UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon
The second UN Ocean Conference begins today in Lisbon. The forum aims to focus attention on the desolate state of the world's oceans and emphasise the role of a sustainable global ocean policy in protecting the climate. In Portugal, one of the EU's most maritime states, the country's ambivalent relationship with the ocean provokes discussion.
The sea no good for short-term investment
Público doesn't believe that the politicians' talk about making the sea a key priority for Portugal will be followed by concrete action:
“Portugal has not set an example for anything that requires strategic vision, study, work with no immediate returns, time and investment. If the sea could be used intensively and would yield profits tomorrow, as is the case with intensive olive cultivation, the country would have long since become a maritime power. Unfortunately, sustainable fishing, green energy, biotechnology and biodiversity are very expensive issues that do not yield results within a single electoral cycle. The sea remains a promise, just as the whole country is a promise. We live only for the day or the next election.”
Portugal can play a leading role
Portugal faces an enormous challenge, writes Tiago Pitta e Cunha, executive director of the Lisbon-based marine foundation Oceano Azul, in Expresso:
“Our survival depends on the ocean, so it is urgent to address this blind spot. ... This conference is a unique opportunity for Portugal to demonstrate its leadership on the international seas agenda. The sea is our country's most important natural asset. Portugal must resolutely invest in the conservation and development of this capital. As a country, as a state and as a civil society, we are far from moving in the right direction and at the right speed.”