Statement by the President of the Government of Spain on his visit to the Sierra de las Nieves National Park




Good morning,

I am proud and honoured to be here with the Mancomunidad de la Sierra de las Nieves, with all the mayors that have joined us, with the Minister of the Junta de Andalucía and, of course, with the Third Vice-President of the Government, the Vice-President for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge who, as the President of the Mancomunidad said earlier, is closely linked with what we are celebrating today.

Above all, I would like to claim and celebrate a very important milestone, which is that this is the third national park in Andalusia and the sixteenth national park in our country as a whole.

Thanks to the national parks, we are covering, to give you an idea, about half a million hectares. As the Councillor pointed out earlier, in this Sierra de las Nieves National Park alone we are talking about 23,000 protected hectares, and I would like to highlight three issues about the parks:

The first is that when we talk about National Parks we are not talking about an administrative category. We are talking about much more than that. We are talking about a commitment to the territory. We are talking about a commitment to the legacy we are going to leave to the next generations. And we are also talking about a commitment to sustained and sustainable development, which is where first we integrate the great architects of this national park, who are the local residents who have spent a very long time - the president of the Mancomunidad reminded me earlier that it has been more than 100 years, or more precisely 104 years - calling for this area to be declared a National Park. We have succeeded in making this a reality.

And secondly, I want to integrate all those who have cared for this marvellous natural enclave over the years, the farmers, the farm workers who have made us allies in the care of the Sierra de las Nieves during this time.

And thirdly, I want to convey the message that conserving our biodiversity, recovering and repairing our ecosystems, is perfectly compatible with economic development, with the location of people in extraordinary, unique natural environments, such as the Sierra de las Nieves.

We, the Government of Spain, are very clear that the biodiversity of our country is something to be preserved; and not only to be preserved as something that the citizens of our country can enjoy, but as an attraction that can generate sustainable tourism, quality tourism, talent and human capital, effectively anchoring not only people who have lived here in the Sierra de las Nieves all their lives, but also people who live in other parts of the province of Malaga, of Andalusia and of Spain itself, who come to live in and enjoy such unique natural environments as the one we are visiting today.

I am proud to be the President of a country that already has 16 national parks. I am also enormously proud to see so many workers of the National Parks Network caring for and being as committed as they are to our natural sites.

And I would also like to say, of course, that we are proud to be able to convey this message of institutional unity of all the administrations with, in short, the most important thing, which is to take care of our natural sites and turn them into sources of opportunities for local development.

I believe that this is what we are doing today, what we have been doing since June, as the president of the Mancomunidad said earlier, when we designated the Sierra de las Nieves as our sixteenth national park.

And finally, I would like to say to all the residents of the Sierra de las Nieves that in all matters to do with infrastructures and the provision of public services, the commitment of all public institutions and, first and foremost, of the Government of Spain, is absolute; is unequivocal. We are going to do it. As I said, this is a collective success. This is not the end of anything, but the beginning of many good things for this part of the wonderful province of Malaga.

And that is what take with us today, this collaboration, this institutional unity and the commitment to continue providing and creating opportunities for the Sierra de las Nieves.

So thank you very much and I would just like to make one appeal, one call, which is aimed at all the citizens of our country, at all nature lovers, and that is to come and visit the Sierra de las Nieves National Park. Thank you.

Non official translation