Global Sustainability Goals

Algarve shows worst results in sustainable development

Assessed this week by the ODSlocal Platform, which monitors regions and municipalities within the scope of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda, the Algarve has revealed the lowest total of Sustainable Development Goals.

According to a report by the ODSlocal Platform, on the NUTS II level (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics – a classification system that enables cross-border statistical comparisons at various regional levels within the EU), the Algarve region “is the one that presents the lowest total of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)with the two most mentioned situations. However, in contrast, it reveals a very good position in three SDGs”, revealsthe platform.

In general, the Quality Education and Clean Water and Sanitation SDGs obtain the most favourable results, while the most critical situations relate to Zero Hunger (which includes goals related to agricultural systems) and Climate Action.

However, there is some positive. The survey carried out by the platform highlights the municipalities with the best performance in terms of Life Below Water, including Aljezur, Faro, Lagoa, Loulé, Portimão, Tavira, and Vila do Bispo (Protecting Marine Life).

In fact, the Climate Action SDG is the only negative performance (less than 25%) in the Azores region, which is set to achieve (more than 75%) its targets for Clean Water and Sanitation and Life Below Water, positive performances (50 to 25%) in five other objectives and excellent performances (75 to 50%) in nine SDGs.

Regarding the NUTS III level, most sub-regions already achieve very favourable values compared with targets “in at least 11 of the 17 SDGs”. In a less favourable situation are the Alto Tâmega, Douro, Trás-os-Montes, Beira Baixa, Alentejo Litoral and Algarve regions, which reach the top two categories in just nine SDGs. However, some of these sub-regions achieve “very favourable results” in relation to some SDGs, meaning that “only five NUTS III are included in the least positive categories”.

These favourable results include Quality Education and, at a slightly lower level, Clean Water and Sanitation, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and Partnerships for the Goals. On the other hand, the results relating to ZeroHunger, but also Climate Action, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Gender Equality “suggest the need for very significant improvements”.

In the case of Climate Action, the sub-regions of Tâmega e Sousa, Viseu, Dão and Lafões, Lezíria do Tejo and Azores have a negative performance, a situation also observed in the Coastal Alentejo for ResponsibleConsumption and Production, and Trás-os-Montes for Life Below Water.

The coordinator of the ODSlocal Platform, João Ferrão, considered that the results demonstrate that “the 2030 Agenda is not something only achievable by large municipalities or by a sub-universe of Portuguese municipalities”.

“A proactive intervention from the local authority in these areas is always essential; without it, it is very difficult to have positive progression. However, this positive progression depends on local partnerships, interventions at a regional level, interventions at national level and even decisions at a global level”, defended the Institute of Social Sciences researcher.

However, he noted, “for example, indicators of Gender Equality or Decent Work and Economic Growth or Climate Action” are “making less positive progress”, and “this encourages proactive policies to accelerate the desired progression”.

“It implies proactive authorities and also includes a demanding civil society, but it also includes NGOs [non-governmental organizations], companies and schools. Therefore, it is not an issue based only on the responsibility of A, B or C. The greater this dynamic and interaction, the better”, he believes.

Applications for the ODSlocal award, which aims to distinguish three national projects that positively impact the advancement of the 2030 Agenda, can be made on the platform until September 30.

The project category award will be awarded at the ODSLocal 2023 Conference on November 3, in Viana do Castelo, where several initiatives from local authorities and society agents that stand out for their contribution to sustainable development will be presented.

The platform counts 111 participating municipalities, from which 1,393 municipal good practices and 979 local projects developed by various entities have been registered.

“The message is that, as the United Nations and the OECD say, the battle for the 2030 Agenda will largely be won or lost at a local level because it is the level of mobilization, involvement and concrete actions”, concluded João Ferrão.