Dr. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou to represent the Hellenic Parliament at the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Doha

Dr. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou to represent the Hellenic Parliament at the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Doha

Dr. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, M.P Chairperson of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Environmental Protection, is representing the Hellenic Parliament in the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change that is being held in Doha, Qatar.

Ms. Avgerinopoulou, having extensive experience in international law, environmental protection and climate change, will be attending three meetings. First is the informal ministerial meeting organized within the framework of the international Convention. The second meeting will showcase an Innovative Finance Pillar to deal with climate change. The final meeting, “Women for Results”, will examine how women can build momentum for stronger climate action. Our country should be present, voicing its opinion on these important issues since, as an EU member state, these international agreements will be legally binding, should they be voted into law.

195 nations and international organizations are taking part in the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Conventions’ mission is to develop the framework that will deal with climate change while supporting sustainable development for the planet.

The conventions’ priorities revolve around four main axes: adapting natural ecosystems and socio-economic systems to climate change, funding research and adaptation activities from national, international, public, private and alternative funding sources, and the curbing of greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide emissions increased by 70% from 1970 to 2004, with a further increase expected over the next decades. The international conference will examine how new technologies can provide the necessary tools to develop and share environmentally friendly practices that achieve sustainable development.

In 2010, an agreement was reached by all participants regarding the reduction of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, so that the average temperature of the planet will not increase by more than two degrees Celsius. The question today is whether this agreement is being implemented.

Promoting policies that can address the youth unemployment problem and attract more foreign investments to Greece, is Mrs. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou’s goal during her participation at the inaugural Annual Curators Meeting of the “Global Shapers”

Promoting policies that can address the youth unemployment problem and attract more foreign investments to Greece, is Mrs. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou’s goal during her participation at the inaugural Annual Curators Meeting of the “Global Shapers” community, organized by the World Economic Forum.

The Meeting began yesterday evening in Switzerland and will last until August 28. It brings together the Curators of the “Global Shapers”, the largest and most significant youth platform, a community of entrepreneurs, academics, scientists, activists, politicians between 20 and 30 years, who exchange views, ideas and take initiatives, in order to shape the world, serving common good.

At the first Annual Meeting of the «Global Shapers» curators of the World Economic Forum representatives from 168 cities from all over the world, will be attending debating on education, environment and employment.

Ms..Avgerinopoulou, M.P stresses that individuals, countries and businesses need to give more educational and professional opportunities to young people in order to overcome the economic crisis. This is even more pressing, in countries like Greece, or Spain where rates of youth unemployment have exceeded 52.1%.

Ms..Avgerinopoulou, holds the responsibility of establishing the «Global Shapers» hub Greece, as she was selected a “Young Global Leader” by W.E.F in March 2011.

The «Global Shapers» community offers young people the opportunity to exchange ideas, undertake projects and shape the global policy agenda on a number of global challenges. It also improves their career prospects through training programs in famous foreign universities and  makes it possible for them to attend international and regional meetings of the World Economic Forum.

Initiative to reduce youth unemployment undertaken by Global Shapers Greek hub

Members of the “Global Shapers” Greek hub of the World Economic Forum held their third meeting in a row yesterday, at the OpenFund offices in Athens. Young people between 20-30 years old, gathered at the initiative of Ms.Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou M.P., member of the “Young Global Leaders” of the World Economic Forum who is the Curator of  the Global Shapers community in Greece.

The Greek hub’s members are young people with hopes, ideas, and will to change the world. They have the opportunity to shape the future, the future of Greece, serving common good. Each and every one of them have already demonstrated exceptional skills, vision and remarkable talents in their fields. M.s Avgerinopoulou stressed that her primary goal as a Curator is to help young people get in touch with companies and universities abroad.

Members of the Global Shapers community of Greece have already participated in the conferences of Davos and Constantinople, and they were excited to be given the unique opportunity to meet with representatives of the biggest companies in the planet, and exchange views and ideas with some of the most prominent business leaders of the world. They were also thrilled to have opened new professional and academic horizons.

In their last meeting, Global Shapers Athens hub agreed to create a communication platform in order to facilitate young people with exceptional qualifications and skills to find a job or study abroad. This is an initiative that aims to deal with soaring youth unemployment. It was also decided to further promote Ms. Avgerinopoulou’s initiative “Platform for Greece” in order to attract more foreign investments to Greece.

Ms. Avgerinopoulou will participate in the inaugural global meeting of all Curators of the Global Shapers Community of the World Economic Forum, that will be held in Switzerland between 22-27 of August.

International Steering Committee on Environmental Emergencies Meeting in Ancient Olympia Successfully Completed

The crucial message of upgrading prevention, co-ordination and regional co-operation in response to environmental emergencies was stressed by members of the international Steering Committee on Environmental Emergencies during their recent three-day visit and meeting in Greece. UN Officials of the Joint United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) convened for the first time in Ancient Olympia. They conferred with Members of the Hellenic Parliament and visited areas of the Ilia region destroyed by the wildfires of 2007, accepting the invitation of the “Green Star” awardee, Ms. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou Member of the Hellenic Parliament.

The visit of the Steering Committee took place from November 30-December 2 and was a successful one, by all means. The Committee discussed, amongst others, issues of particular interest to the Greek people and including ways of raising preparedness levels of the civilian protection mechanism in order to respond more efficiently in cases of environmental emergencies and natural disasters.

On November 30, the Steering Committee had discussions with four competent Committees of the Hellenic Parliament, in a special working session. Mr. Chris Dijkens, Chair of the Steering Committee on Environmental Emergencies presented to parliamentarians from all sides of the political spectrum, the role of the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environmental Unit. Mr. Dijkens stressed the importance of preparing for environmental emergencies and explained the significance of strengthening the capacities of Regional Organizations to respond to environmental crises in their region, and of further supporting the Environmental Emergencies Centre, a major project of the Joint Environment Unit.

Ms. Avgerinopoulou M.P has since last February proposed the foundation of a Regional Co-Ordination Center, to be headquartered in Greece, so that it can quickly coordinate volunteers to neighboring countries in case of environmental emergencies. In her welcome speech, Ms. Avgerinopoulou restated that Greece has the capacity and the ability to play a key role in such a regional organization and strongly supported the position document on environmental emergencies that was submitted by the Advisory Group on Environmental Emergencies to the Earth Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

It was these propositions that took a center stage at the special public event presenting the accomplishments of the Steering Committee at the King George Hotel, that was organized that same night by the President of the European Institute of Law, Science and Technology (E.I.L.S.T), Ms. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou. Members of the Hellenic Parliament, diplomats, and representatives of institutions that helped restore and provided assistance to villages of the Ilia Prefecture, scientists, representatives of the civil society and dozens of Greek people were informed on the role and work of the Steering Committee. During the public event, Ms. Avgerinopoulou, President of E.I.L.S.T , a research non for profit N.G.O, referred also to the extensive pro bono work done by the institute for the restoration of Ilia and honored  people and volunteers that provided help.

A “Prize of Excellence in Solidarity” was bestowed to the “Marianna Vardinogiannis Institute”, to the Republic of Cyprus, to the Mayor of Ixelles Mr.Willy Decourty and the “Paneliakos Association of America and Canada” for their solid assistance to devastated villages Makistos, and Artemida, as well as the Zacharo municipality and the Ilia Prefecture, in general.

On December 1, the Steering Committee had their successful meeting in the birthplace of the Olympic spirit, the place that was the cradle of the ecumenical spirit of solidarity, volunteerism and excellence. Their meeting took place, at the premises of the International Olympic Academy (I.O.A), by courtesy of the I.O.C (A?).

On December 2, the Steering Committee accompanied by Ms. Avgerinopoulou and state and local officials had the opportunity to meet and discuss with emergency responders of the Ilia area, and with people affected by the 2007 wildfires. The Steering Committee visited the fire brigade outpost in the city of Krestena, the “2000 Natura” protected ecosystem of Lake Kaiafa, and the villages Artemida and Makistos, that still suffer the consequences of the fires. The Steering Committee was informed by the local people, members of the forestry authority as well as volunteer emergency responder groups on the challenges that they continue to face.

At the end of their field trip at the afflicted areas a special public event was organized by Ms. Avgerinopoulou in Pyrgos the capital of the Ilia Prefecture.  The Steering Committee was applauded by the public, not only for choosing to visit their area, but also because they offered various suggestions to the audience on improving the response to environmental and natural disasters.

During the vivid discussion with local people, local volunteer rescue teams and environment associations the President of the General Assembly of the International Civil Protection Organization, Dr. Jean Pierre Nana, called Greece to join the organization and proposed support in setting up a Regional Training Center for Civil Protection units in Greece and assistance in training Greek members of civil protection forces, assistance in boosting the capacity of volunteer responders, and assistance in setting up an “early warning system” of emergencies. From his part, Mr. Rene Nijenhuis of the Joint Envrionment Unit promised to share the know-how acquired by his team and the “Guidelines of the International Search and Rescue  Advisory Group (INSARAG)” with local volunteers to base their future actions on.

The event was closed by Mr. Dijkens who warmly thanked Ms.Avgerinopoulou for hosting the Meeting in Greece, not only because it provided the Steering Committee with useful exchange of experience but also for the Greek hospitality and its symbolic nature. During the public event, Mr. Vladimir Sakharov, OCHA, Chief of the Joint UNEP/ OCHA Environment Unit thanked Ms. Avgerinopoulou for the warm hospitality, for her stamina in promoting environmental emergencies issues and presented her with a token of appreciation, a small UN flag.

“Global economy needs structural changes in order to survive”, said Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, Member of the Hellenic Parliament in an interview with the Chinese News Agency, “Xinhua”.

“Global economy needs structural changes in order to survive”, said Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, Member of the Hellenic Parliament in an interview with the Chinese News Agency, “Xinhua”.

A video interview with Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, was given yesterday by Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou MP, in the wake of the economic turbulence, which was caused after Standard &Poor’s downgraded the creditworthiness of the United States of America.

Ms. Avgerinopoulou noted that the recent sharp swings in the financial markets prove that the problems of the global economy are inherent, existed for several years, and are certainly not limited or caused by the problems of the Greek economy, as it is evident by the problems of debt and sluggish growth of the major economies of the world.

“Global crisis has its roots in unsustainable policies. The imbalances that are caused need to be addressed immediately through global co-operation. Short-term and long term solutions that will re-engineer international practices and international institutions need to be devised and implemented without delay. Especially for the Eurozone the issuance of Eurobonds is certainly necessary”.

Ms. Avgerinopoulou also stressed that during the reorganization of the UN that is in play and within the Economic and Social Council of the Organization, international practices and procedures that have proved to be inadequate can be regenerated in response to new social and economic challenges.

Dionysia Avgerinopoulou MP, also a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum noted that in their current modus operandi, and as their score has proven so far, the assessments of Credit Rating Agencies are only indicative of the economic progress of countries and companies. Apart from a European Rating Agency, whose establishment is now proposed by the European states a Credit Rating Agency with an international scope and with active participation of states needs to be established in order to provide greater reliability and transparency.

To avoid deepening of the global economic crisis, developed and developing countries as well, need to tackle high unemployment rates, and instill a new vision for the global economy. Restructuring the global economy based on better education of the human capital will bring about innovation in all productive sectors. In the interview with the largest Chinese news agency, Ms. Avgerinopoulou as Deputy Head of Environment Sector Policies of her party, New Democracy, emphasized strongly on the need for “sustainable and rapid” development for Greece. She noted that orchestrated effort is necessary to be put in new but also traditional economic sectors such as tourism, shipping and agriculture. “Greece has rich resources. We only need to find efficient tools for managing them, “she said.

“GREEN STAR” Award winner, Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, MP, dedicates the award to the people of Ilia Prefecture, Greece, a region devastated by wildfires in 2007

“GREEN STAR” Award winner, Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, MP, dedicates the award to the people of Ilia Prefecture, Greece, a region devastated by wildfires in 2007

In an honorary ceremony that took place at the new Congress Hall at the premises of the International Olympic Academy, in Ancient Olympia, “Green Star” Award winner for her pro bono work on environmental emergencies, Ms. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, Member of the Hellenic Parliament, dedicated her award to the people of her hometown, Zacharo, and the Prefecture of Ilia, Greece.  Ms. Avgerinopoulou serves as the Deputy Head of the Environmental Policy Sector of the New Democracy Party and Director of the European Institute of Law, Science and Technology (EILST), a non-profit, non-governmental organization.

Ms. Vicki Pantazopoulou, Honorary Consul of Kenya in Greece, presented the “Green Star” Awards, that recognize those who have made remarkable efforts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to environmental emergencies around the world. A joint initiative between the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Green Cross International and the UN Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), introduced in 2007 and presented every two years, the Award aims to raise awareness of environmental emergencies and disasters; encourage increased international efforts to prevent, prepare for and respond to such disasters; amplify the connection between environmental impacts of disasters and emergencies, and the consequences for affected populations and providers of humanitarian assistance. Ms. Avgerinopoulou received the Award for her consistent efforts in preventing, preparing for and alleviating the consequences of natural disasters both in her home-country, Greece, and worldwide.

Ms. Avgerinopoulou acknowledged the important humanitarian and environmental work by the United Nations Environment Programme, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Green Cross International, while she publicly thanked the aforementioned agencies for the special honor bestowed to her.  In a symbolic gesture, Ms. Avgerinopoulou stressed that the award belongs to people of the region and the people that voluntarily helped the natural environment and those in need. She emphasized the importance of the United Nations efforts in addressing serious challenges after environmental disasters. She also assured the people of Ilia Prefecture that the international community has not forgotten them, as this award shows. Ms. Avgerinopoulou expressed her gratitude to Mr. Isidoros Kouvelos, President of the International Olympic Academηυ, Mr. Spiridon Kapralos, President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee and Mr. Dionysios Gaggas Director of the International Olympic Academic for their support to the event.

Due to her Presidency at the European Institute of Law, Science and Technology Green Star award winner Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou gave special recognition and nominated academics, diplomats, scientists, school children, teachers and journalists who voluntarily contributed in a ten-month reconstruction program in Ilia.

A Volunteers’ Award was bestowed to Mr. Nektarios Polychroniou, Consul of Botswana in Greece and to his wife, Angelika Katsigianni, for their contribution in raising awareness among foreign nations, as well as for providing pro bono legal advice to the local communities. Volunteerism award was given to Mr. Nikos Chronis, assistant professor in bio-medical engineering (University of Ann Arbor, Michigan), who helped coordinating contributions of foreign universities to the reconstruction efforts at the Ilia Prefecture, as well as his overall humanitarian and research work.

Volunteerism Award was also given to Mr. Christos Skouteris and the photographic team of the High-school in Zacharo for depicting the first flowers flourishing on the burnt land and offering, thus, hope to the people of the region. Another Award was bestowed to Mr. Ioannis Kanellopoulos, professional photographer, for co-organizing the largest photographic exhibition on the theme along with the EILST, the Union of Foreign Press/reporters and the Association of Greek Photo reporters.

Awards were also given to Mr. George Keramitzoglou, reporter of “SKAI” radio and television for organizing reforestation programs in the area, as well as for assisting in the set up of the initiative “Observatory of Ilia” cooperation with “Ionion Fm”. Special Award was given to Ms. Eleonora Meleti, journalist of “Star” Channel for her constant efforts in addressing local challenges and for promoting tourism in healthy part of the burnt areas. Volunteer’s Award was also given to Ms. Katerina Bassakali, Foreign News Editor of “Apogevmatini” newspaper for her coverage of climate change and how the phenomenon is affecting Greece.

Awards were bestowed to the honorees by Olympic Medalists Ms. Sarah Wincless (Gr.Britain), Ms. Inga Babakova (Ukraine), Ms. Sylvia Poll (Costa Rica), Mr. Razvan Florea (Romania), Mr. Steven Mesler (USA) and Mr. Michail Nestruev. The latter were decorated by the M.P. and Director of EILST, Ms. Avgerinopoulou, for conveying the message of the Olympic solidarity worldwide.

Ms. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, Member of the Hellenic Parliament honored with the “Greenstar” Award by UNEP, Green Cross International and OCHA

In a special ceremony honoring leaders in environmental protection, that took place in Bern  on May 18, 2011, Switzerland, Ms. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, Member of the Hellenic Parliament, was bestowed the Greenstar Award by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Green Cross International and the UN Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Ms. Avgerinopoulou received the Award for her consistent efforts in preventing, preparing for and alleviating the consequences of natural disasters both in her home-country, Greece, and worldwide.

The Green Star Awards recognize those who have made remarkable efforts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to environmental emergencies around the world. A joint initiative between the UNEP, OCHA Green Cross International, introduced in 2007 and presented every two years, the Award aims to raise awareness of environmental emergencies and disasters; encourage increased international efforts to prevent, prepare for and respond to such disasters; amplify the connection between environmental impacts of disasters and emergencies, and the consequences for affected populations and providers of humanitarian assistance.

Ms. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou is an international lawyer, specialized in International Environmental Law, a Member of the Hellenic Parliament and the Deputy Head of the Environmental Policy Sector of the New Democracy Party, the major opposition party in Greece. In 2005, Dionysia served as Special Advisor to the Permanent Mission of the European Commission to the United Nations. In this role, she supported the development of infrastructure for environmental emergencies in under-developed regions, while in early 2007 she proposed the establishment of a Climate Change Center for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, which may also correspond to environmental emergencies in these areas.

Following the wildfires that devastated parts of her hometown in south-eastern Greece in 2007, under her capacity as the founder and president of the European Institute of Law, Science and Technology (EILST), a non-profit research organization that seeks to improve international and national legislation through better integration of scientific and technological achievements in laws and policies, Dionysia led a major pro bono project to support reconstruction efforts.

Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in February 2010, Dionysia, as a member of the Euro-American Women’s Council, contributed to the fundraising efforts to reconstruct Haiti and to this end she was also awarded the Global Citizen Award for Leadership in Helping Humanity by the “Orphans International Worldwide” (OIW), an international NGO. She currently supports one of the projects of the OIW to found a university at Port-au-Prince. Further, Ms. Avgerinopoulou, as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, supports an initiative led by other Young Global Leaders, to offer high quality education to orphans after the earthquake and the tsunami in Japan in 2011.

In her capacity as the Deputy Head of the Environmental Sector of the New Democracy Party, the major opposition party in Greece, Dionysia places additional importance to the prevention and preparedness policies of the country, while she often exercises parliamentary control over the completion of the reconstruction efforts in various places in the country.  She also participates in reforestation efforts both in Greece, and abroad, such as in Haifa, Israel, after the fires of February 2010.

Last, but not least, Dionysia proposed the establishment of a regional voluntary coordinating unit for disaster response for Southeast Europe and the Middle East under the auspices of the European Union and the United Nations to facilitate efficient and effective coordinating assistance, while she supports the work of the newly established Environmental Emergencies Center under the auspices of the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit (JEU). Dionysia, upon receiving the award, asked the international community to place additional emphasis on the prevention of man-made environmental emergencies and she devoted her award to her compatriots in the Prefecture of Ilia, Southeastern Greece, since the region has not yet recovered after the wildfires in 2007.

(For more information on the award, please visit: www.unep.org/greenstar and http://www.unep.org/greenstar/laureates/2011/theodore.asp.)

Avgerinopoulou message on the occasion of this year’s commemoration, paying tribute to the victims of the Greek, Armenian and Assyrian Genocides

Avgerinopoulou message on the occasion of this year’s commemoration, paying tribute to the victims of the Greek, Armenian and Assyrian Genocides

Οn the occasion of this year’s commemoration, paying tribute to the victims of the Greek, Armenian and Assyrian Genocides, organized and hosted by Panthracian Union of America ‘Orpheus’ and supported by the Hellenic League of America, outside the United Nations in New York, Ms. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou sent the following message:

Dearest friends and colleagues,

I join my voice with you here today, while you pay tribute to the victims of the Greek, Armenian and Assyrian Genocides. It is time to remind to the whole world, as represented by the United Nations, that these genocides occurred and they constitute crimes against humanity.

The recognition of the Genocides is an important act both for Hellenism all over the world and for the international community that should be largely supported. Such recognition will promote the rule of international law and will restore the historical truth and international justice. Most of all, it will educate future generations through the lessons of history and protect them from suffering under any similar devastating experience in the future.

Today, we honor those who passed away and we protect those that will be born.

My warmest greetings