Originally posted in Atlantic Cities blog (November 2012)
In an Atlantic context marked by the crisis, the measures proposed must point to a balanced development of the territories as whole, avoiding artificial differentiation. The definition of the Atlantic Strategy and its Action Plan should reflect the development strategies identified by the Atlantic territories, allowing for a real participation of cities. There are also additional topics which would enhance both the territorial dimension and the macro-regional approach, and Biodiversity is one of them.
The Atlantic coast is characterised by a high level of preservation and attractiveness. The rich Atlantic biodiversity is, possibly, less threatened than the rest of the European continent, but extreme phenomena due to climate change, such as the Xynthia, Klaus or Becky storms, show that both prevention and adaptation measures are equally necessary. Likewise, the economic importance of the environment in the Atlantic Arc (the “Green Arc”) entails a series of opportunities and hazards that must be handled, such as the value of maritime assets, the increasing littoralisation of urban development and natural and technological hazards.
The Atlantic Strategy significantly claims an eco-systemic approach. However, it seems difficult to aim for resilience when the territory is not considered as a whole and geographical continuity is stopped at the seaside. The interactions inside the regions, the human intervention and the concentration of population should be also taken into account when putting the Atlantic Plan into action.
Similarly, in an integrated perspective, the Atlantic strategy cannot not do without actions in such areas as the fight against climate change or the preservation of the local economy through short delivery systems.
Therefore, the Strategy should aspire to protect the entire biodiversity of the Atlantic Area, setting sights on fragile environments such as rivers, estuaries, bays and forests; as they gather several endangered species and are key features of the Atlantic identity, attraction and prosperity. Moreover, the Strategy should capitalize on Atlantic cooperation projects, such as ANATOLE, AARC, BATFARM, CLIMATLANTIC, ECOSAL, NETALGAE, SPRES, SEAFARE, PARKATLANTIC, REINFFORCE, MESHATLANTIC, BIOTECMAR, PRESPO, FAME, MAIA, ANCORIM, ATLANTOX.