PRESS RELEASE

GFMC entrusted by the Prime Minister of Greece to lead a National Committee on Perspectives of Landscape Fire Management in Greece

09 August 2018 – Last Update: 05 June 2019


On 23 July 2018 fast-moving wildfires near Athens affected the resorts Kineta and Mati and resulted in the death of 102 people, numerous injuries and the loss of critical infrastructures, houses, and private assets. Following the publication of statements by the head of the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), Prof. Dr. Johann Georg Goldammer, by the Greek News Agency ANA-MPA on 4 August 2018, a phone conversation between the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Alexis Tsipras, was held on 7 August 2018. In this phone conversation, Prime Minister Tsipras asked Prof. Goldammer if he would be available to set up and lead a committee under the aegis of GFMC. The aim of the committee will be to investigate the underlying causes of the wildfire risks in the country and to develop recommendations for required reforms and policy measures in order to increase the resilience of the natural, cultural and urban-industrial landscapes of Greece and the people living therein against wildfires, and to prevent such disastrous events in the future. On a press conference on 9 August 2018, the Prime Minister added that the move aimed at excluding any possibility of political influence and biased findings.

After having accepted this proposal the head of GFMC met with the Prime Minister Tsipras on 23 August 2018 at the Maximos Mansion in Athens.

An agreement was reached about further procedures and the modus operandi of the “Committee on Perspectives of Landscape Fire Management in Greece”. The head of GFMC also consulted with the parliamentary opposition leader, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, to reach an agreement of multi-partisan support of the work of the Committee in the Hellenic Parliament.

The Commission decided to refrain from press interviews and other public statements, with the exemption of a few public statements in the Public TV and a News Agency (23 August 2018), at an interim press conference on 31 October 2018 and a second press conference after the delivery of the report of the Commission to the Prime Minister and the President of the Hellenic Parliament on 8 February 2019 (see below).

On 23 August 2018 the head of GFMC met with the Prime Minister Tsipras at the Maximos Mansion. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister

On 23 September 2018, the head of Committee introduced the Liaison Team to the State Minister and Spokesperson of the Government of Greece, Mr. Dimitrios Tzanakopoulos, at the Maximos Mansion. From left to right: Giorgos Mallinis, Georgios Eftychidis, Johann Georg Goldammer, Dimitrios Tzanakopoulos, Gavriil Xanthopoulos, Ioannis Mitsopoulos, Alexander Dimitrakopoulos.

Selected reports in Greek media

Briefing of the Greek media by the Committee (from left to right: Ioannis Mitsopoulos, Gavriil Xanthopoulos, Johann Georg Goldammer, Alexander Dimitrakopoulos, Georgios Eftychidis, Giorgos Mallinis).
The Inter-Agency Round Table “Future of Landscape Fire Management in Greece”, convened by the Committee on Perspectives of Landscape Fire Management in Greece, was held in the Ministry of Citizen Protection, Athens, 11 December 2018, with the participation of the key agencies of the country involved in fire management, and representatives of civil society. Photo: G. Xanthopoulos

Delivery of the Report to the Government of Greece

On 7 February 2019 the “Report of the Independent Committee tasked to Analyze the Underlying Causes and Explore the Perspectives for the Future Management of Landscape Fires in Greece” to Prime Minister Tsipras, the President of the Hellenic Parliament and the Standing Committees on the Protection of the Environment, Production and Commerce and Public Administration, Public Order and Justice. Furthermore, the Committee briefed the Parliamentary Groups. On 8 February 2019 the report was handed over to the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

Briefing of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Maximos Mansion by the Committee, with participation of State Minister Dimitrios Tsanakopoulos and the Secretary for Civil Protection, Ioannis Tafyllis (on 7 February 2019). Photo: Maximos.

Handing over the Report to the Hellenic Parliament. From left: Committee Chair Johann Georg Goldammer, Mr. Nikolaos Voutsis, President of the Hellenic Parliament, Mrs. Aikaterini Igglezi, MP and Chair of the Special Standing Committee on the Protection of the Environment, Mrs. Chara Kafantari, MP and Chair of the Standing Committee on Production and Commerce, Mr. Mr Antonios Syrigos, MP and Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Administration, Public Order and Justice.
©Copyright: Hellenic Parliament-Photographer: Aliki Eleftheriou
Athens-Greece

Handing over the Report to Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, President, Parliamentary Group Nea Demokratia.

Handing over the Report to Mr. George Mavrotas, Vice-President, Parliamentary Group POTAMI.

Handing over the Report to the Parliamentary Group Democratic Coalition. Top left: Mr. Vasilis Kegkeroglou, Secretary; right: Mr. George Arvanitidis, Chair of the Environment & Energy Working Group

Handing over the Report to Mr. Vasileios Spyrou, Director, Parliamentary Group ENOSI KENTROON. Photo: Hellenic Parliament.

On 8 February 2019 the report was handed over to the President of the Hellenic Republic, His Excellency Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos (Center). ©Photo: ANA-MPA

At the Presidential Mansion (Proedrikό Mégaro) the President of the Hellenic Republic and the Commission discussed the consequences of climate change and land-use change on future risks of dangerous landscape fires and the measures to be taken. ©Photo: ANA-MPA.

On 8 February 2019 the media were briefed on the outcomes of the Commission: Press conference at the General Secretariat of Information and Communication in Athens.

Presentation of the Report to the European Commission (DG ECHO) on 8 March 2019

Presentation of the recommendations of the Committee by
by Ioannis Mitsopoulos. Photo: G. Eftychidis.

Follow-up in implementing the Recommendation of the Committee

On 17 April 2019 the Independent Fire Management Committee presented and discussed the recommendations with three Special Parliamentary Committees in the Hellenic Parliament.

The spokesperson of the Independent Fire Management Committee, Dr. Gavriil Xanthopoulos, briefed the Hellenic Parliament on 17 April 2019

GFMC Guidelines and Training Materials in Greek language

About the GFMC

The GFMC is a subdivision of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and is associated with the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) through the Science & Technology Partnership and its membership in the former UNISDR Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction.

In this context, the GFMC is coordinator and secretariat of the Global Wildland Fire Network, the UNISDR Wildland Fire Advisory Group and the International Fire Aviation Working Group (IFAWG). Furthermore, GFMC is serving as secretariat of the International Wildfire Preparedness Mechanism (IWPM). The Tools of the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) are aimed at advising / supporting nations and the United Nations in Capacity Building in Landscape Fire Management and Wildfire Disaster Risk Reduction.

The GMFC is serving as a Specialized Center under the European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement of the Council of Europe and collaborates with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in developing national fire management policies and fire management capacities, specifically in following up the Basel OSCE Ministerial Council Decision No. 6/14 on Enhancing Disaster Risk Reduction.

Note to the Media

The GFMC and the Liaison Team will not give individual interviews. Regular press releases on this website will provide information on the progress of work.

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