Editorial newsletter Belgian-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce (CCBP) November 2021

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Dear members and friends of the Belgian-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce,

As I write this editorial, most of us are again locked at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all, in one way or another, confronted with the effects of the pandemic that has started about one year ago. On top of that, for most of us, November is the beginning of the darkest and coldest period of the year. One could think, how to survive all this? As I write this editorial, I have the luck to have a view on a small piece of land with trees, animals, sound of birds, flowers, … and sunshine (yes even in Belgium this sometimes happens). It is Nature that I view. Nature inspires. In November everything in Nature prepares itself for the winter that is coming. Trees lose their leaves. Squirrels collect nuts. Migratory birds leave their homes and travel south. The sheep get a thicker coat. Nature acts and works with, not against, what it is confronted with. Nature is not complaining (a waste of energy anyway). Nature prepares itself to flourish and give new life in spring. Nature is adapting to the ever changing conditions. So can we.

The climate of our planet is changing faster than expected, putting additional critical pressure on all our systems. On top of all this, biodiversity is declining globally at rates unprecedented. With biodiversity declining, the conditions for humans to flourish diminish rapidly. It is both the knowledge of the parts (technology) and the wisdom of the whole (system thinking, sensing and interconnectivity) that can create the conditions conducive for all life. We can live on this planet only if we have thriving ecosystems. When we restart to sense and respect Nature within and around us, we can design a new way of living and leading flourishing lives. If we recognize the interconnected nature of business and life, life and Nature, we will create a shift from mechanistic to interconnected thinking and a regenerative way of living. Innumerous results are arising. This is promising and inspiring. It illustrates that joining wisdom and knowledge across borders, despite differences and opposite interests at first sight, to understand the whole, is possible. In this context strengthening partnerships, bringing together people, create conditions to generate trust and respect and provide inspiration to act, this is what the CCBP is working on.

After the success of the Belgian-Portuguese Routes for Blue Economy in 2019, the CCBP holds a second event next November 17 related to Blue Economy. I’m more than glad that it will have an emphasis on “biodiversity” and allow to present and discuss contrasted approaches that will provoke new ideas. It is the aim to stimulate unpredictable partnerships between companies, entrepreneurs, academia, funders and politicians. I’m convinced that the event will point to initiatives to overcome constraints so that synergies between both countries are encouraged and the circumstances for a sustainable regenerative culture of collaboration is launched.

In November Portugal is holding the public consultancy for the Marine Nacional Strategy

2021-2030 “Estratégia Nacional Para o Mar 2021-2030 – ENM2030”. This will be an instrument of public policy that represents the vision of Portugal for the developments of the Oceans in the next decades. The vision of this new strategy will be based on promoting a healthy ocean to enhance the economy, prosperity and well-being, and affirming Portugal’s leadership in ocean governance, supported by scientific knowledge.

These are encouraging signals. These difficult times call upon different solutions. As Einstein said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Let us use this scientific knowledge not only for the mechanistic sustainability, but also use the wisdom of philosophers, mystics, artists, musicians, writers,…  for a sustainability that creates a world that allows all life on earth to thrive.