Water Resources Legislation

EU Water Framework Directive (WFD 2000/60/EC)

The Directive 2000/60 predicted the implementation of a European action in the section of water policy (EU Water Framework Directive). More specifically, the Directive suggests that water management needs to be based on the RB and not on the administrative borders. The WFD sets specific objectives aiming to protect the water quality of the water bodies across the EU. The main requirement of the framework is the protection of the environment in its entirety (surface and groundwater bodies). For the sound implementation of the WFD, the river basin management plans (RBMPs) and the accompanying Programmes of Measures (PoM) are necessary for each River Basin District (RBD) and have to be established and updated every 6 years (EC, 2012).

Current situation at EU level

Not all the MSs had adopted and reported the RBMPs by 14/11/2012. Particularly, 23 Member States had adopted and reported all their RBMPs by that date, while 4 MSs (BE, EL, ES and PT) had either not adopted or adopted and reported only some RBMPs. In total, the Commission had received 124 RBMPs, 75% of which concern transboundary river basins. The delays in adopting first cycle of RBMPs in some MSs has consequences for the second implementation cycle both within the MSs concerned and for other countries they share catchments with (EC, 2012).

Current situation in Greece-Implementing the RBMPs in Greece

The Greek territory has been divided into 14 river basin districts. It has finished reporting and consultation for 12 RBMPs, those of Western Peloponnese (GR01), Northern Peloponnese (GR02), Eastern Peloponnese (GR03), Western Sterea Ellada (GR04), Epirus (GR05), Attica (GR06), Eastern Sterea Ellada (GR07), Thessalia (GR08), Western Macedonia (GR09), Central Macedonia (GR010), Eastern Macedonia (GR011) and Thrace (GR012). The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for GR01, GR02, GR03, GR06 and GR07 has been reported and finally approved. SEAs for the rest 7 RBMPs, out of the completed 12 RBMPs mentioned, above are expected to be final approved soon. The RBMPs for Crete (GR13) and the Aegean Islands (GR14) are in the stage of reporting.

EU Floods Directive (2007/60/EC)

On 18/01/2006 the European Commission proposed the Floods Directive 2007/60, which was finally published in the Official Journal on 6/11/2007. The main objective of this Directive is to urge the MSs to carry out studies that will support the production of flood hazards and flood risk maps in their territory. The ultimate purpose of this process is the protection of the human health, the environment and the economic activity of each MS. The Floods Directive concerns both inland and coastal waters across the whole territory of the EU. (Source: A new EU Floods Directive). The implementation of the Floods Directive is carried out in the following three steps, which have to be repeated every six years, in order to ensure that long term developments are taken into consideration: The Floods Directive shall be carried out in coordination with the WFD, notably in what concerns the coordination of flood risk management plans and RBMPs. Similarly to the preparation of the RBMPs, public participation procedures are also foreseen for the preparation of the flood risk management plans. The MSs should manage the cross-border river and not take measures that would increase the flood risk in the neighbouring country (A new EU Floods Directive).

Current situation at EU level

For the Floods Directive MSs were given the choice to use either the WFD RBDs, or to designate other Units of Management (UoM) for specific river basins or stretches of coastal areas, as specified under the article 3 of the Directive. All MSs adopted the same RBDs as the ones used for the WFD, with the exception of Ireland and Italy, which designated several smaller UoM.

Current situation in Greece

On the 16th of February 2011 started the preliminary flood risk assessment. This action concerns the definition of the flood risk river basins and the definition of the areas that are vulnerable to floods. In Greece, the definition of the zones that are under high flood risk was completed and the report of the preliminary flood risk assessment was submitted to the EU on the 22nd of November 2012. This preliminary assessment includes a report and maps of the areas of potential significant flood risk. Historical flood events that have been recorded in the 14 identified water districts of the country were also submitted. The above mentioned information concerns the first phase of the implementation of the Floods Directive 2007/60. For the implementation of the next two steps, 5 studies have been announced from YPEKA that will end up with the production of flood hazard maps, flood risk maps and plans for the management of flood risk that will concern all the country.

Legal Framework of Forest Fire Management in Greece

Current Hellenic Forestry Policy

The main body for protecting and managing the state forests in Greece, as well as for supervising and keeping under control the private forests, is the Forest Service. This body operates under the name General Secretariat of Forests and Natural Environment (GSF & NE) and constitutes an integral part of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food. The 1975 Constitution, Laws 86/1969, 998/1979 and 1650/1986 constitute the basic legal framework of Greece for the protection and management of forest and other wooded land. For the first time in the history of the country, forest and other wooded land are protected by articles 24 and 117 of the Constitution.

Involved Authorities

The Existing Legislative Instruments

Forest Service Legal Framework

Law 86/1969 codified almost all the laws that had been issued since 1928 and had been amended and completed by Law 4173/1929. This law constitutes the Forest Code of the country and regulates matters concerning the protection, management, real property rights on forest land etc. This code continues up to now to constitute the basic body of forestry legislation, although a lot of its provisions were amended and substituted by other laws such as Laws 886/1971, 996/1971, 248/1976 and 998/1979. Law 998/1979 “On the protection of the country’s forest and other wooded land” determines the specific protection measures for maintaining, developing and improving forest and other forest land of the country. Law 1650/1986 “On the Protection of the Environment” includes a specific chapter “On the Protection of Nature and Landscape” which proposes new categories of protected areas and introduces changes in the administration and management of protected areas. The above-mentioned laws for protecting and managing forests were supplemented by Presidential decrees and Ministerial decisions. The Presidential Decree of 19-11-1928 “On Forest management, felling regulations, Forest taxation and rent, disposal of products, resin collection and resin cultivation etc.”, regulates legislatively sustainable forest management. With this decree, incorporated into the Forest Code, the principle of sustainability is adopted in its simple form, i.e. sustained yield. However, the management of Greek forests based on sustained yield started after the Ministry of Agriculture issued Circular No 120094/499/1937. Article 24 of the Constitution prohibits forest land use changes, unless it is enforced by public interest. State and private forest and other wooded land areas destroyed by fires and other causes are obligatorily under reforestation regime and their disposal for other purposes is prohibited (par.3, article 117 of the Constitution). Law 998/17979 designates per case or category of cases the terms under which the forests or their segments can change their use or serve other uses for reasons enforced by public interest (indicative articles 46, 47 and 51-57).

Forest Fire Response Legal Framework

In order for the State to reinforce the operational role of the involved state services against the risks coming from forest fires, the following Laws were additionally instituted: Law 2612/1998: assigns the responsibility and the operational planning of fire suppression in forests and wooded tracts to the Hellenic Fire Corps. Law 3511/2006: determines the responsibility of the Hellenic Fire Corps for the safety and the protection against the forest fires and natural disasters. Interministerial Decision 12030/1999: determines the interoperability, the roles and the responsibilities of all the involved authorities of the state such as local, municipal, health care authorities, in cooperation with the Hellenic Police, the Hellenic Fire Corps and the Hellenic Forest Service.

Civil Protection Legal Framework

The first interpretation of the term ‘Civil Emergency Planning’ in Greek legislation is given in the Decree No. 17 that was issued in 1974: “planning and programming of the organization, preparedness and mobilization of civil forces in times of war or in times of peace for managing emergency situations, achieved by civil mobilization and civil defense”. The Ministry of National Defense was assigned as the responsible body to issue instructions and coordinate all activities in the case of an emergency situation.   The subsequent course of establishing the Greek Civil Protection system – and in particular the transition from the concept of civil defense to that of civil protection – was influenced by the  international and European development in addressing the impacts of natural and other disasters.   Since 1995, a series of legislative regulations shaped the present framework of the Greek Civil Protection System. Today, the main legislative framework of civil protection in Greece consists of the following:   According to the Law 3013/2002 the General Secretariat of Civil Protection is responsible for the mobilization, the coordination and the management of the involved public services, such as Hellenic Fire Corps, Hellenic Police, Armed Forces, volunteers, regional and local authorities, etc. Internal Regulation 1521/2013 determines the roles and responsibilities of all the involved authorities in order to assure preparedness measures and then to prevent the forest fires.