The abolition by law of the Hellenic Mapping and Cadastral Organisation (OKXE), the Environment Ministry’s national chartographic agency, and the concession of its geodata portfolio to private entity Hellenic Cadastre S.A. is a serious blow to the right for free access to environmental and spatial information. The law was voted in Parliament on June 20th.
The transfer of the national geo-spatial data to a private corporation, undermines the implementation of the EU’s legislation, which states that free access to environmental information and geodata owned by public authorities is a public right, according to conservation NGO WWF Greece.
The Hellenic Cadastre S.A., a private entity presently owned by the state, is undergoing a full privatisation process and is not covered by EU legislation on access to environmental information.
Greece’s negative track record in facilitating public access to organised environmental and spatial data showed important signs of improvement through the 2010 law transposing the EU’s INSPIRE Directive and the 2011 law on biodiversity, which guaranteed free access to data on the state of the environment, natural resources, land and biodiversity.
Sources: WWF Greece (in Greek).