The weighty importance of the role of the Region of Attica in the country’s development path, but also its transformation into a “sustainable and environmentally friendly one, with the NSRF as an ally and a vehicle for the utilization of new technologies, which is also a key priority of the new administration”, he pointed out the newly elected regional governor of Attica, Nikos Hardalias, in his speech, at the 7th Sustainability Conference for Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean, organized by the Economist.

In particular, Nikos Hardalias, speaking about how the Region of Attica can become greener and more sustainable, described the effort to reconstruct the productivity of Athens as “vital for the impetus of the national development of Greece”. Citing data from an OECD survey, he said that the Attica Region contributes approximately 48% of the national GDP and 43% of employment. It has the highest GDP per capita (23.3 thousand in the year 2018) and one of the lowest unemployment rates (13% Q1 2021) among the 13 regions of the country. He emphasized that the metropolitan character of the Region of Attica influences and determines the country’s key figures in the European and global context, as with the country’s growth rate of 2% per year, Greece will return to pre-crisis levels in 15 years, while with a growth rate of the Attica Region of 3% per year, the recovery period is reduced by 7 years.

Referring to the title of his speech “It is not enough for governments to want, cities must be able”, Mr. Hardalias underlined that “effective integrated governance and planning of the metropolitan region of Attica is required in order to implement multi-sectoral strategies for economic development and better management of the negative effects of urban complexes, especially with regard to the objectives of sustainable development where the Region of Attica shows a low performance, such as, for example, the small amount of green space per inhabitant and square kilometer, the aging and energy-intensive building stock, the large rate of waste generation combined with low recycling rates. In addition, climate change is an additional threat, creating a particularly stressful environment for the citizens of our Region.”

The newly elected regional governor of Attica stated from the Economist’s platform that his main pursuit is the best performance in the environmental sector and in particular the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, but also the saving of energy, taking into account the principles of the circular economy both in daily practices and and in the planning and implementation of new projects.

And he went on to say characteristically: “For this reason, in the new “ATTIKI” program 2021-2027, we are activating a special environment and sustainability observatory, in collaboration with special scientific bodies such as the Academy of Athens, the Observatory and the EKPA, through which on a daily basis information will be provided on specialized environmental indicators of our Region”.

He stated that with the help of the European Commission and the NSRF resources – with 30% of them allocated exclusively for actions to deal with the effects of climate change – purely environmental projects will be accelerated, e.g. the completion of the drainage network of Eastern Attica, the reduction of leaks from the water supply networks and the bio-waste recycling units. “Our intention is to give incentives to the businesses of Attica, to become more “green” and more “friendly” to the environment”, emphasized the new regional governor clarifying that there is a structured plan with actions such as: The financing of public bodies based in Attica, to improve their energy class. Strengthening energy communities and promoting sustainable urban mobility, with projects such as the northern cycle axis from the center of Athens to Kifissia, with the condition of charging stations and replacement of vehicles in the region with new electric ones, with projects to rehabilitate contaminated areas and restore wetlands of Attica et al.

Concluding his speech, the newly elected governor of Attica, stated that the final project to be carried out in the Attica Region will concern the protection of the ecological capital of Attica, the sustainable and holistic utilization of water, the reduction of produced waste and recycling at the source. “With a specific road map and timetable, we aim in the next five years for the Region of Attica to take first place in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the regional level”, Mr. Hardalias emphasized, underlining that this challenge-commitment “constitutes for the entire new team of the Attica Region, a permanent bet of responsibility in the coming years”.