The Greek government took the first step this week to safeguard items produced and services offered in protected Natura 2000 areas and regions across the country.
More specifically, the ministries of tourism, agriculture, and environment signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the state-run Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA) for the creation of a national certification system for agricultural products and localized services offered in protected areas belonging to the Natura 2000 network.
The Natura 2000 network protects land and marine areas in the EU.
Products eligible for the new certification must be produced using eco-friendly practices and methods or through mild and sustainable development activities.
The common goal of the ministries involved and of NECCA is the preservation and enhancement of biodiversity in the rural areas of the Greek network as part of a wider effort to fully harmonize with EU goals.
A key focus of the EU strategy is to ensure a responsible and reciprocal relationship between the natural landscape and human activity.
The tourism ministry will also draw up a marketing campaign prompting certified products from Natura 2000 areas to run in Greece and abroad. The products will also be included in the new gastronomy tourism product being created by the ministry.
“A few months ago, we launched a national effort with the environment ministry and NECCA to showcase areas of special natural beauty such the Natura 2000 Network territories,” said Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki.
“This effort is now being complemented and strengthened by expanding our cooperation in the field of certification of products and services produced or provided within these unique areas,” she added.
“The ‘Farm to Table’ strategy is paving the way for an increase in organic farming and the implementation by Greece of the European Green Deal,” said Alternate Environment Minister Giorgos Amyras, adding that the country was moving “one step closer to the realization of a system of food and services that will have a reduced environmental and climate footprint by 2030 in a broader effort to ensure sustainability in the face of climate change and biodiversity loss”.