Sustainable environmental and spatial planning

© Andrea Bonetti / WWF Greece

Given the fundamental tenet that the environment and the biological wealth of a country are the core of its economy’s natural capital, it is important to underline the need for environmental and spatial planning aimed at the conservation and sustainable utilization of said capital.
Major problems in the Greek spatial and environmental planning system are:

  • tailor-made regulations scattered throughout legislation that allow specific investments at the expense of others under politically immoral terms;
  • the obscure and complex terms of land use and area protection and the legal uncertainty stemming from legislative acts that include special conservation provisions;
  • the lack of knowledge resources (land use mapping, databases, web applications, etc.) necessary for understanding the terms and limitations regarding land use, natural capital conservation and economic activity development.

A fundamental condition for developing a living and sustainable economy is a clear and scientifically documented central policy regarding land and the conservation of natural capital. From spatial planning to organizing a biodiversity and protected areas conservation system, healthy economic activity requires the legal certainty and prospect of development that can only be provided by clear terms in a cohesive and unambiguous design for land and an efficient natural capital conservation and management system.

Sustainable environmental and spatial planning

  • The ecologically, economically and socially vital spatial and environmental planning can be achieved through the following guidelines:
  • legally valid, unambiguous, cohesive and widely intelligible enactments regarding land use and the protection of the areas of the National Protected Areas System;
  • strengthening of the National Protected Areas System and related management bodies by establishing clear competences and operational efficiency to ensure that they serve their part in both conserving places and species and boosting local economies - as is usually the case - in the best possible way;
  • spatial planning revision aimed at the cohesive, legally certain, socially equitable and clear distribution of economic activity throughout the country and the vigorous protection of natural resources and environment;
  • incorporation of the ecological footprint concept in spatial and urban planning and designation of priorities to monitor and reduce it.

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