10 January 2024

Community of Practice in Greece: Fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange

The first SELINA Community of Practice (CoP) meeting in Greece was held on 15 November 2023, at the University of Patras Botanical Museum. The meeting was organised online and was attended by twelve representatives of academic, central and regional government bodies, with interest in the Greek Test Site Area (Peloponnese (Peloponnisos)), i.e., the Forest Service (Ministry of Environment and Energy), the Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA) and the Regional Government.

The meeting started with a general presentation of the SELINA project and the Community of Practice. Participants then had the opportunity to collaborate on filling in the SELINA “seeds of change” questionnaire, using an example from the Management Unit of Chelmos-Vouraikos National Park, and in particular for their project: “Prevention and rehabilitation of areas affected by natural disasters in the protected area of the Vouraikos River”. This project is located in the National Park area affected by forest fires and flooding during the summer and autumn of 2023.

As a result, a comprehensive and fruitful conversation was held, and the following insights emerged:

  • All participating stakeholders see CoP as an important scheme/framework for communicating their respective activities and especially their implementation projects, with other agencies and authorities, as well as with the scientific community, to avoid overlaps and/or delays due to similar responsibilities.
  • Forest Service has data that can be useful for the SELINA project tasks.
  • CoP was identified as a means of communicating their project outcomes to different and wider interested parties and following this, adapt their procedures to standardise data collection, registering and reporting.
  • SELINA project goals presentation, and in particular the CoP targets presentation, were identified by the participants as the missing ring for a step forward, from until now administration and management to a diversified new era, that incorporates multiple (most of them already available) input from different agencies and resources.