Tuesday, 18 August 2020
Greece’s first National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSSD) was adopted in 2002 by the Council of Ministers, just before the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development, with a strong environmental focus.
The second NSSD prepared in 2007 was aligned with the Renewed 2006 EU Strategy for Sustainable Development, but included four additional priorities of national importance (culture, tourism, agriculture and spatial planning).
In 2009 when “the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change” (MEECC) was first established, the country’s priorities throughout the whole Government structure have been set under the overarching objective of “Green Growth” as a response to the onset of the financial crisis and the need for more emphasis on climate change mitigation and adaptation. To this end, a “Programme of Development Interventions for the Real Economy” was elaborated in 2010, aligned with the EU Europe 2020 Strategy, with a focus on resource efficiency and the shift to a low carbon economy, which served, until 2013, as the country’s strategic reference for sustainable development, but not as an NSSD.
In 2015, the adoption of the SDGs brought a new vision to the country’s development perspectives that has gone through a profound economic crisis during the last decade: the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 SDGs provide an ambitious and transformative framework for a new, fair and sustainable development path, which ensures a balance between economic growth, social cohesion and justice as well as protection of the environment and of the country’s unique ecological wealth. Ensuring that “no one is left behind” has been a high political priority for Greece during as well as in the post-crisis era.
In May 2018, Greece adopted a National Growth Strategy, consequently updated in May 2019 as the “National Strategy for Sustainable and Fair Growth 2030” fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development objectives. The 2019 NSSFG included inter alia 40 key performance indicators, mostly relating to SDG implementation at national level.
A “National Implementation Plan for the SDGs” is expected to be elaborated and endorsed in the near future by the government of Greece elected pursuant to the July 2019 national elections, that will be coherent with a new revised Growth Strategy and its future updates.
The “National Strategy for Sustainable and Fair Growth 2030” adopted in May 2019 by the previous government of Greece, covered the three dimensions of sustainable development – the economic, environmental and social – and was aligned to the principles of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, including social cohesion and ’leaving no one behind’.
Protection and sustainable management of natural capital and transition to a low-carbon economy had been one of the eight overarching National Priorities for implementing the SDGs at national level that Greece endorsed in 2017 after an extensive mapping exercise within all government units and a public consultation. These eight National Priorities had been the basis for the preparation of the country’s first Voluntary National Review (VNR) presented at the 2018 UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. Over the period 2017-2019, the (former) General Secretariat of the Government (GSG) played a key role in ensuring a whole-of-government approach to implementing SDGs. An Inter‑ministerial Co‑ordination Network for the SDGs coordinated by the former GSG, up until 2019, brings together focal points of all line ministries responsible for mainstreaming SDG-related issues into sectoral legislation, policies and programmes.