2017 LIFE-Stymfalia International Conference to promote Business & Biodiversity in Natura 2000 sites through joint actions and public-private sector partnerships


The two-day international conference “Business and Biodiversity in Natura 2000 sites: The way forward”, organized by Piraeus Bank in the context of LIFE-Stymfalia project was successfully concluded. For the first time in Greece, delegates from private and public sector discussed the development of business and biodiversity in Natura 2000 sites, which could provide alternative funding for managing biodiversity and ecosystems. “The stimulation of the private sector to generate funding opportunities for the protection of Natura 2000 sites is the European Union’s policy that we are implementing for the first time in Greece through LIFE-Stymfalia project. Piraeus Bank, a pioneer in green entrepreneurship, is now creating innovative investment solutions for Natura 2000 sites, which cover the 27% of the land area of ​​Greece, aspires to prove that nature protection could be an important tool for the sustainable development and the creation of new jobs”, said Mr. Vrassidas Zavras, Piraeus Bank’s General Manager for Green Banking. This was also the key-point of the "LIFE-Stymfalia Statement" adopted by the participants on the first day of the Conference: public-private partnership could be the solution to the problem of lack of systematic and sufficient financing for the protection and management of Natura 2000 sites.

The speakers were representatives from the Biodiversity Unit in DG Environment, Dutch Enterprise Agency (RVO), European Investment Bank (EIB), SEV-Council of Sustainable Development, Piraeus Bank, TEMES (Costa Navarino), National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, WWF Greece, OIKOM Environmental Studies and IFOAM AgriBioMediterraneo.

On Saturday June 10th, the delegates visited the Environment Museum of Stymphalia and were guided from the exhibition "The Sixth Labor" to the heart of Ancient Stymphalos through the environmental interpretation trail "Man and Nature on the Paths of Time", which was implemented within the LIFE-Stymfalia project. This way they acquired an integrated exploration experience on the history of the area and the today’s effort to restore its biodiversity.

About LIFE-Stymfalia Business and Biodiversity Conference:

The Business and Biodiversity Conference in Athens and Stymphalia was organized in the context of LIFE-Stymfalia project run by Piraeus Bank in partnership with the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation, the Municipality of Sykionion, OIKOM LtD, The Society for Protection of Prespa, and Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving. The aim of the conference was to highlight the connection of business and biodiversity in Natura 2000. Increased weight should be given to promotion of Business & Biodiversity through joint actions and public-private sector partnerships, so as to ensure the sustainable management of these sites.

LIFE-Stymfalia Business and Biodiversity Conference highlights include:

The conference’s concluding remarks were included in the LIFE-Stymfalia Statement, encouraging all stakeholders to move beyond the perception that Natura 2000 sites are an obstacle to development and to recognize them instead as opportunities for promoting sustainable business that favours biodiversity and ecosystems.

LIFE-Stymfalia Business and Biodiversity Conference online:

The Conference featured dynamic Keynotes from:

George Protopapas: LIFE Programme in Greece

Laure Ledoux: Business and biodiversity: the EU policy framework and the role of LIFE

Sylvaine Rols: Opportunities and challenges to financing Natural Capital in the EU

Caroline van Leenders: Facilitating the integration of biodiversity in business and finance -  the EU Business and Biodiversity Platform

Constantinos Constantinou: Biodiversity conservation, a challenge for Sustainable Development

Constantinos Cartalis: Assessing the need for the integrated management of natural and cultural capital at the landscape level

Vrasidas Zavras: LIFE-Stymfalia: Business Opportunities for biodiversity conservation

Vasilis Karakousis: New approaches on nature conservation: Costa Navarino development model

Evangelos Pappas: New approaches on nature conservation: Creating business opportunities in protected areas

Charikleia Minotou: New approaches and business opportunities in protected areas: the case studies of agriculture, alternative tourism and sustainable rural development