Empowering local communities to mitigate wildfires on Andros Island
Andriaki Shipping Co. Ltd. is committed to continuous efforts to improve environmental performance throughout its operations.
Final Report (February –November 2016)
1. Mapping stakeholders’ needs
An initial mapping and analysis of the key stakeholders was undertaken in order to identify the right partners- multipliers to act as focal points for creating awareness on the best practices of fire prevention, to specific target groups and to wider island’s population.
The program was implemented with the support of the “Local Civil Protection Board” and the stakeholders which were engaged were the following:
- Forest Firefighting Volunteers of Andros (SEDA)
- Decentralized Administration of Aegean
- Prefecture of Southern Aegean, Regional Unit of Andros
- Fire Station of Andros
- Forest Service of Andros
- Municipality of Andros
- Center of environmental education of Korthi
- Primary schools of Korthi, Piso Meros, Messaria, Chora, Gaurio
2. Designing educational and communication material
Based on the consultation and analysis conducted with the volunteer teams, local NGOs, school teachers and tutors of primary education, we have developed an awareness raising material and a capacity building toolkit to facilitate them in the dissemination of the campaign. The campaign material will remain an «open source» so as to be easily accessed and duplicated by as many as possible.
3. Building stakeholders’ capacity
We organized two interactive workshops to build capacity of the campaign’s multipliers and to present the array of available communication tools. The 1st workshop targeted the Local Civil Protection board & the 2nd the members of the local authorities & volunteers (~ 35 participants).
4. Approaching livestock breeders
As this target group is of special importance, the aim of this action was to open a dialogue and set the foundations with them for finding long-term solutions. Despite the strong skepticism and second thoughts from local authorities that prevented WWF from organizing the workshop in May, we managed to proceed with great success and participation in November. More than 60 participants, the majority of them being livestock breeders and farmers, had the opportunity to raise concerns and questions and exchange views. WWF proposed methods for sound management of pastures, discussed developments in the relevant legislation, and openly expressed and pronounced hesitations and reflections.
5. Implementing the communication campaign
POP material: 10.000 leaflets in Greek & 3.000 in English and 2.000 posters (22x42) in Greek have being distributed in hotels, rooms to let, car rental offices, tourist offices, several public authorities, shops, boats, churches (through Archbishop of Syros),and as an insert in 2.500 water bills (in cooperation with Municipality of Andros).
The video spot aired on ferries to Andros (Fast & Golden Star Ferries).
Events: On 5th of June several awareness raising events were organized in Gavrio, Chora, Korthi and Batsi in cooperation with SEDA and Fire Station of Andros. 487 questionnaires were distributed by students of primary schools and filled up by general public.
Mass media & new media:
Since the beginning of the program we are constantly fueling local press, on line media & wwf communication tools with relevant issues & videos (~200.000 visits to wwf & local online media).
6. Investigating future needs
A pilot program aims primarily to replicate and spread the solutions across region that faces similar problems. We are currently working on different proposals towards this direction:
We have submitted a proposal to “Decentralized Administration of Aegean” for including in the European funding mechanism “Community - led Local Development” (CLLD) the awareness raising and capacity building program to prevent wildfires. The implementation of the program will focus on Cyclades islands such as Andros (extended activities), Naxos, Paros, Tinos, Serifos, Kea, Kythnos, Syros & Sifnos.
- Further to a request by the Directorate of Civil Protection of the Decentralized Administration of Aegean, we will submit a proposal to be implemented in the fire danger period of 2017, focusing on the islands of Rhodes, Samos & Ikaria.
- In Chios, we are investigating the possibility to implement a similar program together with the Voluntary Action Group "Omikron" and the participation and funding by Municipality of Chios.
Apart the necessary awareness raising activities, it is important to build in parallel a set of scientific & technical actions. Below actions can contribute to both wildfires prevention, and to an integrated conservation of natural environment of Andros:
- Grazing management plan
- Monitoring of vegetation types and physical rehabilitation post wildfires
- Development of local forest wildfires action plan.
Mitigating wildfires on Andros Island
Within this spirit and wishing to support initiatives that are beneficial to its homeland, we would like to announce the sponsorship of a wildfires prevention project on Andros Island, initiated by WWF Greece.
Andros’ natural environment is under intense pressure, mainly due to its long and rich history of fire incidents. Unfortunately, it is amongst the areas in Greece with the highest frequency of fire outbreaks and it holds the first place throughout the Cyclades. Based on the available data, the fires on Andros are caused mainly by the burning of grazing areas and by human negligence. The combination of recurring fires, with the continuation of certain activities such as intensive grazing, in particular in burnt areas, result in loss of valuable natural capital, reduction of biodiversity, soil erosion to the point of desertification, and a number of dire long-herm consequences which affect the inhabitants’ quality of life and their main primary production activities, thus influencing local income and the development of tourism.
In order to respond to these threats, WWF Greece will motivate local groups and build their capacity to endorse fire prevention, primarily by combating negligence. This is a 6 month pilot project that intends to raise the awareness of the local community and of the island's visitors to reduce the annual number of fires on the island, thus protecting its natural environment. It is the organisation’s hope that it will provide the basis for similar fire prevention initiatives around Greece.
This project will help WWF Greece take a step towards its vision of local communities taking ownership of their natural capital and building a sustainable future for themselves where they co-exist in harmony with nature.