The alert is made in a statement, in which the association also calls for a review of the relationship between man and the natural world and recalls that despite all technological advances, dependence on healthy ecosystems remains the same.

The statement comes when the International Biodiversity Day is marked, with the association warning that this 10 million Euros allocation for nature conservation should not be diverted for other purposes.

“One thing is for sure: despite all our technological advances, we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our health, water, food, medicine, clothing, fuel, shelter and energy, just to name a few”, begins to point out the association.

After the covid-19 pandemic, Zero considers that it should be used to “rebuild better” and to increase the “resilience of countries and communities”, and that 2020 should be the year to reverse the trend of loss of biodiversity on the planet.

However, the association writes, based on elements provided by the Managing Authority of the Operational Programme for Sustainability and Efficiency in the Use of Resources (PO SEUR), in Portugal the financial execution and the indicators for carrying out nature conservation projects approved until the end of 2019, and the execution of projects to that date, had “very worrying” delays.

Based on this analysis, Zero is told that it is heading “towards a scenario of not taking advantage of the available financing” which, according to the association's estimate, may reach 10 million Euros, “that is, 25 percent of the total amount of planned investments”.

In Zero's accounts, by the end of 2019 of the 40 million Euros earmarked for three lines of financing, projects involving funding from the Cohesion Fund in the order of 32.5 million Euros were approved.

The 10 million, it says in the statement, are explained by the fact that there are 7.45 million Euros not yet allocated and 3.44 million Euros of non-execution on projects that should have been completed by the end of 2019.

The association presents several examples of the lack of execution of projects, and speaks of low rates of implementation and delays, when there is a “lack of investments in the conservation of species and habitats, as shown by all reports submitted to the European Union”.

When “one looks at the typology of funded conservation projects, with the exception of some interventions such as in the National Park of Peneda-Gerês, in areas heavily affected by fires (…), a consistent line in the supported operations is not always found, being notorious a huge disorientation in defining the true investment priorities that have characterized the work of the Ministry of the Environment, the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF) and the PO SEUR Management Authority itself, in the last four years”, accuses the Zero.

Also, and taking into account biodiversity and nature conservation indicators, investment in information actions was “below expectations”.

In conclusion, Zero says it fears that the approximately 10 million resulting from “bad programming and poor execution” will be transferred to other areas of public investment, “further weakening the nature conservation policy”.

And it leaves suggestions for using this amount, such as, among others, the recovery of the populations of the native river trout, the reinforcement of the wild prey populations of the Iberian wolf (roe deer and deer), the rehabilitation of freshwater habitats of standing water, and the preservation of endangered flora.

22 May, as International Biodiversity Day, marks the signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity, on 22 May, 1992 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The anniversary began to be marked on 29 December, the date of entry into force of the Convention, but in 2000 the United Nations General Assembly chose 22 May.