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: 11 March 2019
On 23 July 2018 fast-moving wildfires near Athens affected the resorts Kineta and Mati and resulted in the death of 100 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.
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.