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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN PORTUGAL

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POVERTY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Solidarity and Social Security is the responsible institutional authority for this issue. 

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations  -

Relevant legislation is Law No. 19-A/96 of 29 June 1996, an innovative approach which established a minimum income, provided to families with incomes below the social pension value. This action follows a European Union recommendation made in 1992.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Although there are neither definitions nor precise indicators of poverty adopted at the national level, several studies have been made for this purpose and, generally, the EUROSTAT method (half the medium national income) is considered to be useful. A new approach to poverty is being implemented by the government, aiming at the integration of this dimension in all Ministry policies, including health, education, employment, and social security, among others.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

NGOs and public services work together as partners on different projects integrated in the National Programme Against Poverty. There are about 100 to 150 projects running.

Programmes and Projects 

At the national level there is also a coordination programme (INTEGRAR) which tries to link several actions and respective access to structural funds (FEDER, FSE) in the areas of social security and combating poverty.

Projects for urban areas receive financial support from the URBAN Community Programme which tries to integrate urban problems and poverty eradication. With the same purpose, projects for rural areas are financially supported by the LEADER Community Programme.

Status 

National information available

Challenges

National information available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

National information available

Information 

National information available

Research and Technologies 

National information available

Financing 

National information available

Cooperation

National information available

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This information was provided by the Government of Portugal to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Equipment, Planning and Territory Administration, and the Ministry of Solidarity and Social Security are involved in population policies.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations  -

National information available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Government provided information on demographic dynamics to the World Population Conference in Cairo 1994. The National Population Policy does not cover environmental issues, except for urban concentration, landscape management, and migratory trends.

National information available

Programmes and Projects 

National information available

Status 

National information available

Challenges

National information available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

National information available

Information 

National information available

Research and Technologies 

National information available

Financing 

National information available

Cooperation

National information available

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Portugal to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

To access the United Nations Population Information Network, click here.

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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Health is responsible for activities under this chapter. 

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations  -

The Basic Health Act was adopted in 1990, the National Health Service Statute and the Regional Health Authorities Regulations have been established, and existing legislation has been reviewed. The new legislation provides for more flexibility in the administration of health services and for their decentralization.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Government plans to provide for an Environmental Health Master Plan. Health targets are being integrated into sectoral policies (social security, education, employment, housing, among others). 

The National Environment Plan expresses concern for the coverage of the population with health care infrastructure. Although the total coverage with health and medical facilities has improved in recent years, there are still regional disparities.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

National information available

Programmes and Projects 

National information available

Status 

The main concerns of the health sector are:

Challenges

A considerable part of the population is not covered with appropriate water supply and waste water treatment facilities. Existing systems are not always in satisfactory conditions. Waste collection covers most of the population, but waste treatment and disposal need further improvements.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

A programme is being implemented to raise awareness on health issues.

Information 

National information available

Research and Technologies 

Research is being carried out on public health monitoring, and studies have been undertaken on parasitic worms and animal parasitology. A number of new hospitals, health care centres, and centres for drug prevention and rehabilitation were established in recent years.

Financing 

National information available

Cooperation

National information available

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This information was provided by the Government of Portugal to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Environment implements the Environmental Education and Training Plan of Action 1994-1998, which establishes a framework for environmental education and training activities, and strengthens the links between the parties involved in environmental education and training, and in coordinating activities abroad.

The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Education decided on the Ecoescola Agreement, which calls for, inter alia, environmental education projects and national competitions, and addresses especially primary and secondary education levels. In addition, the two Ministries and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (USA) decided to implement the GLOBE PROGRAMME in Portuguese schools.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations  -

National information available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

National information available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

Several NGOs are carrying out projects in the field of environmental education and public awareness.

Programmes and Projects 

Programmes have been developed to raise environmental awareness among workers, managerial staff, and young people. Training modules and videos have been designed for health and safety at work. Standards have been developed to define clean, unpolluted, and ergonomically sound work places.

A cooperation programme is being implemented by central and local government institutions, to provide training for trainers in environmental issues, environmental training for various professional groups, and training for environmental specialists.

Status 

Portugal aims to increase the level of education, which is low in comparison to other European countries. Although the levels of education have increased in recent years, especially among young people, in 1990 only 32% of the workers had more than 6 years of schooling. The best-qualified labour is concentrated in the main urban centres. Easier access to education and longer compulsory education have significantly increased the levels of education, but further improvements are still needed. Although the level of illiteracy has fallen significantly in the last decade, it is still higher than in any other EU country.

Challenges

National information available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Vocational training is considered very important, and the Ministry of Qualification and Employment has integrated environmental education modules into vocational training course curricula. There is still a shortage of qualified people for environmental management (e.g for waste management and waste water treatment) even though the government acknowledges the great importance and market potential of environmental know-how.

Information 

National information available

Research and Technologies 

National information available

Financing 

National information available

Cooperation

National information available

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Portugal to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Equipment, Planning and Territory Administration has drawn up and updated planning and management instruments, such as Regional Land Planning Schemes (PROT) and Municipal Master Plans (PDM). Urban environmental aspects have been integrated into Municipal Land Planning Schemes (PMOT). These planning schemes are being coordinated with regional planning schemes. The gradual coverage of the country with Municipal Land Planning Schemes has contributed to an improved balance, functionality, and quality in the urban network at all levels. Transport and communication infrastructure have been improved in recent years, primarily in coastal areas.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations  -

Legislation has been reviewed to define the role of the Ministry of Environment in land use planning issues. The Ministry is now involved in the development of Municipal Master Plans, National Ecological Reserve Plans, and Coastal Planning Schemes. In 1993, legislation was enacted to support rehousing activities. Under debate is also the new project for the Framework Law on Land Management and Planning.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In order to develop urban centres and provide them with facilities and support infrastructure, to assist their economic and social development, a Programme for Consolidating the National Urban System (PROSIURB) and Support for Implementing Municipal Master Plans has been adopted. The programme contains two sub-programmes: Upgrading Medium Size Towns, and Upgrading Urban Centres with the Supplementary Network. Altogether, 148 Municipal Master Plans have been carried out, covering 47% of the Portuguese territory and 73% of the population. Financial assistance to municipalities increased for drawing up plans for urban restoration and renovation, and for detailed plans for areas of greatest urban pressure and run-down urban areas. Policies were developed to attract private entities to build public facilities with the aim of strengthening medium size cities and the urban network.

The Regional Development Plan (PDR) for 1994-1999 calls for:

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

National information available

Programmes and Projects 

National information available

Status 

Portugal has two metropolitan conurbations, Lisbon and Oporto, and 59 smaller cities. About 20% of the population lives in places with fewer than 200 inhabitants, and 43% live in places with fewer than 1000 inhabitants.

Challenges

National information available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

National information available

Information 

A survey is being carried out to identify the number of families living in poor housing conditions and with a need for rehousing. Estimates show that about 40,000 to 45,000 families in the two metropolitan areas need to be rehoused.

Research and Technologies 

National information available

Financing 

National information available

Cooperation

Portugal participates in the European Union Programme "URBAN," which aims at the integration of urban and poverty problems.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Portugal to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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