Civil Society Network in the Context of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in Greece
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations member states in 2015 are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. It was only by 2018 that Greece has adopted a strategic approach to achieve the SDGs, ensuring political ownership. The country has introduced a “whole-of-government” approach, with an active operational Inter-Ministerial Coordination Network, steered by the General Secretariat of the Government, and a “whole-of-society” approach with a stakeholder engagement aiming at enhancing transparency, partnership and accountability. However, although the Voluntary National Review of 2018 included a reference to the engagement of NGOs, in practice this was extremely limited. There were very few consultations and activities, almost exclusively focused on environmental issues, even though relatively few of the 17 SDGs are related to the protection of the environment. Τhe ecosystem of Greek civil society includes few federations or second-tier organizations and networks. Most of them focus on specific areas of involvement and include NGOs and groups with similar objectives.
The aim of this project, based on the aims of the Active citizens fund call, is to create a new civil society network for the promotion of SDGs in Greece. The project aims to mobilize both formal and informal groups in urban and in rural areas, create cross-subject and cross-organizational synergies, promote cooperation and partnerships and strengthen advocacy and consultation with public bodies. The project promoter and project partner will use their long experience to start building a new Greek civil society community in the context of SDGs.
The project “Civil Society Network in the Context of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in Greece” is being implemented under the Active citizens fund in Greece by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and its partner Icelandic Human Rights Center (ICEHR).
The Active citizens fund in Greece is supported through a € 13.5 m grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as part of the EEA Grants 2014 – 2021. The programme aims to develop the sustainability and capacity of the civil society sector in Greece, and to strengthen its role in promoting and safeguarding democratic procedures, active citizenship and human rights. The Fund Operator for the Active citizens fund in Greece is Bodossaki Foundation in consortium with SolidarityNow. More information: www.activecitizensfund.gr/en/
The Bodossaki Foundation is one of the most respected privately-owned public benefit organizations in Greece. The Foundation is the culminating point of its founder’s brilliant course in life and remains the carrying vessel of the values and ideas that he faithfully served throughout his eventful life. The Foundation was established in 1972 by Prodromos – Bodossakis Athanassiades who decided to donate his entire fortune to support health care, equal opportunities, quality in education, scientific progress and environmental protection. The Foundation has a deep knowledge of social needs in Greece and has administered so far more than €450m supporting its causes.
The Bodossaki Foundation also supports NGOs working with socially vulnerable groups and has lately set the strengthening of civil society as one of its primary objectives. Since 2013 it administers the regranting facilities of the EEA Grants for civil society in Greece. More information: www.bodossaki.gr/en/
SolidarityNow (SN) is a non-governmental organization established in 2013 to respond to the needs, and advocate for the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, indiscriminately. SN’s Headquarters are in Athens, with large operations in Thessaloniki and activities across the country. The organization’s vision is to improve people’s lives and to empower them to create a just and inclusive society. SN’s actions fall under three main strategic priorities: a) Promoting safety and protection; b) Catalyzing livelihoods opportunities; c) Strengthening the independence of civil society and defending open society values. SN has supported 320,000 people to date, both through direct project implementation and through regranting programmes. Through its regranting initiatives, SN has supported 73 different programs and provided a total funding of € 14.4M to support Greek civil society organizations. More information: www.solidaritynow.org/en/
Project coordinator: Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos
Partner: Icelandic Human Rights Center (ICEHR)
Contact person: Alexia Mitsikostas, Project Manager: [email protected]
Project website: https://sdgsnetworkgreece.eu
News & Media
PRESS RELEASE – Creating a Network of Civil Society Organizations and Groups in the Framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (17 February 2022)
Civil society and the goals of sustainable development – Asteris Huliaras (Ta Nea, 2 March 2022)
Political participation: the transformation of Greece – Asteris Huliaras (Athens Voice, 15 September 2022)
Presentation of project by Eugenia Vathakou at 15th ART4MORE International Art & Mental Health Festival, 14 October 2022, “Antonis Tritsis” Park
Best practices relating to the training of NGO activists and on establishing linkages among NGOs: A contribution of the Icelandic Center for Human Rights (January 2023)
Interview with Margrét Steinarsdóttir, Director of the Icelandic Human Rights CENTRE (ICHR) (September 2022)
Α brief look at NGOs in Iceland (June 2022, Icelandic Human Rights Center (ICHR)