I would like to start this salutation by thanking you for the confidence you have placed in me by re-electing me as president to the Menorcan section of GOB. It is a great honour that after four years I am still considered as a person to assume this position. It is a great responsibility that I expect to carry out with diligence. GOB is an emblematic entity within Menorcan society and with the help of all the associated people, the rest of the members of the board and the technical team, I hope we can continue contributing good ideas and experiences to move towards a more sustainable island from both social and environmental points of view.
This past year has been especially abnormal owing to the persistent pandemic. We live in great uncertainty that raises new situations that we do not know how they will evolve, and that cause suffering to individuals and to different economic sectors. From GOB we recognise that, despite everything, these shocks to the system should allow us reflect on weaknesses and defects and take advantage to pursue, even better than before, a way of combining human prosperity and environmental conservation. Even though some say these two objectives are incompatible, we have been able to verify many times that this is not the case and that the one can always go with the other.
This last year we have seen fewer visitors than other years, but have had the sensation of overcrowding, endorsed by objective indicators, giving evidence that the problems are not new, and should be faced urgently. Over occupation of the beaches and coves by boats and swimmers, circulation chaos of vehicles in some places, the deterioration of the aquifers and the difficulty of access to houses are some of the problematic situations that the tourism model aggravates. We need to be able to reverse this precisely in order to make the tourism model more sustainable while returning to them the island residents’ quality of life, which should be the main objective for driving Menorca’s economic system.
GOB has dedicated the last few months to studying the objective indicators for these situations and proposing possible solutions from our point of view with the idea of encouraging social debate about these problems and not letting them lie dormant any more. We have made presentations in different parts of the island and have published our proposals on the web. We think we have a good opportunity to provide ourselves with the tools to regulate many of these situations for the expected next approval of the new Island Land Planning (PTI) regulations and the new Reserve of the Biosphere Law. The monitoring of these procedures will be one of the important works carried out by GOB during next year. In addition, we will urge strict compliance with the regulations that we have already destined for the preservation of water resources and the environment.
We start the new year with renewed strength and with more members than ever. GOB grows socially and with greater resources, but there are old problems that worsen and new uncertainties on the horizon. We must continue working to contribute our constructive vision to the Menorcan society, appealing to sincere and altruistic dialogue between the different points of view that exist in all society that is a richness to be fostered. We are convinced that solutions always come from a balance between the different ways in which things are perceived. Solutions can be achieved by knowing how to combine our interests as a species with the rest of the species of the planet and so constitute the global ecosystem.
I would like to end by thanking the many people that make our work possible – those that are part of our organisation, volunteers, members, the board members, collaborators, entities, the media, etc.
VERY MANY THANKS and I wish you a happy Christmas and a New Year filled with health and happiness within a healthy and just society.