Life Nature Project Themis
A five-year project focusing on promoting awareness of wildlife crime prosecution and liability for biodiversity damage in NATURA 2000 sites in Crete.
The LIFE14/GIE/GR/000026 – LIFE NATURA THEMIS is a five-year project focusing on promoting awareness of wildlife crime prosecution and liability for biodiversity damage in NATURA 2000 sites in Crete. The project is co-funded by the European Commission, namely by the financial instrument LIFE “Environmental Governance and Information” that co-finances information, awareness and communication campaigns on issues of environmental liability and compensation for damage to the ecosystems and biodiversity. It also supports the European Union's authorities, entities etc which are responsible for the environmental legislation and EU policies in each country. The funded projects must emphasize the development and dissemination of best practices and solutions for effective compliance with, and enforcement of European environmental legislation. The LIFE NATURA THEMIS project is aimed at judges, prosecutors, lawyers and public authorities with investigative competence, as well as NGOs, inhabitants and the users of Natura 2000 sites. The University of Crete – the Natural History Museum of Crete (NHMC) is the Coordinating Beneficiary, while the Coordination Office for the Implementation of Environmental Liability (COIEL) of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (YPEN), the Hellenic Society for the Protection Nature (HSPN), the Bar Association of Chania (CB) and the Bar Association of Heraklion (HB) are the Associated Beneficiaries of the project. The need for the project arose from the understanding that the investigative, prosecutorial and judicial authorities, as well as the inhabitants and users of Natura 2000 sites in Crete, are not familiar with the capabilities provided by the relevant legislation, and by the jurisdiction assignments and the conservation status of the protected areas; thus, environmental crimes are, to a great extent, not reported and/or not prosecuted.
The main objectives of the LIFE NATURA THEMIS project are:
- To highlight environmental crime as a separate field in criminal law, and the individual responsibility for preventing and remedying environmental damage.
- To provide investigative authorities with skills to prevent and effectively prosecute environmental crime, and to ensure the best possible compensation for damage done to the environment.
- To document that the proper implementation of environmental law promotes local development and social cohesion, and ensures the correct use of environmental resources.
- To inform the local communities and users of NATURA 2000 sites about the possibilities of prosecuting illegal activities in their areas which undermine local development, social cohesion and economic progress.
The achievement of these objectives will be based on raw material that is being collected, for the first time, in cooperation with the competent authorities, through two Environmental Law Observation Centres (in Eastern and Western Crete, respectively) established by the project. Data will be available to the public through the official website of the project (www.lifethemis.eu). The environmental crime map and guidebooks for judicial and investigating agents are expected to facilitate prosecuting and increase efficiency in preventing environmental crime.
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