Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Jose Miguel Rodriguez Fraga, Mayor of Adeje (Canary Islands, Spain), current president of the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party) in the Canary Islands, and soon-to-be sworn in as President of the Association of Sun and Beach Municipalities of Spain.
Jose Miguel Rodriguez Fraga has been the Mayor of Adeje since 1987, and in 2003 received the most ever votes for this Mayoral election. During his current term of office, he and his governmental team are concentrating on how to turn Adeje into a pioneer municipality in terms of manifesting triple sustainability (environmental, social and economic), with a strong commitment to equality and the SDGs. The central initiative being the creation of a sustainable Central Park for the municipality. This park aspires to encompass 7 of the SDGs: SDG 3: to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; SDG 4: to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; SDG 7: to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all; SDG 8: to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; SDG 9: to build a resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation SDG 11: to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; and SDG 15: to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managed forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. If you want to know more about this brilliant project, please read our article: Sustainable Bet of Adeje.
I asked him about the acceptance that they hope to receive for the project from the city’s population, the role of women in carrying out this project together with their male partners, and what more we could do to empower women and girls.
–Being such a comprehensive project, aiming to encompass 7 of the United Nations SDGs, what acceptance and impact do you expect to have in the population of the city?
-Fraga: “I think it will be well received. Besides being a tourist destination, we are a community committed to the environment. I believe that there is a growing awareness of the need to take urgent and rapid urgent measures that do not compromise the future of the planet, health, and survival, which is what we are playing at in the end. We also want to open it to participation, we want all the people who want to join it, and especially those who know, who have experience and who have a commitment because they can help us.”
-What has been the role of women in carrying out this project together with their male partners?
-Fraga: “We have a government team that is equal, the same number of city councilwomen as city councilmen, and therefore participation at that level is acceptable and for the rest, I think that this project has to involve women because they are one of the world’s two main axes. And maybe also, because the female has a lot to do with these commitments, with life in the end, which is what we are talking about.”
–What do you feel is necessary to empower women and girls to become/ continue as scientists? And especially those who are seeking to achieve the SDGs?
-Fraga: “They must be fully supported, I think that measures such as those that have been implemented, in some political parties, for example in the PSOE, in which the government lists must be equal between men and women and “rack” (man and woman, woman and man) I think these measures are helping a lot to incorporate women. Although it remains to incorporate women fully into all areas, as in the case of science. In which women certainly play a good role, that is, there have not been many women but those that existed were very powerful. But it is very important to achieve equality, the struggle for equality also goes through the incorporation of women in all areas, it cannot be that a woman stays in the gutter and cannot reach her full potential, because we would be squandering a huge wealth that society needs, In other words, this is not a matter of kindness or criteria, it is a matter of necessity, we need to incorporate all the wealth that women can contribute with, in the intellectual field, in the scientific field, in the political field.”
“It can’t be that the world walks with half of the population cornered” José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga
Thanks, Jose Miguel Rodriguez Fraga once again, for collaborating with us as girls in science, in the search for a more sustainable and egalitarian future, and for reminding us that it is time to find and implement solutions for problems that we already know. We wish you all the best!