A photography and video exhibition focusing on the architecture and biodiversity of the Greek islands is taking place at the United Nations, on the sidelines of a UN sustainable development forum underway at the UN headquarters.
It was officially opened on Monday by Alternate Environment and Energy Minister Sokratis Famellos and is entitled “Conserving biodiversity and the traditional man-made environment in the Greek islands: Drivers for sustainable tourism and resilient societies.” Its aim is the international promotion of Greece, Greek islands and their unique characteristics and also their unique flora and fauna and ecosystems.
It was organised by the environment and energy, shipping and island policy and the tourism ministries, in collaboration with Greece’s permanent representation at the UN.
In his address at the opening, Famellos noted that it was linked to the environmental Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) being discussed at the UN forum, while seeking to demonstrate that policies to protect biodiversity and island ecosystems are not an obstacle to growth and tourism activity but can actually have a positive impact.
“Greece is an island country with 18,400 kilometres of coastline and 9,800 islands, which due to the different geomorphological and climate conditions become real ‘natural laboratories’ and refuges for unique endemic species. Greece is home to 40 pct of European flora and 18 pct of its fauna. On the Greek islands, the same natural elements through the ages were tamed and used for humankind’s prosperity, leading since antiquity to sustainable practices in harmony with the natural environment,” he said.
Examples of these included the use of wind power, farming with terraces, or the bioclimatic architecture used in the Aegean. Reviving such sustainable, traditional techniques and practices could serve as a model for local development, social cohesion and innovation, Famellos added.