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Promoting awareness of wildlife crime prosecution and liability for biodiversity damage in NATURA 2000 areas in Crete. (LIFE Natura Themis)
Start date: Oct 1, 2015, End date: Sep 30, 2020 PROJECT  ONGOING 

Background In Crete there is a lack of prosecution of wildlife crime and measures for remediation of damage to biodiversity in Natura 2000 sites. The EU, however, introduced the Environmental Liability Directive in 2014 to remediate biodiversity damage and establish wildlife crime as a separate area of prosecution. Local communities have a role to play in this prosecution procedure. Objectives The LIFE Natura Themis project aims to: Inform and raise awareness of stakeholders, targeted audiences and the general public in Crete about environmental crime and wildlife crime, in particular, as a special case of prosecution; Inform and raise awareness of stakeholders, targeted audiences and the public in Crete about liability for preventing and remediating biodiversity damage; Change the attitude of stakeholders, targeted audiences and the public in Crete so that they see their support and engagement in EU environmental law enforcement is an important tool to protect biodiversity and support local development and social cohesion; Provide stakeholders and target audiences with the appropriate skills to engage in the prosecution procedure for wildlife crime, to require measures for remediation of damage to biodiversity and to integrate biodiversity issues in regional and local policy; Highlight the wider benefits of conserving Natura 2000 sites – healthy ecosystems rich in flora and fauna are an opportunity for sustainable development, shared revenue and social cohesion; and Communicate the importance of EU environmental legislation implementation for human health to other Natura 2000 site managers in Greece. Expected results: Relationships between wildlife crime, biodiversity damage and healthy ecosystems will have been highlighted and practices for tackling wildlife crime, promoting liability on biodiversity conservation and enforcing EU environmental legislation will have been demonstrated. An Environmental Law Observatory of East Crete, Environmental Law Observatory of West Crete are established and a national and international conference held. The project will have produced two radio and two TV ads, 10 press articles, three technical guides, an application for environmental damage reporting and an online GIS database for mapping wildlife crime hotspots. 26 workshops, three press conferences and nine training seminars will have been held. Other specific targets reached: 80% of the stakeholders (judges and state prosecutors, lawyers, public officers of the Decentralised Administration Authority of Crete, environmental NGOs operating in Crete), 80% of the journalists, investigators and the rural population and 65% of the general public are made aware of the importance of wildlife crime prosecution and of triggering liability for biodiversity damage in ecosystems and livelihoods; At least 350 judges and state prosecutors, 600 lawyers, 150 members of environmental NGOs and 100 public officers of the Decentralised Administration Authority of Crete are trained on wildlife crime and liability for biodiversity damage; At least 100 users of the smart device application for environmental damage reporting; At least 50% of all people of the target audiences identify wildlife crime as a separate case of prosecution; At least 30% more target audiences are aware and fully appreciate three of the most important pieces of European legislation on biodiversity: Birds and Habitats Directives, Environmental Liability Directive and EU Biodiversity Strategy; At least 30% increase of environmental claims involving wildlife crime and liability for biodiversity damage; Integration of liability to remediate biodiversity damage in Natura 2000 sites in decision-making process of regional and local policy; and Development of nature-based solutions for biodiversity governance.
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