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Outermost Region Biodiversity Must Be Protected

Socialist Party MEP, Sara Cerdas, recently questioned the European Commission on how it is ensuring that Europe’s outermost regions (ORs) are developing in terms of biodiversity and what mechanisms it intends to develop to guarantee the conservation of species and ecosystems, citing the Laurissilva forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as an example.

As the MEP pointed out, 80% of Europe’s biodiversity potential is found in the ORs and, therefore, special attention should be paid to these areas, considering their added value for the development of future strategic sustainable environmental programmes, such as, renewable energies, as well as the importance that their unique heritage represents for Europe and for the world.

She further argued that “biodiversity protection must be at the heart of European policies and that the European Commission should provide specific support for conservation initiatives within the OR’s.” However, she admitted that it was also “up to the governments of these regions to continue to preserve biodiversity and promote projects which aim to support ecosystems and endemic species.”

Passionate about Madeira’s natural heritage, Sara Cerdas, maintains that biodiversity is only possible with people and projects that take care of the mountains, protect forests, and maintain farming activities. Concluding that “over the years I have noticed, especially on the north coast of Madeira, that the land and mountains are occupied by invasive plants, jeopardising the existing biodiversity, the Laurissilva forest, and even increasing the risk of fire. We need mechanisms that protect our environment, that include combating depopulation, attracting, and encouraging people to live on the north of the island as well as promoting sustainable agriculture and nature initiatives.”

Watch this space.

Samantha Gannon

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