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The partnership between NGOs and the municipalities - OIKOS - Leiria, Portugal

The municipality of Leiria, with about 130,000 inhabitants, covers an area of approximately 565 km2 and is in the central coastal region of Portugal, integrating the Intermunicipal Community of the Leiria Region. 

Bounded to the east by the limestone massif, which justifies the presence of the highest altitudes in this territory, and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean, this municipality is crossed by the Lis River, a watercourse that runs through the city of Leiria - the district capital and municipal seat - and gives its name to the hydrographic basin it belongs to.

The headquarters of Oikos - Association for the Defense of the Environment and Heritage of the Leiria Region – are in Leiria. Oikos is a Non-Governmental Organization for the Environment, legally established and registered in the National Register of NGOs and Equivalents with the status of a regional NGO since 1990, and recognized since 2010 as a collective person of public utility. Recently, it was awarded the Medal of Municipal Merit, Silver Grade, in recognition of its work over three decades in environmental defense, nature conservation, protection of natural and built heritage, land planning, and promotion of environmental education.

Among the wide range of initiatives developed by Oikos in close collaboration with the Municipality of Leiria over the last three decades, some stand out, which may have contributed to achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal:

  • Issuing technical and scientific opinions and studies that supported some municipal decisions and interventions in the environmental area, including, among many others:
    • Opinion on the organization and regulation of the Environmental Interpretation Center of Leiria;
    • Opinions on technical interventions to be carried out in the riparian galleries of municipal watercourses;
    • Opinions on interventions to be carried out in the Lis River and its relation to its ichthyofauna;
    • Carrying out the "Inventory and Characterization of the Avifauna of Leiria - Programa Polis Intervention Area";
    • Opinion on interventions in ornamental trees in the city of Leiria.
  • Organizing nature interpretation trails in the limestone massif, urban areas, and coastal areas of the municipality;
  • Holding numerous thematic colloquia at the Environmental Interpretation Center of Leiria, with direct support from the municipality;
  • Supporting and partnering with the Municipality of Leiria in various environmental education projects implemented in schools across the municipality;
  • Supporting the publication of educational materials on relevant environmental topics such as the biological and geological heritage of the municipality, the regional coastline, and water resources;
  • Providing logistical and financial support for organizing the "Environmental and Development Conferences," with 22 events held on various environmental topics, and the biennial International Congress "Education, Environment, and Development," with 5 events held.

In addition to the aforementioned, Oikos has collaborated with public and private entities, parish councils in the municipality of Leiria, as well as other municipalities within the Intermunicipal Community of the Leiria Region, in organizing and promoting various environmental activities, with a particular focus on topics related to urban solid waste, knowledge and management of water resources' quality in the Lis River basin, and knowledge and enhancement of the regional natural heritage.

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