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Navarino Environmental Observatory (NEO), 5 Years of Operation

The model environmental observatory has recently celebrated five years of operation. The Navarino Environmental Observatory (NEO) of Costa Navarino has managed to establish Messinia as a reference point amongst the academic community, addressing the atmospheric composition, water resources, the geomorphological and climatic history of the eastern Mediterranean.

NEO was born out of a fruitful collaboration of the private sector with the research community. The three collaborating in the project, the company TEMES SA, the University of Stockholm and the Academy of Athens, renewed their collaboration for another 5-year period, presenting the results of the activity of NEO in a press conference on the 19th of May.

Mr. Achilleas Constantakopoulos, President TEMES SA, said: "NEO, its pioneering research and educational activity, keep environmental issues to the forefront of current affairs at local level and provide an incentive and example to all of us in the region to work with respect for the natural and human environment. NEO is a unique cooperation for European standards, highlighting the benefits of the partnership between academic and private sectors in this field. At Costa Navarino, our goal is to protect and highlight the natural wealth of the region. Messinia has become a scientific hub that attracts global attention in the field of climate change and an example of sustainable development".

Karin Holmgren, professor of Stockholm University and director of NEO, attested that the Centre came to fill a gap in scientific knowledge, while developing scientific tools for a range of areas related to the environment. "This is a unique partnership that transcends the border between the academic sector and the private-business-tourism sector, contributing to the success of research results and suggesting areas of research that are important to building a sustainable future".

The event was also addressed by the President of the Greek Republic, Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos and the President of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Ms Barbara Cannon. Mr. Pavlopoulos during his speech stated that by “studying the effects of climate change in the Mediterranean environment, NEO has offered an invaluable service to the perpetuation of the cradle of the Spirit and Culture”.

NEO has more than 37 publications in scientific journals, 7 doctoral theses in progress, eight international workshops, 22 courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate level, six partner organizations from Greece, Europe and the US, more than 220 visitors per year and over 2,500 students at the Navarino Natura Hall, as well as actions to inform local communities.

NEO has focused its activity in the following areas over the past 5 years:
• Study of changes in atmospheric composition and climate change.
• Change in coastal geomorphology and topography.
• Evaluation of the contribution of climate and environmental changes in urbanization and the impact on tourism.
• Study of physical "files" for the investigation of climatic and environmental changes in the past.