In brief

Activity in Greece begins in 1969, over twenty years before the establishment of the national organization WWF Greece, with the restoration of the forest of Kesariani in Ymhttos and afterwards with the reinforcement of protection actions at Prespes and at Dadia Evrou.
In 1991 a WWF International program office is created in Greece. This office is entitled "Global Fund for Nature - WWF Greece".
In 1994 the national organization is founded with the legal status of a charitable foundation. Its operation is defined by the 11-1-1994 Presidential Decree (ΦΕΚ Β’ 22 / 18-1-1994) (founding), its amendment by the ΦΕΚ Β 790 / 22-6-2001 and article 18 of N.244 ΦΕΚ Issue A 265 / 3-12-116 (concerning its administrative and managerial self-existence of the Establishment).


Starting in Ymhttos

As far back as the 1950s one of the people who later founded WWF, dr Luc Hoffman, visits our country often and is an admirer of the Greek nature. Soon he finds his first collaborators and with them, designs a basic action plan that focuses in protecting ecosystems and endangered species. The official premiere of WWF in Greece though, occurs in 1969, in Ymhttos with a reforestation that will last many years. WWF action in Greece had just begun...


What followed

During the 1980s we keep up the work with similar actions in environmentally sensitive areas. New concepts, like proper management and renewable development enter our agenda and Prespa, the outfall of Louros, Rodopi, Dadia Forest and Nestos form the first map of WWF action in our country. Around the same time we take action for the protection of the Mediterranean monk seal, the sea turtle, the birds of prey and the brown bear.


The first office in Greece.

WWF International decides to found a program office in Greece, headquartered in Athens. In 1994 the office is "upgraded" into an independent national organization with the legal status of a charitable foundation.


Drawing strength from Dadia.

One of the oldest  scientific programs of WWF begun in 1979 at the Dadia Forest, in Evros. This beautiful forest, which is the most important habitat for birds of prey in the European Union, was protected by law in 1981 thanks to WWF's efforts. In 1992, a scientific team is permanently installed there with tha main objective to encounter the needs and threats the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli forest is facing. Today Dadia is one of the best managed protected areas in Greece. Our team adjusted every time to the new conditions by engaging in varied activities, and also by registering the progress in the Evros Delta, in order to contribute in improving its management and protection.


The achievement of Zakynthos

In 1994, the organization gave an excellent first taste of intervention at Sekania, the most important beach in all of the Mediterranean for the Caretta caretta sea turtle. In order to ensure the species survival and to face the inconsiderate construction development, WWF Greece buys from individuals almost all of the land surrounding the nesting beach, so as to achieve the total protection of the coast itself. Since then and up until today, Sekania has remained untouched from human intervention. It's the only beach in Greece belonging exclusively to turtles!

There can be no turning back

In 1994 we started a difficult fight against the completely absurd work of enormous proportions that was the Diversion of the River Acheloos with the collaboration of four other environmental organizations. This effort, which continues until today, resulted in six victories at the Council of State as well as the public outcry against this destructive model of rural development and water management in Greece. Our most recent battle took place at the Court of Justice of the European Union in September 2012. According to the decision, the diversion, in the way that it was planned and approved by the Greek Parliament in 2006, violates the European environmental legislation.


The new era

The organization renews its traditional profile that focused mainly in field action and training for biodiversity protection.Instead, it turns to a more holistic approach to the environmental crisis and paves the way towards sustainability.

Forests for Ever

Our worries for the forests protection is nothing new. From its first steps, WWF Greece dealt with forest protection. With the launch of the three-year campaign Forest for Ever we commence in 1998 a public debate on forest fires and their deeper causes. After the mobilizationof thousands of our supporters, we submit a set of realistic proposals to the competent institutions, with the ultimate objective being to not degrade the forests protection due to the constitutional review of 2001.

An Olympic Race

The same year we launch a campaign for environmentally friendly Olympic Games. We emphasize changing the Olympic Rowing Center location, from the ecologically important and sensitive area of Schinias and we criticize harshly the enormous environmental and economic cost of the games. We substantiate alternative solutions, collaborate with other environmental organizations and the European Committee and in July 2004, in collaboration with WWF International, we publish an environmental analysis survey of the Athens Olympic Games. We may not have won the battle; we've had though some important victories. For example, we achieved to put Schinias under protection by the EU and the area was classified as a "National Park".


For a healthy marine environment

We tried to set in action our vision for a healthy marine environment and for the conservation of fishing stocks, in Kastellorizo.  Although in the end the fish shelter we had designed and proposed didn't came true, we have in our hands a complete survey, after three years of work, which can be utilized to create at last protected fishing areas in other locations. All the knowledge accumulated in the field of marine ecosystem protection and the experience from our participation in global campaigns and initiatives for the conservation of fisheries and coast management were utilized in an ambitious plan for a national intervention by WWF in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Initiative, the new strategic program of the organization, will be, for the coming years, the framework for the renovation of the action and collaboration of eight WWF offices.


Laws that serve the citizen and nature

In 2003 we created a very active team of volunteer lawyers, engineers, architects, environmentalists and other scientists, which examines the numerous charges that come from all over Greece. Our legal team looks into these cases and provides its opinion, aiming to support intervention and action by the citizens themselves and by the social organizations that fight for the protection of the environment. In some cases, when citizens have done whatever they could do, WWF Greece took action through its legal team in order to support their cases. Since the founding of our legal team, more than 500 cases have reached WWF Greece. In several of them, our collaboration with active citizens and other organizations has been proved extremely effective.


No to chemicals!

2004 marks a new era for policy campaigns. With DETOX - say no to dangerous chemicals - we participate in WWF's European campaign that aims to contain and gradually ban the issue and use of the most dangerous chemical substances. We achieved, along with the other WWF European organizations to pass a regulation, even with some inevitable readjustments, against enormous pressure and reactions.

Safari in our islands

After our intense policy campaigns, in 2004 we launched a different campaign in the context of which we "sweep" all of our islands. We decide to register all island wetlands in Greece. Why? Simply because these small, precious ecological diamonds remained unknown, resulting in them being degraded. We were proudly the first to register and monitor tirelessly the over 800 small island wetlands. We faced offices and ministries, eventually achieving  to have the small island wetlands recognized by Greek legislation as protected ecosystems, to integrate many of them in local protection status and begin the first local initiatives for their protection and restoration. In total we registered 498 wetlands in 64 Aegean islands, 209 in Crete and 2 neighboring islands and 98 in 8 Ionian islands. In Crete in particular, the first working monitor network was established, monitoring the wetlands status, which with the help of other local teams deals with crucial interventions any instances of degradation and arbitrariness.


We are not alone...

From Sekania, Zakynthos we have already sent a powerful broad message for the protection of the sea's endangered species. After the turtle, with close collaboration with other organizations, we looked at the seal and the cetacean not as isolated species in need of our care, but as a part of valuable ecosystems (Mediterranean monk seal and strategy / rescue plan for cetacean). We examined their relationship to human and after years of survey we made detailed proposals. Action Plan for MOFI program On a different level we backed the sustainable management fishing, in order to ensure the recovery of fishery supplies, marine biodiversity protection and of course the future of Greek fishing.


The climate is in our hands

Two years later and on the heels of DETOX's successful outcome, we start our first campaign against climate change entitled The climate is in our hands. We inform, we raise awareness, we shape proposals and opinions, we get to talks with corporations, institutions and the state and we are present in the big summits on the planet's future. Our work for the climate continues until today, having to show a number of remarkable initiatives in every level: in making proposals for the RES development, informing the public on matters of conservation, trying to mobilize the state to enact more efficient climate policies.


Destruction gives birth to hope

It's hard to wipe the summer of 2007 from the Greek's memory, with the destructive forest fires. The three-year program The Future of the Forests was an immediate response to this unprecedented catastrophe. This program sadly made us the first and only institution (public or private) that has given a complete and scientifically documented aftermath of the forest fires in Peloponnese, Euboea, Parnitha (2007), Rhodes (2008), northeastern Attica, Zakynthos,  Karystos, Elikonas-Kitheronas (2009) and central Evros (2011). It was created in thousands of hours inside expanses burned by the flames, which was mapped and taken care of for the smooth rebirth of the forest. There were also 1,500 autopsies and visits to areas of interest. 8,650 students and approximately 1,000 teachers participated in these activities and seminars. It's a common belief that these three years were the starting point for the reformation of the legislation and, mainly, the citizen's society - because the forests we'll be saved when people change.


In the dark for an hour

Society has already accepted the values of a balanced relationship between human and nature. It adopts collective means of expression and demands a quality of life and a civilization that respects the environment. And it wishes to send a message to everyone. This explains the unexpected success of Earth Hour that we have been running for five consecutive years, 2009-2013.


We share the same house

In 2010 we decide to bring to the spotlight 14 sea mammals (dolphins, whales, sperm whales, ziphius, porpoises and seals) that live in the Greek seas. With a new campaign entitled "Sea" we set sail with our collaborations MOm, the Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute, and the Tethys research institute on a voyage to raise awareness for the wondrous underwater world of sea mammals. Our motto, "we share the same house" speaks for itself regarding our responsibilities.


New lands, familiar places

In late 2011, we create an Atlas on land coverage (Atlanta apotiposis ton kalipseon gis) a big publication effort, pioneering for Greek standards, that covers twenty years 1987-2007 and recreates Ikoskopio (Οικοσκόπιο) an internet portal, that offers a visual coverage of the natural environment along with a kids edition the Ikospokio-Kids. We evaluate the largest corporations in Greece in terms of their environmental impact assessment, continuing the work of the Index of Environmental Management and Transparency in Greece that was introduced in 2009, and estimated the damage from the summer forest fires in 2012, in Northeastern Attica and Chios.

Justification on the matter of wetlands

After 8 years of ceaseless actions, in March 31 2012 the presidential decree "Approval of the list of small island wetlands and definition of the terms and restrictions for the protection and elevation of the small coastal wetlands that it includes" was signed by the caretaker Minister of Department of Energy and Climate and went to the President of Greece. A few days before the elections on June 17, the decree was finally signed and got to the National Printing House!
This presidential decree represents for us and for all the volunteers that stood by our side in any possible way, a justification for nine years of hard work. After 9 years, many long nights, tons of meetings, thousands of kilometers in the Greek islands, threats and pressures we celebrated a great victory. The first, very important phase of our work is complete: the legal protection of 380 island wetlands, that cover up to 80 square meters in 59 islands. But now, the next one begins: putting it into practice!

A big thank you

To all of those that stand by our side, here in WWF Greece for all these years: Institutions, Corporations, other NGOs, Bodies, Collaboration, Volunteers, Grand Donors, Distinguished Friends, Supporters. Tenths of thousands of people who on their own way shaped and keep shaping what WWF Greece is.

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