing procedures, decentralizing competencies for environmental licencing, reducing bureaucratic and administrative burdens, enhancing transparency and promoting stakeholder participation in decision making. To this end, the following steps/tools are established:

 

1. Standardisation of the administrative procedure for the approval, renewal or amendment of the decision setting the environmental terms for the operation of activities and projects.

2. Minimisation of the number of competent Ministries involved in the permitting procedure.

3. New classification of projects and activities based on their environmental impact and introduction of Standardised Environmental Specifications for the permitting of low-impact installations.

4. Improvement of the administrative structure of environmental licensing services by establishing a single licensing authority at central level under the Ministry of Environment.

5. Introduction of dispute resolution councils dealing with particular cases, both at central/Ministry of Environment level, as well as at regional level.

6. Establishment of a Digital Environmental Registry enhancing public access to environmental information. 

Moreover, at the time being , it is ongoing the evaluation and revision of the regional spatial plans of the 12 Regions in Greece (except Attica).

EU linkages

Greece adopted the European Union’s ten-year growth strategy (EU 2020). The aim of this Strategy is to  address the shortcomings of the European growth model and create the conditions for a different type of growth that is smarter (through the development of knowledge and innovation), more sustainable (based on a greener, more resource efficient and more competitive economy) and more inclusive (aimed at strengthening employment and social and territorial cohesion).

For the preparation of the NSRF 2014-2020, the Greek Partnership Agreement has incorporated the Europe 2020 Strategy’s targets related to:

  • 75% of the population aged 20-64 should be employed.
  • 3% of the EU’s GDP should be invested in R&D.
  • The «20-20-20» climate / energy targets should be met (including an increase to 30% of emissions reduction if the conditions are right).
  • The share of early school leavers should be 10% and at least 40% of the younger generation should have a tertiary degree.
  • 20 million less people should be at risk of poverty.

These EU Strategy targets translated into the 11 thematic objectives of the Common Provision Regulation (1303/2013) and integrated into the Greek Cohesion Policy 2014-2020.

http://www.ypeka.gr/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=62OZ1zQ8pCg%3d&tabid=549

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EL/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52009DC0400&from=EN

2009 Review of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS) http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd

 

-- Back to overview --

Mechanisms of Horizontal Integration

Inter-Ministerial coordination was strengthened for the drafting of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF 2007- 2013)[1] in which the principles of the NSDS were embedded. Moreover, under MEECC a new Service for the Coordination of all Environmental Activities that are being carried out by all government entities (central Ministries and Regional Authorities) has been established aiming to effectively coordinate planned and implemented interventions related to environment, as a cross-cutting issue, in the context of all sectoral and Regional Operational Programmes under the NSRF (2007-2013).

The Special Service for Coordination of Environmental Projects is the competent authority for monitoring and assessing the integration of the horizontal environmental issues derived by the European Environmental Acquis into the Greek Cohesion Policy 2014-2020.

The National Development Strategy (NDS) for the current programming period 2014-2020 expressed by the Greek Partnership Agreement (PA) 2014-2020 which was approved by the European Committee on 23/5/2014 with a budget of 26 billion Euro. The Greek PA has integrated the Sustainable Development Principle with reference to the article 8 of the Common Provision Regulation (CPR 1303/2013) promoting the environmental protection requirements, resource efficiency, climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity, disaster resilience and risk prevention and management through investments under the thematic priorities of the ERDF, CF, EAFRD, EMFF.

Moreover, the 11 thematic objectives, set out by the CPR (1303/2013) of the FSI funds, are in line with the Sustainable Development Principle and with the Union’s aim at preserving, protecting and improving the quality of the environment taking into consideration the Polluter Pays Principle (PPP). With regard to supporting of climate change mitigation and adaptation in the context of the Cohesion policy programs, the Greek OPs and ROPs have allocated 20% of their budget to support climate change objectives according to the methodology for the calculation of CC support by ESI Funds as it described in the articles 1,2 & 3 of the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 215/2014.

In addition, the Special Service for Coordination of Environmental Projects (SSCEP), has produced guidelines related to the MEECC’s Environmental Development Strategy for the Cohesion Policy 2014-2020. These guidelines provided by the Ministry’s website:http://www.ypeka.gr/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=NrhIgcKoxC4%3D&tabid=759&language=el-GR . Furthermore, the SSCEP has been in close cooperation with all the Competent Managing Authorities for integrating the Sustainable Development Principle into the OPs and the ROPs submitted on 17/7/2014 in the European Committee.

The implementation of the new Strategy of MEECC on “Green Growth” that reflects the overall government orientation and focus requires a close cooperation between all relevant Ministry and Government Agencies as well as a reach out to the private sector and other social stakeholders. The Strategy itself aims at economic growth, increase of investment opportunities, creation of jobs, reduction of unemployment, revitalising degraded urban and rural areas, social cohesion, education on sustainable development and increased democracy, through an integrated and sustainable use of natural resources. These goals extend beyond the tasks and responsibilities of MEECC and focus on the real economy.

For example, in the context of the new MEECC Strategy, the government has set the goal of reaching a ‘resource efficient and low carbon economy’. Thus all related Services throughout competent Ministries are coordinating their work to achieve this target. Two indicative programmes that will contribute to the implementation of the Strategy and require horizontal integration include:

·         “In-house saving” is a public-private venture with the active participation of the banking sector and aluminum frame producers, for providing no or low interest loans to house and shop owners for replacing door and window frames with special new ones that ensure best heating and cooling performance and insulation, thus, resulting in a considerable decrease in energy requirements.

·         “Building the future” is a larger scale programme that entails the pilot application of the principles of “green growth” in selected indicative geographic and sectoral areas like an island, 3 urban neighborhoods, a rural village, selected military camps and selected industrial sectors that will be linked to academic research in order to invest in development of new materials for energy saving.   

Another example of effective horizontal integration is the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on “Green Public Procurement and Integrated Product Policy”. More than 5 Ministries actively participate in the works of this Committee that will lead to policy recommendations for changing the related legal framework in the country.

Greece is also participating in the Bureau of the ESD Steering Committee, supporting, inter alia, the strengthening of the cooperation and synergies with other bodies starting to be involved in ESD issues, like the Union for the Mediterranean.

In this respect, Greece has been working in depth in promoting activities implementing the three priority areas as decided at the 7th Meeting of the Steering Committee on ESD, namely (a) to ensure that there is an education for sustainable development school plan in every school by 2015; (b) to promote the introduction of ESD into teacher education; and (c) to reorient technical and vocational education and training in support of sustainable development and the transition to a green economy; through decisions and circulars, in line with the endorsed work plan for the 3rd phase of the implementation of the Strategy. 

Moreover, regarding the preparation of national goals in the framework of the post 2015 Development agenda discussions in the OWG on SDGs, Greece  under the leadership of the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has prepared the national priority areas through interministerial collaboration during  the Hellenic Presidency of the Council of the EU (A semester 2014). 

[1] http://www.espa.gr/en/pages/staticOPEnvironment.aspx

 

-- Back to overview --

Evaluation and Review

Greece has published its first national report on implementing the EU SDS in August 2007. Additionally, Greece has submitted to the UNCSD Secretariat, in 2007 and 2009, as part of its regular reporting (i.e. Country Profile) to the UNCSD, updated information on the implementation of its “National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) or its equivalent”.

Further information is provided through the regular Country Profiles that Greece/MEECC compiles and submits to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), covering various sustainable development themes according to the CSD’s multi-annual Work Programme, from water management, sanitation and human settlements (Greek National Profile 2004), to air quality, energy, climate change and industry (Greek National Profile 2006) and to agriculture, desertification, drought, physical planning and Africa (Greek National Profile 2008, 2011).

In 2005, a progress report about Greece was issued within the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. This report, though, focuses mainly on environmental issues, e.g. waste, water resources, coastal zones, etc. Other important reporting by Greece is done through the compilation of its National Communications to the UNFCCC (in 2010, the 5th National Communication was submitted) for tracking progress of implementation of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol.

§ The Parliamentary Committees of the Hellenic Parliament are responsible to elaborate and examine draft laws that fall within the various thematic areas of the SDGs (i.e. poverty reduction, employment, healthcare and social protection, economic development, research and innovation, environmental protection and climate change). These draft laws are then debated and adopted in Plenary. Thus the Hellenic Parliament, per se, can ensure legislation and policy coherence for sustainable development.

§ Currently, the GSG is working with the Parliament the specifics of the involvement of a Parliamentary Committee, where all political parties are represented, in which the discussion on SDGs will be taking place, on a regular basis, to contribute to and guide implementation at the national level.

§ A progress report on the implementation of the National Action Plan on the SDGs (scheduled to be elaborated in 2019) and its reviews will be submitted by the GSG to the Parliament, at regular intervals, for its review and political guidance, therefore, it is envisaged that, in terms of follow up and review of the implementation of the SDGs, the Hellenic Parliament will undertake an important role.

 

-- Back to overview --

Indicators and Monitoring

In 2003, a preliminary set of 70 SD indicators was presented in the report 'Environmental signals' produced by the National Centre for the Environment and Sustainable Development (NCESD), supervised by MEECC. However, as the indicators were a proposal and not all of them measurable, the implementation of the NSDS was not monitored across all of them and the indicators were not used nor expanded to cover all the NSDS’s objectives.

A new set of indicators has been developed by the NCESD, in close co-operation with the National Statistics Service, which take into account the SD indicator set by Eurostat and the needs of reporting for the renewed NSDS. This set was developed and established in 2008-2009 within a “State of the Environment” Report produced by NCESD in 2010. The new indicator set was developed after the EU SDS Implementation Report (2007) has been adopted: it is not integrated in the old report (2007). The indicators will be utilized from the government and administrative departments to keep on track.

Indicators are also used in the Operational Programmes for period 2007-2013 to evaluate the results and impacts of the Operational Programmes funded by Structural Funds and also EC Life + Programme. Those include green and employment growth indicators.

 

-- Back to overview --

Participation

The ‘National Council for Spatial Planning was established with members coming from the Ministry of Environment, local authorities, employers’ and trade unions, research institutes and NGOs participated. However, the coordination between institutions has been rather weak and on an ad-hoc basis.. In parallel, citizens’ access to environmental and spatial information is also promoted through the implementation of EU Directive INSPIRE.

Different stakeholder groups are invited to participate regularly in public consultations and workshops organised either by NCESD or by MEECC. The Minister for EECC (www.ypeka.gr/) also holds regular consultation meetings with representatives of the civil society and NGOs.

The Government, since the end of 2009, offers a new tool for public consultation (http://www.opengov.gr/home/), which is internet based, where the general public can access and submit comments on any new proposal for legislation, any government position opening etc. Moreover, through the “CLARITY”  programme, (Law 3861/2010), all Ministries are obliged to upload their decisions on the internet, with the exception of decisions containing sensitive personal data and/or information on national security. This program constitutes a major transparency tool, since the decisions of public administration cannot be implemented prior to their upload on the Clarity website. The full implementation of the Clarity program (on all public institutions, regulatory authorities and local government) contributes substantially to the creation of a more transparent citizens-state relationship.

NGO representatives are also included in the management boards of most entities/Centres supervised by Ministries as well as in all Management Bodies of NATURA 2000 sites in Greece.

§ In terms of participation and consultation, and since the implementation of the SDGs goes far beyond the responsibilities of the government, particular emphasis is given to awareness raising on SDGs at all levels and to stakeholders engagement. The aim is to set up a permanent consultation platform for all stakeholders (both an electronic one / online and also through regular Meetings and Dialogues) to ensure balance, regularity of consultations in a structured manner, transparency, partnership and accountability.

§ In this regard, the GSG holds meetings with stakeholder to also provide the opportunity to stakeholders to develop a more efficient internal self-coordination process so that they can more effectively participate to the overall national dialogue and contribute with concrete proposals. Some of the stakeholders that have been very actively engaged already, include:

1. the Economic and Social Council of Greece,

2. the Unions of Municipalities and Regions,

3. the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises,

4. Professionals and Trade Unions,

5. Workers Associations,

6. Academia (the National Research Foundation and Universities Rector's Synod), etc.

§ Since March 2017, a series of high-level multi-stakeholder Events have been organized to raise awareness on the SDGs and provide a space for multi-stakeholder interaction. The Events were oganised either by the private sector (e.g. Conference of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises on the SDGs on 2 March) of in the form of international Economic Fora (i.e. the Concordia Economic Summit organized in Athens, on 5-6 June) where Government representatives participated to provide their views on how the country should adopt and adapt the SDGs to national circumstances, or they were organized by Ministries, like the Conference organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the General Secretariat of the Government on how to address “Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development” (Athens, 7 March) as well as the Dialogue organized by the Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy / National Center for Environment and Sustainable Development  with environmental NGOs on the environmental dimension of the SDGs (Athens, 15 March) that has produced very fruitful results regarding the national prioritization process.

 

-- Back to overview --

Sub-national activities

This is a link to the promotion of the Habitat Agenda at the national and local level in Greece.

 

-- Back to overview --

This Country Profile has been last updated on: Monday, 25 September 2017

For the sources used in the country profiles, please click here.

 

This website is maintained by the
ESDN Office Team at the WU Institute for Managing Sustainability
ESDN Home ESDN Home