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ICLEI Action Fund Announces Awardees of €1 Million for Data-Driven Projects in Greece

Date

12 Jun 2024

Sections

Climate & Environment

2 June 2024 – Athens, Greece

The ICLEI Action Fund will grant 1 million Euros to three projects in the Greek cities of Athens, Vari-Voula-Vouliagmeni and Thessaloniki using different data sources and technology to implement inclusive climate actions. Led by ICLEI Europe through grant funding from Google.org, the projects will address critical climate challenges such as energy poverty, wildfire detection, and air quality management in Greece. The selected projects contribute to the goals of the EU Mission for Climate Neutral and Smart Cities and the EU Mission for Adaptation to Climate Change.

This marks the third edition of the ICLEI Action Fund's commitment to fostering data-driven environmental actions in Europe. From 2020-2023, the ICLEI Action Fund 1.0 awarded 2.5 million Euros to six non-profit and academic organisations across Berlin, Birmingham, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Nantes, and Oldham. Since 2023, the ICLEI Action Fund 2.0 has provided 7 million Euros to seven organisations in Stockholm, Dortmund, Rome, Glasgow, Barcelona, and Rotterdam.

The success of the ICLEI Action Fund to date has enabled us to launch this new round of projects in Greece. We received many high-quality applications, making the selection process highly competitive. The chosen projects in Athens, Vari-Voula-Vouliagmeni and Thessaloniki will leverage data and technology to address energy poverty, wildfire detection, and air quality management. We are confident these innovative, data-driven actions will promote inclusiveness and climate justice, showcasing the power of local initiatives in supporting the creation of resilient and sustainable cities in Greece” said ICLEI’s Regional Director Europe, Wolfgang Teubner.

Maria Founta, Google Country Marketing Manager, Greece, added: “Cities are at the forefront of global efforts to decarbonize and are motivated to act. We are proud to support ICLEI Europe in fostering a collective effort towards combating the impacts of climate change within Greek cities. We are confident that the 1 million EUR funding provided from Google.org will support the selected projects to have measurable impact in their communities and will serve as lighthouse examples to demonstrate how cross-sector efforts and public-private partnerships can accelerate the transition to a more sustainable future.

The projects will commence in June 2024 and will run for the next two years. For more information about the three projects, see below:

DRYARDS (Athens, Vari-Voula-Vouliagmeni)
Led by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), this project will develop DRYADS, an advanced AI-powered platform designed for the early detection and risk assessment of wildfires in the greater Athens area. The platform will utilise various data sources, including satellite imagery, weather data, and on-the-ground sensors, to predict and monitor wildfire risks in real-time. By providing early warnings and comprehensive risk assessments, DRYADS aims to mitigate the impacts of wildfires on natural landscapes and communities.
Prof. Nancy Alonistioti from the team added: “The DRYADS platform represents a transformative leap in forest management for Greece and other countries. By harnessing the power of AI and integrating diverse data sources, it not only enhances our ability to detect and respond to wildfires and anthropogenic risk factors early but also fortifies forest resilience against climate change. This innovative approach promises significant socio-environmental benefits, safeguarding our communities and natural landscapes from the compounded risks of wildfires and illegal waste disposal.

Athens Energy Portal (Athens)
The National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) is leading a project to establish the Athens Energy Portal, which aims to support energy-poor households and promote solar energy utilisation. This innovative portal will provide residents with access to crucial information about energy-saving practices, financial assistance programs, and solar energy options. By integrating various data sources and user-friendly tools, the portal will empower vulnerable households to reduce their energy costs and transition to renewable energy solutions, thereby contributing to the alleviation of energy poverty in Athens.
Eleni Kanellou, DSS Lab at NTUA mentioned: “By harnessing the power of smart technology and community collaboration, the Athens Energy Portal will not only transform the energy landscape of the city but also empower every resident to be a part of a sustainable future.”
 

MOBILAIR (Thessaloniki)
The Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) is spearheading an initiative to address air pollution and transport challenges in Thessaloniki. This project involves the development of an AI-powered mobile app that promotes eco-friendly urban mobility choices. The app will provide real-time data on air quality and traffic conditions, encouraging citizens to opt for sustainable transport options such as biking, walking, or using public transportation. This project aims to enhance urban air quality and align with national sustainability plans by engaging the public and prioritising citizen involvement.
Georgia Ayfantopoulou, Researcher Director, CERTH, highlighted the impact of MOBILAIR saying: "It is a collaborative initiative by the Hellenic Institute of Transport and AUTh, with support from the Municipality of Thessaloniki. This project revolutionizes air quality management for sustainable mobility in Thessaloniki by pinpointing areas with severe air quality issues for a just transition, creating an aggregated data infrastructure for long-term management, and implementing a data-driven approach to assess innovative, user-centric measures."

Note to the Editors:
Click here to learn more details about the ICLEI Action Fund.
Click here for an image of the ICLEI Action Fund. Please note: the image may be used only in conjunction with this press release.

About ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability: ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125 countries, we influence sustainability policy and drive local action for low-emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. ICLEI Europe provides members in Europe, the Middle East and West Asia with a voice on European and international stages, a platform to connect with peers, and tools to drive positive environmental, economic and social change. ICLEI Europe works closely with an extended network of local and regional governments and partners on a broad range of topics.

About Google.org: Google.org, Google's philanthropy, supports non-profits that address humanitarian issues and apply scalable, data-driven innovation to solving the world's biggest challenges. It accelerates their progress by connecting them with a unique blend of support that includes funding, products, and technical expertise from Google volunteers. It engages with these believers-turned-doers who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. Google.org wants a world that works for everyone—and believes technology and innovation can move the needle.

Press contact
Nidhi Misra
Expert Communications, Green Digital Transformation
ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
nidhi.misra@iclei.org

 

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