The National Action Program (PNA), which was in public consultation until March 21 and was approved by the Council of Ministers on May 28, 2021 (RCM 71-A/2021), implements, in the continental territory Portuguese, the strategic options defined in the National Plan for Integrated Management of Rural Fires (PNGIFR), approved and published in June 2020 (RCM 45-A/2020), namely the programmes, projects and initiatives that materialise the four strategic guidelines:
- Valuing rural areas: by 2030, Portugal will have a system that will monitor land cover and occupation, publicly provide quantified information on forest assets and fire risk and have a National Cadastral Information System.
- Taking care of rural areas: initiatives are planned that will allow 1.2 million hectares to be maintained by 2030 through machinery, pastoralism or controlled fire, and ensure that the forest exploitation of pine forests, eucalyptus trees and montados are actively managed. The areas that burn with more than 500 ha will have emergency and recovery plans executed and more than 80% of the rural agglomerations and priority urban-forest interface will be adapted to the fire.
- Modify behaviours: ignitions (intentional and negligent) will be reduced by 80% on days of high fire risk, compared to the 2010-2019 average, and it is expected that the entire territory with the highest risk of fire will be covered with surveillance mechanisms and that 100% of schools in the 1st and 2nd cycles of basic education will have a fire education program.
- Manage risk efficiently: the PNA predicts that by 2030 institutions will be strengthened in qualified human resources and governance and risk management mechanisms, allowing about 80% of the qualification program to be completed and 10,000 SGIFR agents to operate on the basis of revised and certified training. Re-ignitions are also expected to be no more than 1%.
Portugal with a future in rural areas
Through the implementation of the NAP, Portugal in 2030 will benefit from the following impacts:
- International and national recognition – Reduction of the problem of fires to acceptable levels, in which human victims and very severe fires are rare events, thus demonstrating the country’s ability to transform a tragedy into an opportunity, reinforcing national cohesion and trust of citizens and companies in the political system and public institutions;
- Global commitment to the SDGs and climate targets – Compliance with expectations to reduce CO2 emissions according to the Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050, avoiding the emission of 47 Megatons of accumulated CO2 equivalent by 2030, reduction of real and perceived risk and increased biodiversity;
- Contribution of 0.3% to GDP – Economic gain +701M€, resulting from the difference between the non-implementation of the programme (inertia scenario “Black Sky Forever”) and the “We Did It” scenario to be achieved in 2030, accounting for the decrease in economic and social damage caused by fires, additional goods and services generated in wild spaces and the increase in industrial GVA, essentially export-based;
- 60,000 jobs in the interior – with more than 21,000 direct jobs created in the active management of the territory and 39,000 indirect jobs in the management of infrastructures, logistics and exploitation of the services generated by the forest and pastoral spaces.
PNA: an integrated management tool for the leaders of public entities
The elaboration of the PNA was coordinated by AGIF, in articulation with the public entities of the Integrated Rural Fire Management System (SGIFR), which jointly built the programs, defined the projects, budgets and their goals, incorporating contributions from the main stakeholders. The PNA structures the programming of the actions for 11 years, in project sheets, which define, detail, schedule and budget the initiatives that will translate into a total expenditure of the system of 7 thousand M€ until 2030.
More than an action program, the PNA is a management tool for the leaders of public entities (AGIF, ANEPC, ICNF, GNR, FAP, IPMA) to establish an informed dialogue between their teams and with society and policymakers.
Starting from an integrated vision of planning to the recovery of burned areas, the PNA informs the process of governance and multilevel adaptive management (national, regional, sub-regional and municipal) and readjusts to the lessons learned or emerging challenges, being subject to annual monitoring.
The impact will translate into a prevention burden of 57% and 43% of the fight
To achieve these objectives, it is estimated that the financial resources needed by the PNA have an increased impact of + 371M€/year compared to that spent annually in the SGIFR (considering 2019 as a reference year), from 264M€ to 635M€ per year, which represents, over the horizon of the 11 years of the program, a total expenditure of 7 thousand M€.
The expenditure of € 635 million / year will be financed from multiple sources, especially community funds, which are expected to finance projects related essentially to the protection of the environment, capacity building of institutions and protection of communities. A relevant note is the almost complete inversion of the weight of the EO in the annual expenditure of the SGIFR from the current 70% to 34%.
Thus, there is a change in the capture of alternative sources of financing to the OE, which during the period of validity of the NAP should increase, namely under the new Community support framework for Portugal for the period 2021-2027, in addition to the effort to develop the capture of savings, synergies and administrative simplification measures and efficiency in the use of public resources.