The Greek Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works, in collaboration with EKBY (The Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre), organised on 7-8 March 2000 in Thessaloniki a workshop dedicated to the dissemination of the MedWet methods and tools in Greece. About 50 representatives from the 13 Greek regional authorities were invited, as well as representatives of the central ministries. They included officials and staff involved not only with environment, but also with physical and development planning and management of water resources. The meeting was chaired by Mrs. E. Bassoukea, Director of Environment, and by Professor G. Zalidis, member of the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel.
Some of the most interesting presentations from EKBY staff included themes such as:
- Designing monitoring projects for wetlands.
- Inventory database and monitoring of wetlands.
- Management of soil and water resources on the hydrological basin scale.
- Restoration and creation of wetlands.
- Use of satellite imagery for hydrological purposes.
- System for decision-making support based on GIS data.
There was quite an emphasis (and discussion) on water resources management in relation to wetlands. A very interesting demonstration concerned the use of scientific tools for monitoring ground water level changes in the Anthemous River hydrological basin, and the importance of the results in managing water resources in the area sustainably.
The MedWet Coordinator, Mr T. Papayannis, presented the MedWet Initiative, its history, structure, current activities and perspectives.
The participants referred to a number of wetland projects, for which the regions are responsible, such as the new Kalamas Delta LIFE project in northwest Greece. They expressed, however, their worries about the low level of expert staffing and equipment at the regional level. The meeting then focused on the possibility of establishing a collaborative network among the regions and the central services, and the provision of information and technical support to the regions.
-- reported by Thymio Papayannis, MedWet Coordinator