Programme agreement signed for the Environment programme in Greece

The programme agreement for the Greek Environment programme was signed on 26 November 2019.

Key information about the programme

  1. The programme is operated by: The Greek Ministry of Environment 
  2. The programme’s objective is: Improved environmental status of ecosystems and reduced adverse effects of pollution and other human activities
  3. The programme funding amounts to € 4 million (excluding co-financing) and is funded entirely by the EEA Grants.

Why is the programme needed?

The Greek environment programme will contribute to increased efficiency of water supply systems and improved water supply for Greek islands as well as better information and data about the status of water-based ecosystems. The actions supported through the programme will therefore contribute to Greece’s efforts under the EU Water Framework Directive and their corresponding River Basin Management Plans.

In the Greek islands the demand for water usually surpasses the available water supply during the tourist season. In many areas the water grids are old, which results in serious leakages and loss of water. These two conditions can lead to water shortage, water quality deterioration and over-abstraction, i.e. use, of groundwater. 

On smaller islands, water has often been supplied by sea transportation with water tankers, which may be hampered due to bad weather conditions. Additionally, it impacts the environment in terms of emissions and poses risks of marine accidents. The cost of water transportation is high compared to other more permanent solutions like construction of water reservoirs, installation of desalination systems and leakage prevention. In general, there is a lack of funding focusing on permanent water supply solutions on small islands. Despite the economic and environmental benefits from supplying water locally rather than being transported to the islands, the islands need funding to be able to prevent water leakages or improve their local supply.

The programme will therefore address the need to improve the environmental status of water-based ecosystems by supporting the rational use of water. The actions will focus on the application of innovative solutions. There is also a need for better data and knowledge about the status water-based ecosystems for which funding has been set aside for monitoring and research studies.

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?

To achieve the programme objective, the programme will focus on improving the status of the water bodies mainly on islands that face shortages and/or bad quality of water. This will be done by both addressing supply solutions as well as efforts to improve the status of water bodies through open call(s) for small islands and vulnerable areas. The call(s) will finance the implementation of water saving measures, including measurement and monitoring systems to reduce leakages, and desalination systems. 

Research projects will provide data and solutions for the improvement of the status of water bodies or improvement of water management in certain areas. Additionally, support will be given to an awareness campaign for school children highlighting the importance of proper water management and improving the status of water bodies.  The programme will also create guidelines and best practice materials for water saving for inhabitants and the tourist sector. 

The beneficiaries of the programme are the inhabitants, businesses and tourists of vulnerable areas and islands in Greece. Municipalities are expected to benefit from the reduction of their operating expenses through innovative solutions of water supply and energy saving. It will also have a positive effect on the tourist industry, as improved supply and quantity of water reduces costs both for the tourists and the touristic businesses.

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?

The EEA Grants’ Environment programme in Greece will contribute to experience-sharing and promote dialogue and cooperation in areas of mutual interest to Greece and the Donor states. Partnership projects between Greece and Donor entities is actively encouraged and facilitated.

Availability of funding through open calls

The funding in this programme will be made available through the following open calls - dates are tentative and subject to change:

  • Call 1 will be launched in the first half of 2020
  • Call 2 will be launched in the first half of 2020
  • Small grant Scheme 1  will be launched in the first half of 2021

Download the full programme agreement for more detailed information about the programme.