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The Greek Guardian of Biodiversity

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Panayotis Sainatoudis has been selected as a Guardian of Diversity in the Mediterranean for 2009, recognized for the important work he has done to ensure the conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity in Greece. This is an honour awarded to a select number of farmers, scientists and biodiversity activists by Bioversity International and the Commune di Roma. Panagiotis Sainatoudis is the coordinator of Peliti (in Greek), one of the most important non governmental organizations in Greece whose aim is to rescue and distribute local crop varieties to growers.  Peliti (‘oak tree’ in the Pontic Greek dialect) also deals with the registration of native rural animals.  See also: Q&A: ‘Variety Can Protect Against Famine’ – interview with three ‘Guardians of Diversity’ so named by Bioversity International for their contribution to conservation.

EU Heads in Athens

» International Biodiversity Conference

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was welcomed  in Athens in order to attend a two-day international conference on “Biodiversity Protection Beyond 2010” hosted by Greece (April 27-28). Some 230 representatives of EU member states, NGOs, European enterprises and UN agencies discussed EU policy on biodiversity, as 2010 will be a major milestone for biodiversity policy both in the EU and globally. Addressing the event, Barroso underlined the significance of protecting biodiversity, shifting from “business as usual,” to a new model, hopefully shaped by this new “message emitting from Athens.” 

Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis praised Greece for its high quality biodiversity amongst Mediterranean and European countries, but stressed that environmental protection ought to know no geographic boundaries. Taking the floor, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas warned that the world cannot turn its back on climate change and on any pressing matters of environmental protection. European Commission: Follow the Conference on-line & Dimas on biodiversity

» Remarks on Greek Economy

Meeting yesterday with Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, Barroso welcomed Greece’s plans to tackle microeconomic imbalances and deliver on structural reforms. The Greek government has pledged to rein in the country’s deficit by 2010 (a fall to less than 3% of GDP), in keeping with EU’s proposed measures on fiscal policy.

» Honours Bestowed

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso received  (April 27) distinction from the Hellenic Parliament and the City of Athens. Hellenic Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas decorated Barroso with the Gold Medal of the Hellenic Parliament, while Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis awarded Barroso the Medal of Honour and Benefaction of the City of Athens.

An African Chameleon in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   A very beautiful reptile with vivacious patterns, the African chameleon lives in a very special part of Europe: right on a narrow strip of land formed on Yalova beach in the prefecture of Messenia. A project studying the chameleon and how it can best be protected is underway. The campaign is designed to raise awareness amongst the locals about the rareness of the reptile and its importance for the preservation of the region’s biodiversity. Find out more: www.agrotravel.gr; Bird watching and Nature Wandering in Greece:  www.ornithologiki.gr