News from Portugal

Ecolojovem “Os Verdes” is the Portuguese Green Party youth organisation which was officially established on the 25th of February 1989. Our main objective consists of promoting youth intervention, by encouraging and mobilising the young ones to participate in the creation of a more ecological society, socially fair and dynamic. Ecolojovem “Os Verdes” is member of the National Youth Council (CNJ), which is a platform of Portuguese youth organisations. In CNJ we participate in several commissions, such as education, environment and social exclusion.

For the present year Ecolojovem “Os Verdes” is promoting a national campaign for water as earth’s most important natural resource. This campaign, called “Water is life. Water is a right”, started in October 2003 in Porto and it will end in March 2004 in Lisbon. As a vital resource, it is important to have better water quality and, in order to achieve this goal, we defend a higher pollution control, a better water management in the domestic and industrial sectors and a public management policy. This national campaign consists of three different tours, two departing from the north and one from the south, covering 18 regions of Portugal and heading towards Lisbon. The main intention is to carry a symbolic bottle of water, with the support of renowned public figures from sports, arts etc… Simultaneously we will promote debates and contacts with the local populations and explain the disadvantages of privatising water management systems. We also have a water manifesto for which we are collecting signatures.

From the 8th to the 10th of August 2003 we organised a summer camp in Vieira do Minho municipality, near Gerês National Park, in the north of Portugal. The participants, who came from different places of Portugal, had the chance to visit the Caniçada dam and to discover the Ave River. Contacts with the local population was also very important in order to promote our initiatives. Another important theme discussed during this summer camp was the forest fires issue, which had huge proportions in 2003 in Portugal. Considering that one of the main reasons that led to such an enormous burned area is the artificial forest based on eucalyptus and pine trees, Ecolojovem “Os Verdes” claims a better forest management, based on autochthonous species, the anticipation of the fire prevention period in order to implement proper forest policies and demand the need of more fire combat equipment. As a member of the National Youth Council, Ecolojovem also participated in the 9th National Youth Meeting (ENJ) from 23 to 26th October 2003 in Lisbon, called “Political Youth Participation”. For 2004 Ecolojovem “Os Verdes” intends to continue with the water campaign and other initiatives will be prepared on our next national meeting this month.

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