The environmental sector meets in Conama 2018 to promote the ecological transition in Spain

The environmental sector meets in Conama 2018 to promote the ecological transition in Spain


    • Minister Teresa Ribera invites to be bold and not self-limiting during her speech at the opening session
    • “Economic development must have a social base and an ecological roof”, said the mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena.
    • The Regional Minister for the Environment of the Community of Madrid, Carlos Izquierdo, highlights the importance of working in line with Agenda 2030.


The Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, inaugurated this morning the 14th edition of the National Congress on the Environment (Conama 2018) with a call to put the knowledge accumulated in recent years to the service of halting the growing environmental deterioration. Ribera has encouraged to “identify the challenges” in this area, “be bold and not self-limiting” in the task, during his speech at the opening ceremony of the biennial meeting that brings together all actors in the environmental sector.

The minister considers that “we need to know, and we already know enough, enough to know that knowing is not enough” and that it is necessary to act “relatively quickly” and in a “joint” way between all the administrations and society in general to achieve sustainable development and the ecological transition that is demanded from the department she heads.

“The time dimension is key”, Ribera stressed, but haste does not have to go hand in hand with injustice and other undesirable effects. It is very important “not to leave anyone behind” in the process, has qualified in reference to the necessary “distributive character” and fair that the transition must have.

In this sense, he has called for a “holistic vision” that takes into account not only all aspects of the issue, but also all the actors involved, including those who on many occasions “do not sit at the table” and are logically “concerned about the changes” that need to be implemented. He specifically alluded to the heavy industry of our country, which needs an unavoidable but orderly transition.

Finally, Ribera urged the establishment of “improvements in the routes shared by all” within a process in which it is essential to take into account “transversal vectors” such as those mentioned above.
The mayoress of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, has referred to the green ring used as a symbol of Conama 2018 to affirm that “economic development must have a social base and an ecological roof”, that is to say, that of the planet’s limitations. The circle also suggests the need for the different administrations to “give in and understand each other” in order to act together and without allowing themselves to be “subjugated by political labels”. “We tend to put medals on ourselves and to keep reproaches for others. The circle belongs to everyone,” he said.

Carmena has claimed the qualities of Plan A of his consistory, the only one, since “there is no plan B” in his opinion, and those contemplated in the initiative Madrid Central, which comes into effect in principle next Friday, November 30. “Madrid Central is the way to recover the city for pedestrians and end with an exaggerated protagonism of vehicles,” said the mayor.

Carmena does not doubt that the work will have the support of all administrations, convinced as she is that it is imperative to “complete what must be done”. “This is the task that corresponds to this generation, which must necessarily be done in this historic moment,” she said.

Carlos Izquierdo, Councillor for the Environment and Town and Country Planning of the Community of Madrid, highlighted the increase in environmental awareness since the first Conama was held in 1992 and the “commitment of all” to the Sustainable Development Objectives (ODS) and Agenda 20.30.

As part of his government’s programme, he has mentioned ongoing actions such as the revision of the Blue Plan Plus, a new Land Law in line with the Spanish Urban Agenda, improvements in sustainable mobility, a rural development strategy in Community municipalities and the plan to move from 48% to 52% of protected territory within the Madrid region.

For his part, the director of the ILO Office (International Labour Organization) for Spain, Joaquín Nieto, referred in his speech to the report by his organization and the Conama Foundation on The application of the ILO guidelines on just transition in the context of the Spanish energy transition. Nieto pointed out that “energy transition is an opportunity for economic development and employment”, especially in areas suffering from structural unemployment.

Also speaking at the inauguration of Conama 2018 was Jorge Arosemena, President of the City of Knowledge Foundation of Panama, who stressed the importance of working for sustainability by generating alliances. “To do each one’s own thing is insufficient, the task corresponds to all”, he affirmed.

Gonzalo Echagüe, president of the Conama Foundation, called for “rapid action to face challenges such as adaptation to climate change and loss of biodiversity, ensuring human well-being and creating opportunities for development and employment. It is a decisive time because, without radical change, we may not be in time to avoid global change. “We all want a greener, more sustainable and fairer world. Achieving it depends on what we do from now on,” he concluded.

Conama 2018 will be held in Madrid from 26 to 29 November. Over the next few days, more than 1,000 speakers will take part in the hundred technical, dissemination and participatory activities that make up the congress programme.

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