“The shift in European Union policies towards a new development paradigm puts nature at the center; this assumption is recognizable in clear official formulations. For example: “Biodiversity is the extraordinary variety of life on Earth. And we humans are a mesh of this life. To be healthy and resilient, a society must give nature the space it needs. The recent Covid-19 pandemic teaches us that to prevent the emergence and spread of future diseases, it is therefore essential to protect and restore biodiversity and the proper functioning of ecosystems. In this context it is recognized that “the extension of 30% of protected areas is an imperative of the EU”.
The new guidelines of the Green Deal, of the Biodiversity Program 203, of the new Common Agricultural Policy proposed by the Commission arise from this awareness. And while the relative legislative processes are underway in these regards, it should be noted that there are already important and anticipatory decisions to fully enhance the sustainability paradigm. In one of the fundamental pillars of the European Union budget that of cohesion policy and regional development, agreement was reached on the new regulation for the 2021-2027 programming cycle.
The fund’s total resources amount to more than 200 billion euros and for Italy the estimates are 23 billion, which must be integrated with national co-financing. Precisely with regard to the environmental objective, there is explicit reference to protected natural areas. These are recognized for the first time as active factors in contrasting climate change and supporting the sustainable development of the territories of inland and peri-urban areas. Therefore they fully fall within the criteria for the use of resources, since in the new regulation there is a constraint to allocate 30% of European resources to environmental-naturalistic policies.
Moreover, the impact of economic prosperity is very significant. Especially in Italy, where the protection and renewal of natural resources already exists through eco-sustainable economic activities; by multifunctional companies in organic and quality agriculture, sustainable fishing and tourism. As well as for the enhancement of the cultural and archaeological emergencies of the places, today even more attractive with the rediscovery of the Paths of Viandanza, recognized as having a Euro-Mediterranean cultural identity. Along which the park system and those responsible for the network of paths are promoting common enhancement programs.
From the Via Appia, a historically emblematic straight line that, arriving in Brindisi, resumed from the Phoenician port of Byblos to the oasis of Palmyra. Alla Francigena, now from Canterbury to Capo di Leuca. In the footsteps of St. Francis who in 1219 met the Sultan of Egypt Malik al Kamil, marking a fundamental historical gesture in the interreligious dialogue between the Gospel and the Koran. And in the footsteps of Frederick II who in the sixth crusade replaced the confrontation of swords between crusaders and “infidels” with the diplomacy of a marriage for the “peaceful reconquest” of Jerusalem.
Finally, precisely in a period of pandemics, the scientific literature and research centers (Campus Bio medico di Roma, Human Pole di Tricase) have amply documented the positive impact of the use of naturalistic spaces for the prevention of diseases and in general for the psychophysical balance of people.
It is clear that the correct use of this new legislation is of primary importance for our country. It will now be up to national and regional institutions to seize these important opportunities. Around them there is already an initiative of Park Management Bodies and of the Mayors of Anci.
Because it is no longer the time to leave the most innovative legislation on paper, which we also conquer in the difficult negotiations in the European Union.