Portugal has announced that it will advance the goal of creating 30% of protected marine areas by 2026, a target initially set by the United Nations for 2030.
At the latest Sustainable Blue Economy Investment Forum in Estoril, the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, emphasized the deep and historical connection of the country with the sea and its need to invest in it.
"Portugal has jurisdiction over nearly 50% of the European maritime space and nearly 50% of the respective seabeds and subsoils," explained Costa. It is one of the largest maritime zones in the world and the second-largest maritime area in the EU, which presents specific responsibilities and challenges. In this regard, he stressed the importance and urgency of acting to protect the oceans, including the timeline.
Furthermore, in the opening speech of the Forum, Costa stated that Portugal is striving to strengthen the role of the maritime economy "in European strategic competitiveness, supporting the development of oceanic renewable energies and promoting technological innovation in the field of the Blue Bioeconomy."
In this regard, he pointed out key strategies such as the focus on oceanic renewable energies and different proyects about blue economy. Moreover, he added that Portugal would soon open a period for participation in various related projects by the end of the month.
It is not the only plan on his strategy, he also stated that Portugal is developing EUR 87 million (USD 91 million) in funding from the PRR for the Blue Hub, a network of research and development centers and universities focused on marine science, technology, and innovation. Undoubtedly, another way to expand the Blue Economy is by promoting synergies and knowledge transfer between entities and companies.
The II edition of the Sustainable Blue Economy Investment Forum (SBEIF) is set for October 4th, 2023. It follows its successful launch in 2022 alongside the UN Ocean Conference. Portugal aims to mobilize economic stakeholders, promote sustainable blue economy financing, and align with UN Sustainable Development Goal 14. SBEIF 2023 highlights the importance of ocean conservation and economic growth, adheres to UN Global Compact principles.