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Climate action, circular economy, and safeguarding populations are priorities for the Government of the Azores – Alonso Miguel

Climate action, circular economy, and safeguarding populations are priorities for the Government of the Azores – Alonso Miguel

March 15, 2024

The Regional Secretary for the Environment and Climate Action, Alonso Miguel, presented his department's priorities today in the Regional Legislative Assembly as part of the presentation of the Programme of the XIV Regional Government of the Azores.

"It is with the reaffirmation of sustainable development as the transversal foundation of government action that we will give a firm response to the challenges we face, continuing with the new paradigm of public policies that began at the end of 2020," he said, speaking in the city of Horta.

The Regional Secretary emphasised that environmental literacy "is a key element in guaranteeing a balance between environmental preservation and the economic and social development of the Region".

He continued: "To this end, we will develop a Regional Environmental Education and Awareness Strategy, reinforcing the school environmental awareness activities offer".

"We will also invest in the rehabilitation, modernisation and technological innovation of the Region's Environmental Interpretation Centres Network, which are an exceptional tourist asset, as well as a fundamental instrument in terms of environmental education," he added.

There will also be a commitment, he said, "to implement projects that are relevant to the Region, such as the Monitoring and Bioremediation of Contaminated Soils on Terceira Island and the preparation of the Regional Radon Plan".

The Regional Secretary explained that "since it is estimated that almost twice as many resources as the planet can generate are being consumed each year, it is essential to speed up the transition to a circular economy and focus on optimising waste management to meet the targets set at national and EU level".

"To this end, we will draw up the new General Waste Prevention and Management System, as well as implement the Azorean Strategic Waste Prevention and Management Programme, PEPGRA 20+, and make the Azorean Circular Economy Agenda operational," he announced.

"We will also continue with the modernisation and technological innovation of the Region's Waste Processing Centres and will reinforce investment in the 'Eco-Freguesia' programme," he continued.

For Alonso Miguel, in calling for the protection and revitalisation of ecosystems, "it is important to ensure a robust strategy for the conservation and restoration of nature".

"As such, we intend to revise the Legal Framework for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity Protection, create the Regional Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Alien and Invasive Species, approve and revise the Management Plans for the Island Nature Parks, as well as draw up the Nature Sports Charters for all the islands, determining the carrying capacity of protected areas with tourist pressure," he emphasised.

"It is essential to prepare the Region for the contingencies of the climate emergency, guaranteeing the protection of people and property and safeguarding our natural heritage in the face of the serious risks involved. To this end, we will continue to make the Regional Climate Change Programme operational, we will start implementing the Azores Carbon Neutrality Roadmap and set up the Atlantic Climate Observatory in the Azores in collaboration with the IPMA," he also said.

Alonso Miguel stated that "the resources available for the requalification and maintenance of the Azorean Hydrographic Network will be reinforced, providing all the islands with adequate operational equipment to ensure effective intervention in the water lines, both in terms of prevention and in terms of response capacity in the event of occurrences".

The Environment Governor also said that the "Flood Risk Management Plan for the Autonomous Region of the Azores will be revised and the respective emergency plans and warning systems will be developed".

At the end of his speech, the Regional Secretary also argued that "the commitment to a well-organised, properly equipped Regional Civil Protection and Fire Service, with a valued career and the ability to guarantee preventive action, rapid and effective response, is essential to avoid the loss of human life, protect property and contribute to preserving individual and collective safety".

He went on to say: "We are committed to investing in the stability and financial predictability of the Humanitarian Firefighters' Associations and in optimising the actions and coordination of all Civil Protection agents, as well as investing in enhancing the career of firefighters, while at the same time creating teams in the fire stations that can provide an immediate response to emergency and disaster situations".

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