Thursday, 18 April 2013

Birdlife International highlights Priolo's conservation in Brussels

Birdlife International promotes a meeting today, April 17, in Brussels aimed at technicians and the responsible sector of the European Commission under the topic "How can Nature leverage other sectors?". One of the highlights of this event is the Priolo's conservation, in the Azores, as an example of the economic impact that the nature conservation projects can have on local economies.

This meeting is organized by the European division of Birdlife International, joining the technicions from the conservation projects and responsible for the development and implementation of European policies on environment, agriculture, cohesion and marine. Thus it is intended to share best practices and results showing the importance of nature conservation in Europe as a way to develop other sectors in a more sustainable way.

The Priolo's conservation, which will be presented by the project's coordinator Joaquim Theodosius from SPEA, has been a good example of the importance of these projects to foster a comprehensive and more integrated the economies of the rural areas. The importance of the project is reflected for example in terms of job creation, with about 20 direct jobs annually in the municipalities of Nordeste and Povoação, or on the over 150 companies already covered by the project in Azores, as well as its impact in the Region's GDP, estimated in 2008 at about € 350,000 of annual contribution. Also in terms of the recovery of natural areas that provide important services to the population (quality and quantity of water and soil protection, for example).

Another important aspect has been the promotion and dissemination of the Azores and its natural heritage that has been a major point of attraction on the tourist level. At this level there is the process that led to the awarding of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism to the Lands of Priolo (counties of Nordeste and Povoação), as well as the Priolo Brand (who has recorded 20 applications for membership from businesses). The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism and the Priolo Brand Priolo are excellent examples of good practice in the management of nature and public participation, allied to local development, being the subject of interest from several participants of this seminar. These participatory processes ongoing in the Azores are still quite pioneering in Portugal.

At the end of last week, the Ornithological Tourism in the Azores and the socioeconomic impact of the Priolo's conservation projects and its habitat in the region, were highlighted at the seminar organized by the Castro Verde League for the Protection of Nature devoted to "Tourism Potentials ornithological for sustainable development of rural areas in Portugal".

For Angelo Caserta, European Division of BirdLife International Director and knowledgeable of the Priolo's conservation project, "the work done to save the Priolo has been an example not only on preserving a European and world natural heritage but also in getting clear benefits for the local people". This is one of the five examples to be presented at the meeting today in Brussels to which for the Director of Birdlife are "examples to be repeated across Europe."

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