The Government issued a Council of Ministers Resolution yesterday, May 6, 2021, approving the 2021-2030 National Ocean Strategy (NOS), a programmatic document governing ocean-related political actions and enshrining the Government’s commitment to protect the ocean and ensure the sustainable development of its many opportunities. The act is in line with global and European commitments, namely the United Nations Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water – “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” -, the European Blue Agenda and the European Ecological Pact.
With a coastline of 2,500 km, an exclusive economic zone of 1.7 million km2, making it one of the largest in the world, and an expected extension of the continental shelf up to 4.1 million km2, Portugal is a global leading voice when it comes to the ocean. In addition, the mainland, Azores, and Madeira triangle gives Portugal jurisdiction over 48% of the waters adjacent to the European Union, which reinforces its position in the European Atlantic pillar.
The NOS is aligned with the progress of the international ocean agenda and seeks to “promote a healthy ocean to enhance sustainable blue development, the welfare of the Portuguese people and affirm Portugal as a leader in ocean governance, supported by scientific knowledge”. It is organized around 10 Strategic Objectives that intersect with 13 Priority Areas.
The 10 objectives are organized in four dimensions: environmental, geopolitical, social, and economic. Driven by the concern to combat climate change and restore marine ecosystems, the NOS focuses on promoting renewable energy, sustainability and food security, employment and circular economy, reindustrialization (for example in the field of bio-economics or ocean engineering), or the use of desalination to ensure drinking water.
This entire strategy is a byword for “sustainability” and “digital”. The financial support to be developed for its implementation will be predictably linked to these cross-cutting aspects.