The 28th of July is marked as the moment when the importance of nature conservation is celebrated at national and international level.

According to ECO, responsibility began to gain dimension in recent decades in view of the rapid degradation of the environment, as a result of climate change which, in turn, began to assume serious dimensions by the hand of man. Ahead, the path promises to be challenging, forcing commitments and action plans to achieve them in order to preserve the environment, whether on land or at sea. Environmentalists consulted by ECO/Capital Verde identified four areas where, at this moment, it is urgent to act, calling for better management, public policies and funding.

Both environmentalists and the Court of Auditors have already alerted Portugal with regard to Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The country, like the other states of the United Nations Organizations (UN), is obliged to “Protect marine life – Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources” through several internationally agreed targets, such as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda. By the end of the decade, Portugal must guarantee 30% MPA, and during the Oceans Conference in Lisbon last year, the prime minister even reiterated this commitment. But according to the Court of Auditors "it is evident that the commitment remains difficult to implement".

“AMPs are internationally recognised as one of the main instruments for limiting human impact on marine biodiversity, conserving and enhancing ecosystems, and are a fundamental part of sustainability, mitigation, adaptation and resilience to climate change”, considers Rita Sá, Coordinator of Oceans and Fisheries from the ANP/WWF to ECO/Capital Verde, urging that “urgent efforts” be gathered.

Official data cited by the organisation indicates that only 4% of the Exclusive Economic Zone was designated as an AMP, a value that increases to 8.9% if the extended continental shelf is included, that is, the total area under national jurisdiction, although, considering the ANP/WWF, “ most of this area is only moderately protected ”. In both cases, the values ​​are far from 30%.

On the side of the environmentalist association Zero, an appeal is launched to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Action to create, and “urgently”, a mission structure to, in a very short term, inventory and propose the classification of areas, with the aim of time horizon the year 2030, so that “the logic of destroying the areas of greater value ceases to prevail and in the future classify degraded areas that need large investments to be restored”.

For example, earlier this month, the municipalities of Cascais, Mafra and Sintra approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the creation of the Protected Marine Area of ​​Community Interest (AMPIC). With the signing of this memorandum, two million euros will be invested in the project, of which one million euros will be provided by the Environmental Fund and 400 thousand euros by the Municipality of Sintra, 400 thousand euros by the Municipality of Cascais and 200 thousand by the Municipality of Mafra.

All 27 Member States of the European Union are required to report the conservation status of habitats and species every six years, but according to the ANP/WWF, it appears that the data up to 2018, compared to the previous period of 2007- 2012, reveal a deterioration in the conservation status of habitats and species in Portugal within the scope of the Natura 2000 Network. In general, habitats in a poor state of conservation increased from 6% to 29%, when compared to the period 2007-2012.