“The focus on smart and digital villages” is one of the ambitions for the future of the Algarve region and was one of the central themes addressed this week in the session “Development and valorization of endogenous resources in low-density territories”, at the Museum do Traje, in São Brás de Alportel.
As an overview of what is being done, results of the work developed within the scope of the Action Plan for the Development of Endogenous Resources (PADRE) and partnerships with local authorities and local development associations were presented. The upcoming challenges and opportunities within the framework of the ALGARVE 2030 Regional Program were also listed.
The initiative was promoted by the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR) and the ALGARVE 2030 Regional Program together and in partnership with the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL). The opening session was attended by Vítor Guerreiro, president of the Municipal Council of São Brás de Alportel, Brandão Pires, first secretary of AMAL, and José Apolinário, president of CCDR Algarve.
In his speech, the president of CCDR Algarve, José Apolinário, highlighted the importance, not only of taking stock of the work carried out, but, essentially, of “ projecting the future ”. Thanking AMAL “for their collaboration, execution and commitment to this project”, he warned of the current demands and the essential need for “ support from municipalities, parishes and networking ”.
Although the population increased by around 4% between 2011 and 2021, in the Algarve, there was a decline in the Interior and the average age increased, calling on José Apolinário to present and promote new projects to be carried out by municipalities and parishes, with “the bet in smart and digital villages ” one of the ambitions for the future. Vítor Guerreiro highlighted “the importance of support from the CRESC ALGARVE 2020 Regional Operational Program for the development of projects in São Brás de Alportel, including the Casa da Memória on Estrada Nacional 2, an important resource that generated great dynamics and attractiveness, as well as the Casa da Serra in Parises, a small interpretive center in Serra do Caldeirão, which revisits ancestral traditions and knowledge”.
In the debate panel “ Endogenous Resources Development Plan and Action: What results?”The impacts on communities and rural and low-density territories were highlighted. With an initial allocation of 9 Million Euros (M€), 47 operations were approved with a total investment of 16.9 M€ (and an expected contribution of 11.9 M€ from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as a result of the reinforcement of participation). At the moment, PADRE records an execution rate of 87%, corresponding to investments made in the amount of €11.2 M (€7.8 M ERDF). The data was presented by Filomena Coelho (Technical Secretary of the ALGARVE 2030 Regional Program), in a panel also attended by Artur Gregório (Associação In Loco), Aura Fraga (Vicentina – Associação para o Desenvolvimento do Sudoeste), Ricardo Bernardino (Associação Terras do Lower Guadiana),
In the second part of the session, ' PADRE 2030: renewed challenges and opportunities',Oliveira das Neves, consultant, presented the 'Intelligent Villages' project, and Brandão Pires reinforced the importance of PADRE for rural territories and low population density, the need for greater intervention by AMAL, to revisit the theme of territorial planning and to mobilize municipalities and parish councils. He also highlighted the relevance of an analysis of the territory covered by PADRE, due to its different characteristics, supporting an integrated approach in leveraging its resources. Aquiles Marreiros, executive member of the ALGARVE 2030 Regional Program, moderated this panel, highlighting “the main differences compared to the 2020 period, namely the reinforcement of the PADRE allocation”, which will have more than €30 M, “the priority to strengthening chains of value associated with regional endogenous resources.
The presentations made in this initiative can be seen HERE.