Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou is to deliver the opening address of the "10th Annual Symposium of Symi" organised by the Andreas G. Papandreou Foundation, which begins on the Aegean island of Paros on Monday night.
Among those taking part are 30 internationally acclaimed politicians, business people and academics that include intellectuals, Nobel prize winners and activists, while the symposium is scheduled to end on July 20.
The subject for this year's is the environment and climate change - one that is particularly relevant in Greece after the recent ecological destruction of Parnitha and the unique national park on the mountain by a devastating fire.
Discussion will cover climate change, alternative energy sources, energy security and the so-called "green" economy, divided up into the following units:
"Green Economy: who will lead the next economic revolution??
After Kyoto: How to design a New World Agreement;
Energy: A safe transition to the future of alternative solutions;
The role of non-governmental organisations in formulating environmental policy;
Climate change in the developing world.
In addition to discussions on the central theme of this year's Symposium, there will also be working groups to discuss current international issues, such as political developments in Turkey in view of the parliamentary elections and its relations with the European Union, as well as the role of Russia.
Next Thursday there will be a joint meeting of the Symi Symposium with representatives of Greek environmental organisations that will focus on the role that they can play on deciding policy for the environment.
The aim of this year's Symposium according to an announcement by the Papandreou Foundation, which this year is headed by former minister and veteran PASOK member Costas Laliotis, is to make a decisive contribution to the further discussion and formulation of the party's programme positions and policies for the environment and to further sensitise Greek public opinion on this issue.
It will end next Friday with a speech by PASOK's leader, during which the conclusions of the Symposium will be presented.
The Symposium was organised by the Andreas Papandreou Foundation for the first time in 1998 on the island of Symi, which lent its name to subsequent versions of the event, each year on a different Greek island.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.
Speaking during the second day of his tour of the island, Alavanos said that "under the policies being followed in the past years, and especially by the government of New Democracy, Greece is turning into charcoal."
He underlined that the current policy for the environment did not yield results and this was also obvious on Samos, which had a huge volunteer movement that was a model for the rest of Greece and fire-fighting aircraft stationed on the island that, however, required an order from Athens in order to fly. SYN's leader pointed out that this wasted valuable time when the fire could be put out at its inception.
"There is a need for a true policy for protecting forests from fire, which means having a single body, in order words to coordinate the fire brigade, the forest service, volunteers, prefectures, everyone," he pointed out.
Alavanos also stressed the need for funds, pointing out that the local forestry service had been virtually left without any money to deal with basic issues chiefly concerning prevention, while local government had neither the right nor the money to intervene, either for prevention but also for fighting fires and then restoring the damage done.
Lastly, he pointed to the need for more staff and repeated a call to give permanent jobs to fire-fighters currently employed through temporary contracts.
Alavanos was briefed by the Pythagoria Mayor and Samos Prefect about the shortfalls, the extent of the damage and the measures that must be taken immediately in order to alleviate serious problems now faced by the area's inhabitants.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alekos Alavanos.
The concert was to take place in the framework of the 2nd World Congress of Orthodox Youth being organised in Istanbul by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and was to be the closing event of the congress.
Strong protests had appeared in recent days in the Turkish press over the licence granted for the Dalaras concert, given that the Turkish Archaological SErvice has prohibited the use of the theatre in order to protect it.
The Rumeli Hisar is a 15th century fortress built north of Istanbul by Mohamed the Conqueror in order to obstruct the Russian fleet from sailing to Constantinople to enable completion of the siege of the city.
An international dance festival was held at the theatre for several years, until its use was prohibited by the Archaeological Service.
Several Turkish newspapers also protested that the licnece was issued for a concert by Dalaras, whom they described as a nationalist and anti-Turk, noting his membership in organisations supporting Abdullah Ocalan.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of concert featuring popular Greek singer George Dalaras.