The first conference of LIFE GRECABAT in Athens
LIFE GRECABAT's conferences on public awareness and changing attitudes and behavior of stakeholders (Action C4) kicked-off last Friday in Athens!
Presentations introducing the Program were made by George Papamichael (ATEPE), Panagiotis Georgiakakis (University of Crete, NHMC), Ioannis Nikoloudakis (HISR) and Eleni Giamakidou (Ministry of Environment and Energy). Mr. Andreas Darlas (Ephorate of Paleoanthropology-Speleology, Ministry of Culture and Sports) and Ms. Antonina Papathanasoglou (Greek Ombudsman) were guests of honor of the event.
Round-tables took place on two thematic areas: "Adequacy and implementation of the institutional framework and management needs of caves and bat shelters" and "Activities and management needs in caves and bat shelters".
Among the subjects discussed in the 1st thematic area, the need to amend Law 3937/2011 was presented, as well as the filling of gaps within the existing institutional framework, mapping the responsibilities of the cave-related Public Authorities and the need for appropriate personnel staffing, the need for strengthening the cooperation between the above-mentioned authorities, the direct cooperation between the Regions and other Public Bodies for the exchange of personnel and equipment etc. The 1st thematic area was coordinated by Ioli Christopoulou (The Green Tank).
The 2nd thematic area focused on the responsibilities that should be undertaken by the Municipalities. These include responsibilities regarding: habitat 8310, the training – using specific guidelines – of speleological societies on the habitat’s endemic and other residing species, the adoption of European guidelines on cave work specifications, the management of visitors taking into consideration the protection of the species and the habitat, the training of mountain guides, the proper management of caves open to tourists, the briefing of Public Bodies involved in caves’ management etc.
On Saturday 12th, LIFE GRECABAT team conducted a public awareness event on "Koutouki" cave in Paiania (open to tourists and visitors), where presentations concerning the program and its actions, the chiroptera and cave restoration undertaken by the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology and Speleology (Ministry of Culture and Sports) were made. The event also included educational and artistic activities, games for children created by the project team further acquainting adults and kids with the equipment of cave explorers!
The participants also had the opportunity to have a free guided tour of the cave, which was conducted by Alexandra Economou, biologist of the Ephorate of Paleoanthropology & Speleology and the project team.
We would like to thank all the participants for their contribution and we look forward to our next conference meetings and workshops, as posted on our website at (https://www.lifegrecabat.eu/).