Portugal’s development co-operation activities and objectives are based on the respect of environment and climate action international principles, objectives and approaches to which the country has committed. Portugal has been co-ordinating approaches to implementing and achieving international climate and environment goals in various regional and international fora, not least with regard to the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Portugal is eager to enhance this co-ordination concerning the alignment of development co-operation approaches with international agreements on environment protection and climate action.

Portugal does not have specific targets in addition to the ones agreed to in the framework of international agreements and commitments under the UNFCCC.

Given Portugal’s decentralised co-operation system, Camões – Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua, I.P. (Camões IP), within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Action work closely together to fully align development policies and programmes with international climate and environment objectives, while also taking into account the priorities and strategies of its partner countries. There is a permanent and regular dialogue and co-ordination mechanisms in place to ensure that development policies and programmes meet the international targets and goals to which Portugal has committed.

Following OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) policy guidelines regarding the mainstreaming of environment and climate change into co-operation for development, Portugal has been regularly strengthening and refining its action in this regard, including the incorporation of these guidelines into the existing mechanisms, such as the Interministerial Commission for Co-operation and the mandatory prior assessment by Camões IP on the quality, relevance and adequacy of projects supported by the Portuguese Environment Fund.

Although environment and climate change objectives are already part of the current co-operation for development strategy, the new Co-operation for Development Strategy for 2021-2030, which is being developed, will further improve the ambition of the Portuguese development co-operation in this area, to better align development policy with the latest environmental and climate change international objectives, including a new set of goals, commitments and instruments.

Besides the permanent and regular dialogue and co-ordination mechanisms in place mentioned above, some sectoral and specific national strategies include international co-operation components, such as the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, as well as of the National Strategy for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity 2030, Council of Ministers Resolution No. 55/2018, 7 May (4.2.9).

Additionally, all sectoral development co-operation protocols are aligned with the Development Co-operation Strategy and the Co-operation Strategic Programmes established with the developing partner countries.

  • National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy: The international co-operation component’s main objective is focused on responding to international commitments and supporting developing countries within the frame of the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement (“development co-operation action should take into account priorities, principles and international commitments”).

  • National Strategy for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity 2030: The international co-operation component is mainly focused on integrating the conservation of nature and biodiversity principles within external co-operation, namely through the strengthening of green diplomacy and the development co-operation action.

All forms, guidelines and procedures used by Camões IP to assess new programmes and activities consider their alignment with environment and climate change objectives and the relevance and environmental sustainability of each programme, project or activity.

The support to any development co-operation programme, project or activity by any public administration agency, which may be counted as official development assistance (ODA), is conditional to a favourable prior opinion by Camões IP as the agency responsible for steering, co-ordinating and supervising all development co-operation activities. The assessment of such programmes and activities follows the same guidelines as the ones used to assess the programmes and activities led by Camões IP referred to above.

All programmes, projects and activities must be in accordance with the priority intervention areas of the Strategic Co-operation Programmes they are part of.

Environment sustainability indicators are part of the forms, guidelines, and requirements that every programme, project or activity needs to comply with. Monitoring reports assess the performance and results of each programme and activity against those guidelines and requirements. The evaluation of environment or climate-related programmes, projects and activities are assessed within the framework of the evaluation of the Strategic Co-operation Programme established with each partner country.

At the bilateral level, the Strategic Co-operation Programme signed with each of the partner countries constitutes the main guiding document, which establishes the sectoral priority intervention areas, such as energy and environment. In addition, a specific Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on environmental activities details the areas where projects are to be developed in line with the partner country’s own needs and national plans. Under these two complimentary frameworks, each partner country is invited to present applications for funding to Camões IP or the Ministry of Environment and Climate Action.

The project applications need to follow a pre-established template and comply with the criteria set by Camões IP and demonstrate that the project contributes to meeting partner country needs. It should also comply with its specific policies, priorities and strategies. The partner country is responsible for the designing of the proposal/application.

For the most part, environment projects supported by Portuguese development co-operation have a strong technical assistance component, particularly targeted at building institutional capacities. This explains why, in general, projects do not require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). However, where applicable, Environmental Assessment considers local regulations and frameworks, such as action plans or national strategies.

The Carbon Sustainability and Ecosystem Services Roadmap for Príncipe Island in São Tomé e Príncipe aims to promote economic growth through the establishment of a strategic framework for the elaboration of a Roadmap for Carbon Sustainability that considers the sinking effect of the island.

Portuguese development co-operation prioritises larger and structural programmes, according to strategic priorities defined jointly with each partner country, and enhances the effectiveness and impact of development co-operation programmes and development results. The transition to environmentally sustainable, climate-resilient, and low-emissions development pathways towards net-zero are part of this structural and strategic approach.

Each Strategic Co-operation Programme is negotiated with the Portuguese line ministries involved and each partner country government and administration, and is closely linked to the respective policy priorities and national development plans.

In line with the agreed Strategic Co-operation Programme each developing partner country is expected to submit project applications that contribute to achieving its own targets and implementing its own strategies and commitments regarding environmental sustainability, climate resilience and low- emissions development pathways.

As mentioned above, Portugal does not have a specific climate change and biodiversity development co-operation strategy. It is expected that the new Co-operation for Development Strategy for 2021-2030, which is currently being developed, includes more structured guidance to mainstreaming climate change mitigation and adaptation and biodiversity protection objectives in development co-operation.

Technical Assistance to National Agency for Water and Sanitation (ANAS) on Preparation of the Circular Economy Roadmap in the Urban Water Cycle in Cabo Verde is crucial to supporting an environment and climate-resilient pathway transition in Cabo Verde.

Most of Portugal’s development co-operation partner countries are Small Island Developing States (SIDS) – Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, and Timor-Leste. Co-operation with these countries follows the specific country approach described above.

In recent years, in addition to this specific approach, encompassing many different activities from institutional peer-to-peer technical assistance and capacity building to general and sectoral budget support, Portugal has been supporting the study and analysis of SIDS’ specific vulnerabilities, namely those related to environment and climate change, as well as the research on blue economy development pathways for countries heavily reliant on ocean-based sectors, such as fisheries or tourism, for income and jobs. As part of these activities, Portugal supported the OECD Sustainable Ocean for All report and has been an advocate of SIDS’ unique endeavours in various multilateral fora.

Examples of projects in support of SIDS’ sustainable development

  • Technical Assistance to National Agency for Water and Sanitation (ANAS) on Preparation of the Circular Economy Roadmap in the Urban Water Cycle in Cabo Verde: The project aims to assess the potential for reuse of wastewater from Cabo Verde's sewage treatment plant, compatible purposes (irrigation of agricultural land) and the valorisation of sludge for application on agricultural land, through the implementation of a pilot project at the sewage treatment plant of Santa Cruz.

  • EU-ACTIVA – Collective and Territorial Integrated Actions for the Valorisation of Agriculture in Guinea-Bissau: The initiative contributes to the improvement of the economic and social conditions of the population of Guinea-Bissau and, in particular, the regions of Cacheu, Bafatá, Gabu, Quinara, and Tombali. It aims to ensure the sustainable intensification of agricultural production with economic valuation. This project will enable the approximately 4 000 families living in those regions to raise awareness and demonstration of agricultural practices adapted to local soil and climate patterns, paying particular attention to the effects of climate change.

  • Carbon Sustainability and Ecosystem Services Roadmap (Principe Island) in Sao Tome: An inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the economic activities sectors, alternatives and forecast for their mitigation, as well as an accounting of carbon removal by the natural sinks existing in the island. Thus, it will be possible to create a decision support tool, defining socio-economic growth scenarios, and calculating the differentials associated to the referred sinks, placing at the disposal of the global community services of compensation of its carbon emissions, through the rendering of services of the existing ecosystems and making Principe an example at the world level.

Portugal did not report activities in this area.

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