Portugal plots ocean territory expansion

Portugal plots ocean territory expansion

Portugal is set to extend its continental platform multiplying ocean territory by several times to grow national resources.

The project was initially presented in August 2017 to the United Nations which has power to approve the extension. The project continues to develop following a second round of presentations in February this year and is set to be approved early next decade, according to Portugal’s minister of foreign affairs, Augusto Santos Silva.

The minister broke the news to Lusa News Agency during a conference in Peniche, in the district of Leiria, to mark World Oceans Day.

An extension of the platform will greatly aid the country’s development with access to resources in the deep seas and the sea bed valuable for industry. This includes the use in the manufacture of medicines and other products.

According to Santos Silva, the expansion will enable Portugal “to find the sea again” after years of failing to utilise its potential, but he argued that for this to happen “there is a need to act on all fronts” where the oceans is concerned. The change will “increase our responsibility in terms of sovereignty and international security”, he said.

Mr Santos Silva has also called for Portugal to be a “leader in the management of the international agenda” for the sea, at a time when UN member states are debating the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Targets of the Agenda include the reduction and prevention of maritime pollution and the protection and safeguarding of eco-systems – all by 2020.

For 2030 the Agenda is focussing on increasing the benefits of marine resources for island states and less developed countries. This includes using scientific knowledge of the oceans to improve their state and biodiversity, and ensuring access for artisanal fishing and the conservation of fisheries.