Greece took a significant step towards a more sustainable future by announcing the establishment of a €2 billion Decarbonization Fund specifically tailored for the Greek islands.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the news during the 9th Our Ocean Conference held in Athens this week.

The Decarbonization Fund, backed by the EU Emissions Trading System, aims to connect the Greek islands with the mainland power grid, support renewable energy and storage infrastructure initiatives including offshore wind farms and the development of multipurpose water reservoirs.

Addressing the conference, a 2014 initiative by former United States special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry, Mitsotakis highlighted Greece’s commitment to accelerate the country’s transition to a ‘bluer’ economy with 21 initiatives totalling €780 million.

These time-specific actions include the creation of two new national marine parks in the Ionian and Aegean seas, a ban on bottom trawling in designated areas – the first such initiative in Europe – the implementation of an advanced surveillance system utilizing drones and AI, and ambitious targets for the reduction of plastic waste in Greek waters.

In this effort, Mitsotakis also referred to the urgent need to protect coastal areas, which recent legislation on beach and shoreline use aims to do.

The 9th Our Ocean Conference in Athens came to a close on Wednesday with 469 new commitments worth over an estimated $11 billion.