Stylianides: A national strategy for the climate crisis that involves citizens

Greece will draw up a national strategy for the climate crisis and civil protection within a European framework that involves the citizens and is centred on prevention, Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides revealed in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency published on Sunday.

The minister said the aim was to transform civil defence from a mechanism that intervenes after disasters occur to one which acts to prevent them, adding that prevention was the most important attribute of an efficient state.

“This is the wager, how Civil Protection will not only be a mechanism oriented toward intervention after a disaster. How, in other words, it will increase the resilience and response of not only its own mechanisms but also of society as a whole. Our policy, therefore, in the face of this great challenge is based on exactly these three areas: Prevention, Preparedness, Resilience. Our goals in to link these three pillars with civil protection, with the operational structure for managing each emergency,” he said.

Stylianides explained that there is a comprehensive plan for preventative actions with the participation of the general population, announcing plans for an information campaign that will involve the educational community, as well as local government.

“Prevention begins at home, at school, in local communities,” he added, noting that such an action has already begun in the municipality of Megara to alert the public to the dangers of flooding in the Alepochori area, while a civil protection academy offering seminars to the public will be ready in Vilia, Attica by the end of the year.

“We hope, in other words, to create a ‘nursery’ of volunteerism,” he added.

Asked about the recent earthquake on Crete, Stylianides said this had shown that the civil protection mechanism could act swiftly and efficiently but also highlighted problems and shortcomings that needed to be addressed and the corresponding adjustments.

For this reason, he explained, stations with be set up throughout Greece with adequate stocks of crucial emergency supplies.

Talking about the climate crisis, the minister made it clear that no country was capable of dealing with this on its own and announced plans for a European tour to discuss this issue with his counterparts in the EU, in order to develop rescEU into a fully integrated European policy.

He also announced the start of planning to prepare for the next fire-fighting season, with processes underway for the procurement of new early-warning systems, such as radar, weather stations, smart aerial surveillance systems and procedures for aerial means and dedicated “commando” fire fighters specialising in forest fires, who will be available for the mechanism from next summer.