Chancellor Heraldo Muñoz participated today in the opening of the IV International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC 4), which takes place in the Coquimbo Region. The meeting, organized by the Ministry of the Environment, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, takes place every four years and brings together the main actors of marine conservation in the world.
The initiative aims to contribute to the conservation and sustainable development of the oceans by exchanging ideas to establish and implement a global system of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and to promote public interest in the issue. In his speech, Minister Muñoz stressed that "over the last four years Chile has made historic progress in marine protection and has contributed to global governance in this area," adding that "we have a maritime vocation because of our geography and we are certain that a large part of our future depends upon it".
As an example of this contribution, the Secretary of State mentioned that Chile has been one of the main promoters of the "Our Ocean" Initiative, which addresses different areas of sustainable ocean use and he mentioned how the country will partake in the fourth version of the Our Ocean Conference, which will take place in Malta this October, renewing the commitment made in Valparaiso and Viña del Mar in 2015, during the second version of this initiative that took place in the V region.
He also recalled that Chile, alongside France and Monaco, have promoted the "Because The Ocean" Declaration, which links marine protection with the reduction of the impact of the climate change and that "a few months ago, in the High-Level Summit of the United Nations, related to the SDG 14, a new call was made for the conservation of marine spaces".
The theme of this year's meeting is Marine Protected Areas: Bringing People and the Ocean together, focusing on the relationship of humans with the oceans and the benefits of marine protected areas to biodiversity conservation and marine resource management. In this regard, the Minister indicated that "there is no doubt that, as people feel the sea as an essential part of their lives, they will contribute decisively to care of it and demand that the authorities ensure that whatever is done in it, benefits the national and international community.
In this sense, he highlighted that "Chile broadly complies with the goal set by the Convention on Biological Diversity, with a 13,6% of our Exclusive Economic Area under protection as diverse Marine Protected Areas", due to MPAs, including the Juan Fernández archipelago with 485,000 km2, which includes 12,000 km2 of the already existing Coastal Marine Protected Area of Multiple Uses (AMCP-MU); and Cape Horn and Diego Ramirez Islands with a little more than 147,000 km2. To this are added the marine park of the islands Desventurados, of 300 thousand km2; and the one of the islands Salas and Gómez (Motu Motiro Hiva), with 150 thousand km2.
The Chancellor also expressed his satisfaction with the decision taken by the people of Rapa Nui on Sunday, September 3, who, in a democratic exercise that is part of a consultation within the framework of Convention 169 of the World Labour Organization (ILO), approved the creation of a Marine Coastal Multiple Use Protected Area (MCPA) that covers the entire Exclusive Economic Zone of the marine ecoregion of Easter Island.
"This Marine Protected Area will be jointly managed by the State and the Rapa Nui people, considering their ancestral and artisanal fishing methods, and it will aim at protecting the island's unique marine biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as the seabed and seamounts. This is an historic achievement", he said.
That, added the Minister, will cause "the percentage of the Exclusive Economic Zone under protection to triple, reaching an increase of the area of over 44%, equivalent to more than 1.5 million square kilometres. That is, almost double the continental surface of Chile".
"To be a world leader in marine protection means assuming responsibility for providing such areas with adequate management, monitoring and control plans to enable their continued regeneration. We are committed to the fulfilment of that great task", concluded the Secretary of State.