Press release from the Council of Ministers21 MAY 2020
1. The Council of Ministers today approved the National Plan for Integrated Wildland Fire Management (PNGIFR – Plano Nacional de Gestão Integrada de Fogos Rurais).
The PNGIFR introduces an innovative risk governance model and identifies strategic goals and measures to be implemented, defining the roles and responsibilities of each of the entities that work together towards achieving the targets set. It is a document in which all agents are involved and which aims at implementing the vision to protect Portugal from severe rural fires, setting out the strategy to achieve such a goal and the respective national and regional action plans, establishing the annual targets and indicators for monitoring of the plan.
2. A number of legislative acts on forestry were approved to make the territories more resilient to fire risk based on policies and measures for landscape restructuring that promote a multifunctional, biodiverse and more profitable forest, with increased carbon sequestration capacity and capable of producing and consuming improved ecosystem services. These legislative acts include:
– A resolution creating the Landscape Transformation Programme (PTP -Programa de Transformação da Paisagem) targeting forest areas with high fire risk.
This programme aims at making the territories more resilient to fire risk based on policies and measures for landscape restructuring that promote a multifunctional, biodiverse and more profitable forest, with increased carbon sequestration capacity and capable of producing and consuming improved ecosystem services.
The PTP complies with the guidelines of the Inland Development Programme, which aims at promoting landscape design as a framework for a new rural economy rooted in a multifunctional, biodiverse and resilient forest, and the guidelines set out in the National Plan for Integrated Wildland Fire Management, which introduces a new risk governance model and an integrated approach to tackle the problem of rural fires.
– A decree-law amending the legal framework for afforestation and reforestation activities in mainland Portugal using forest species. Below is a brief overview of the amendments that were introduced:
- The local authorities of the territorial areas in which afforestation and reforestation activities are to be carried out have been empowered to authorise such activities, provided they have a technical forestry office, with the exception of interventions involving eucalyptus trees and those in protected areas and the Natura network;
- Interventions that are part of applications submitted to financing programmes involving public or EU funding now require authorisation and prior notice;
- Shorter deadlines have been stipulated for reporting the start of afforestation and reforestation interventions;
- Part of the proceeds from fines (25%) will be allocated to the Permanent Forest Fund (reducing the percentage allocated to the government).
– Decree-law establishing the ‘Emparcelar para Ordenar’ Reparcel and Manage Programme
This programme for the reparcelling of rural land includes a credit line for land reparcelling and a non-refundable subsidy for the purchase of rural property located in vulnerable territories.
The aim is to promote the expansion of the size of rural property, thereby increasing the economic feasibility and sustainably of the farms operating on such properties or which will be established on those properties, and improving the spatial planning and management of these areas and, consequently, the resilience of the territories and the preservation and promotion of agroforestry activities.
– Decree-law amending the legal framework for forester-firefighters and forest-firefighter crews and brigades in mainland Portugal.
The project aims at enhancing the role of forester-firefighters in forestry policy measures to align the activities carried out by forester-firefighter crews with the forest fire protection measures and interventions set out in the Strategy of the National Plan for Integrated Wildland Fire Management.
– Decree-law approving the framework for the planned felling, unplanned felling, thinning or extraction of trees and the traceability of woody material.
The increased demand for wood and wood products worldwide, coupled with illegal logging and related trade, is an international concern. This law introduces a mechanism for the compulsory reporting of the planned felling of trees via a digital data platform called SiCorte, available on the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) website, which registers forest producers and operators and the submission of felling reports.
– Resolution providing for the creation of the Territorial Knowledge Task Force. The aim is to ensure the simplified cadastral information system is available nationwide and the development of information and interoperability systems to support the BUPi centralised property platform, including the creation of data and registration and cadastral information repositories that can be shared through the interoperability mechanisms created for such purpose.
– Approval of the resolution regulating the governance model for implementation of the Portuguese National Spatial Policy Programme (PNPOT).
It establishes that the governance model will be implemented by the Intersectoral Forum coordinated by the Directorate-General for Territorial Development (Direção-Geral do Território), whose mission is to draw up the spatial planning report.
The PNPOT defines a strategy for territorial organisation and development based on a long-term vision for the future of the country and serves as a national strategic framework for other territorial management instruments, for the territorialisation of public policies and for the planning of territorial investments funded by national and European programmes.
– Planning and management guidelines, priority interventions and the monitoring system of the Landscape Restructuring and Management Programme for the Monchique and Silves Mountain Ranges.
This programme was designed following the rural fires of August 2018 to promote landscape conversion initiatives. It is an experimental and innovative approach, designed to encourage the creation of new work processes and new content to be considered in territorial management instruments and sectoral policies.
The approved resolution allows for the implementation of the proposals, in tandem with the adoption of a set of policy instruments that govern and enshrine the extension of these types of planning and implementation interventions to other territories in a comparable situation.
– Decree-law approving the legal framework for landscape conversion under the Programmes for Landscape Restructuring and Management and for Integrated Landscape Management Areas, focusing not only on the property aspect of conversion, but also on the integration and coordination of the intervention, drawing attention to the need to find consistent solutions across the functional, economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects of the intervention areas.
3. The 2030 National Energy and Climate Plan (PNEC – Plano Nacional de Energia e Clima) was also approved.
This plan is the main national energy and climate policy instrument for the next decade geared towards a carbon-neutral future. The PNEC sets ambitious but achievable goals for 2030 and embodies the policies and measures for effective implementation of the guidelines set out in the Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050 and to meet the targets set.
It is a pioneering instrument that reflects a convergent and structured approach to promoting decarbonisation of the economy and energy transition towards carbon neutrality in 2050 as an opportunity for the country, based on a democratic and fair model for territorial cohesion that increases wealth generation and the efficient use of resources.
The PNEC 2030 positions Portugal as one the most ambitious countries in Europe in the fight against climate change, establishing a target for 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 45% and 55%, to produce 47% of energy from renewable sources, 80% of which in electricity production, and a 35% reduction in primary energy consumption.
Society was extensively involved in preparing the plan, which was drawn up in collaboration with the representatives of the associations representing the various sectors of economic activity, was open to public consultation and involved several presentations in different parts of the country and a strategic environmental assessment. It also involved coordination with the Autonomous Regions.
4. The National Hydrogen Strategy (EN-H2) was approved for public consultation.
The primary goal of this strategy is to introduce an incentive element and stability to the energy sector, promoting the gradual introduction of hydrogen as a sustainable pillar of a broader strategy for the transition to a decarbonised economy, as a strategic opportunity for Portugal.
5. The Regional Health Boards were authorised to purchase the flu vaccine.
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