The provision of environmental policy advice and the solution of difficult environmental challenges is widely known to take place primarily with the involvement of the private sector, as government agencies face difficulties in risk management.
Our company GREEN2SUSTAIN is known for undertaking and successfully completing difficult environmental policy and strategy projects, including those related to the environmental economy. Great challenges require teams with experience in the field, and to this end we have distinguished ourselves, undertaking tasks that other companies would be reluctant to undertake.
GREEN2SUSTAIN used the scientific training of its team to draft a proposal, which was adopted (after various modifications) by the Management Body of the Alonissos – Northern Sporades National Park (ETHPAVS) and by the Ministry of the Environment.
The aim of the study is to determine a ticket in application of an existing law of 2019, which provides authorizing provisions for the drafting of a Joint Ministerial Decision.
The National Park of Alonissos, as well as other protected areas of the country, are under constant environmental pressure and the “polluter pays” principle is not applied effectively. The protection regime itself imposes the control of the pressures towards the protected elements of the Alonissos National Park – Northern Sporades. National parks are protected areas, and state institutions have an obligation to protect them. The fact that Alonissos Park is marine, makes it more vulnerable to impunity and recklessness. Consequently, as in other parts of Greece and Europe, the introduction of a ticket is expected to work in terms of prevention and protection.
Getting a ticket in a sea area is in itself a great challenge, as there are no dividing lines at sea, and collection limits and collection points must be carefully defined. The aim of the study was to find a solution, to have a reciprocal benefit for the use of the protected area that will allow for the restoration of the environment, either directly (with revenues in the funds of the Management Body that can be used) or indirectly (through Green Fund investments).
Ticketing is not a novelty for protected areas, but a commonplace on all continents. In Greece, the ticket payment policy is already applied, either optionally in the form of a service (Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli National Forest Park), or compulsorily in the form of an entrance ticket (Samaria National Park). Our collaborators analyzed models from Greece and abroad (Spain, Italy, Sweden and elsewhere). Obviously, each case has its own special characteristics, in relation to the permitted uses, but the general picture is that the principle of reciprocity is applied to the burden of the environment, with the ticket often being used as a deterrent and controller of the number of users, but also as a source of income for conservation actions.
The purpose of the ticket is to provide resources for the Management Bodies, and there are special conditions for its implementation. These conditions are fully ensured by the proposal that has been formulated.
With the introduction of a ticket, multiple social and ecological goals are achieved:
– the pan-European and global “polluter pays” principle applies to users of an area of absolute protection
– occasional users are discouraged
– the financial resources of the Managing Authority and the of state increase
– it is widely established that the protection of nature (especially where the latter is exploited) comes with a cost that modern societies will have to bear at multiple levels (state, local, individual).
It is pointed out that the public debate already mentions cases where boats, wanting to avoid paying a one-way ticket, are forced to choose alternative routes, north of the marine park. This is a success of the ticket establishment in terms of environmental protection: crossing is discouraged at zero cost and nature is protected.
The payment of a ticket has been proposed to be made directly to the Managing Authority, with earnings for both the (state owned) Green Fund (on a predetermined percentage) and for the Public Funds (via VAT), based on the provisions of the legislation.
Obviously, special groups of citizens are excluded from the ticket, as is any case of a public ticket. These exceptions are numerous, but to the extent that they do not institutionalize the exception as the rule.
The Management Body is one of the bodies involved in the tourist product of the area, as it is responsible (and coping with great difficulty) to oversee the traffic rules of zone A (of absolute protection) of the Park. With the proposal prepared, the Agency is expected to have a more substantial participation in the tourism product, creating revenues that will help it improve the services it provides.
Given that the Park is the main element of attracting tourism to the region, such a development will protect and upgrade the tourism product of the region.
For reasons of transparency in public discourse (although with a high risk of uncontrolled copying) our study has been posted on the website of the Park Management Agency (http://alonissos-park.gr/).
Photo credit: Paul Liakopoulos