The activities for the protection of the Environment in Geneva are concentrated mainly in the Regional Office for Europe of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and at the regional level at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which has under its auspices five regional Conventions and a number of Protocols. However Geneva and the town of Gland are also the seat of the Secretariat of a number of International Conventions as well as of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Greece has a strong and constant interest in the protection of the environment. Its long history and its geographical position constitute two powerful reasons for this. At the international level Greece follows closely the work of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), is involved in the work of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and has actively participated in the Earth Summit Conferences of Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and of Johannesburg in 2004.
The city of Athens is the host to the Secretariat of the Coordinating Unit for the Mediterranean Action Plan (MEDU). This Action Plan is the operational arm of the Barcelona Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean. The main fields of activity of the Mediterranean Action Plan are combating land-based pollution, preventing marine accidents and illegal discharges from ships, safeguarding natural and cultural resources, managing coastal areas, and integrating environment and development.
Greece is also participating in an important number of multilateral and regional environmental agreements and conventions and in particular:
Regional environmental conventions, under the auspices of the United Nation Economic Commission for Europe:
− Convention of Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (1983*). Greece has also ratified a number of the protocols of this convention and it is in the process of ratifying others.
− Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (1998*).
− Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (1996*).
Regional Seas Conventions:
− Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean – Barcelona Convention (2003*). This Convention replaced the Convention of 1978.
− Plan of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Sustainable Development of the Coastal Areas of the Mediterranean (Mediterranean Action Plan or MAP Phase II) of 1995. This Action Plan replaced the Mediterranean Action Plan of 1975. Greece has also ratified or is in the process of ratifying other protocols of the above convention.
− Convention on the Conservation of the Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1987*). It is to be noted that Greece is not a member of the Commission that functions in the framework of this Convention.
− Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (1988*).
− Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1995*). Greece has also ratified the three amendments to the Protocol in 1993 and in 1996.
− United Nations Convention on Climate Change (1994*).
− Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (2002*).
− Convention on Biological Diversity (1994*).
− Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity (2004*).
− United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification (1997)*. Greece also participates in the 4th annex of the Convention, which covers the Northern Mediterranean Region.
− Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (1994*).
− Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (2003*).
− Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (2006*).
− Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (1975*). Greece according to the provisions of this Convention has declared ten sites as wetlands of international importance, of a total surface area of 163,501 hectares. It also participates with 25 other Mediterranean countries in the Mediterranean Initiative, commonly known as Med Wet, of this Convention and hosts the secretariat of the Initiative in Athens.
− Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora of 1993. Greece has also ratified the two amendments of this Convention in 1993 and 2003.
− Convention on Migratory Species (1999).
Finally Greece participates to the International union for the Conservation of Nature (1970) along with five Greek non-governmental organizations.
*The asterisk designates the year in which Greece became a party to the convention or protocol.