Municipalities in Terras do Infante want to create a protected maritime area on the Costa Vicentina

Terras do Infante Strategic Plan, approved by its Intermunicipal Assembly, has already been presented

The classification of a protected maritime area on the Costa Vicentina, like the newly created Pedra do Valado Marine Park (in Armação de Pêra bay), is one of the anchor projects included in the Action Plan of the Terras do Infante Association of Municipalities, presented on March 14 in Lagos.

This project aims to «create a natural and cultural reserve that reinforces the conservation of nature and its marine biodiversity, as well as the safeguarding of underwater archaeological heritage», highlights Terras do Infante.

The Action Plan stems from the strategic vision for this association of municipalities – which includes Lagos, Vila do Bispo and Aljezur -, which involves «affirming Terras do Infante as one of the most sustainable, attractive and inclusive territories in Portugal».

To achieve this ambition, the Terras do Infante Strategic Plan, approved by its Intermunicipal Assembly, identifies 14 strategic objectives, aligned with the Strategy for the Algarve 2030 and with financial instruments to support development, listing a total of 52 projects or measures.

Most of these projects or measures aim to make Terras do Infante a more inclusive, balanced and fair territory (with 16 measures), more biodiverse, attractive and sustainable (with 15 measures), more competitive, innovative and with a focus on the circular economy (with 11 measures), without discarding the aims of cohesion, orderliness and accessibility, as well as resilience.

The most important ones will be implemented within three years and the rest over a time horizon that could last up to ten years.

The Action Plan also includes other anchor projects such as the Intermunicipal Spatial Planning Plan, «a new integrative perspective capable of bringing added value to the Municipal Master Plans themselves», or the creation of an Integrated Landscape Management Area (AIGP) that organizes the infrastructural components, the forest, agricultural activities and the projection of the Atlantic belt, with a special focus on the territory of Aljezur, which is most vulnerable in this aspect.

The Plan also foresees the creation of a strategic plan for the development and promotion of tourism that focuses on territorial marketing and, in close relationship with municipal councils, trade associations and cultural entities, manages the various brands, as well as a intermunicipal planning plan for caravanning and motorhomes, which follows up and extends the study already carried out for the municipality of Lagos.

The document also includes a commitment to an intermunicipal agenda for the circular economy that leads to the certification of Terras do Infante in relation to the ISO 37120:2018 Standard, based on the preparation of a diagnosis on Sustainable Development and Quality of Life, replicating the municipality's experience of Vila do Bispo, and also the creation of an agency for the innovation, development and internationalization of clusters with socioeconomic potential that leverages local and regional entrepreneurship, takes advantage of the main territorial resources and the relationship between the coast (fishing and sea) and the interior (agriculture and forests).

Finally, it foresees the creation of the Intermunicipal Territory Support Office (GATI), a decisive technical structure to promote the many actions included in the Strategic Plan and provide integrated face-to-face services, in a model inspired by the Citizen's Stores.

The construction of this integrated territorial-based instrument, which translates the strategic guidelines for intermunicipal development for the territories of Aljezur, Lagos and Vila do Bispo, had as its starting points, «in addition to the usual documentary analysis, the carrying out of interviews and meetings with mayors , technicians and associations, field visits, and consultation with the population, promoted through a heavily participated online social survey».

These participatory methods made it possible to complete the diagnosis of the characterization of the current situation in the demographic and social, environmental, territorial, economic and governance dimensions, identifying territorial limitations, development issues and potential, that is, the resources to be mobilized or policies to be implemented. develop to resolve these territorial problems, adds the Terras do Infante association.

The preparation of the Terras do Infante 2030 Strategic Plan received technical support from GEO21, a territorial development consultancy company.