The coordinator of the Heraklion Bar Association, Dr Georgios Sbokos visited as invited speaker between 18-30 September 2018 Boston, Massachusetts, to talk about the impact of the structural adjustment plans on environmental legislation. The HB coordinator presented the LIFE NATURA THEMIS program to 8 teachers and 50 doctoral and postgraduate students, linked the results of the THEMIS survey with the provisions of the three Memoranda of 2010, -12, -15 and the secondary national legislation. In addition, he attended a two-day seminar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on linking scientific research with political negotiation. In the course of the seminar, international negotiations were discussed (UN Conference on Climate in Paris, 2015, International Agreement on Mercury Reduction from Products and Procedures, 2013, Montreal Protocol on the Ozone Layer, 1989) and ways of linking the scientific knowledge in the decision-making process for the environment. During the workshop he had the ability to form and present a proposal for setting up a correction mechanism within an international organization to audit the environmental impact of rescue plans and bailout help terms.
UMass Amherst is a state university ranked No. 26 in USA according to the Best Colleges 2019 catalog published by the U.S. News & World Report. MIT is a private university ranked No. 1 worldwide in 2018-19 the last seven years according to the QS World University Rankings list.
The HB coordinator visited the Harvard Natural History Museum. The Museum was founded in 1998 and parts of its exhibits were subject of the University’s scientific research. The Museum hosts the Harvard University botanical collection (2 million species from all over the world), the Mineralogical and Geological Museum (600 distinct meteorites and about 1,500 samples). The message of the Museum to the visitor is to enhance the understanding and appreciation of the natural environment and the role of man in it. Its organization and the way the exhibits are presented have being an inspiring example to deliver to the Natural History Museum of Crete, one of THEMIS founding partners.
An important station during the stay in Boston was the Massachusetts Environmental Police. Although it was not possible to officially visit the office of the two environmental inspectors who work directly with an environmental Prosecutor at State level, the HB coordinator managed to collect brochure information from the Environmental Police Department on its prevention and repression measures in combating environmental crime in the state of Massachusetts.
Parker Island, a wildlife refuge located on the northeastern coast of Massachusetts, has been the last stop of the coordinator's visit to Boston. The shelter is a mixed terrestrial and marine protected area of great importance for more than 300 species of endemic and migratory birds, as well as a wide variety of mammals, insects, fish, reptiles and amphibians. An extensive network of wooden platforms allows access to people with disabilities and protects dunes and flora species from degradation. Access is forbidden at specific times of the year, and there is a regulatory framework for firefighting, hunting and bird watching.
Overall, during his visit, the HB Coordinator, sought to collect and document on the procedures, responsibilities and actions of environmental protection and management bodies in the state of Massachusetts. He identified potential future inter-university collaboration opportunities and was able to provide information on granting scholarships to interested PhD students in the Global Governance and Human Security program of UMass.