International Seminar: "Highlighting the need of investment on environment to ensure the sustainable development of Chile"
The importance of aligning economic growth and environmental care to move towards the sustainable development of the country was the main subject of the conference, which brought together citizens, academics and government representatives.
The seminar, held in March 2017 in Santiago, was organised by UNDP Chile (via BIOFIN Chile), to promote discussion around challenges under a sustainable conservation and financing scheme. In the case of Chile, the consolidation of a sustainable management of ecosystems is crucial to strengthen long-term human development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals; which was highlighted by the Resident Representative of the UNDP Chile, Silvia Rucks, who opened the seminar.
“17.4% of the GDP and over 50% of Chilean exports directly depend on natural resources and biodiversity which are extremely vulnerable to climate change; so, providing the environmental point of view with prominence to shape and plan the development of Chile, besides being necessary, means to reinforce the future of the country and peoples’ opportunities,” said Ms Rucks.
Cristián Gutiérrez, Undersecretary of Environment, and Marcela Palominos, representative of the Ministry of Finance, spoke about the need to create transversal cooperation which allows the integration of environmental themes in domestic finance and vice versa. They showed the improvements on public policies which were recently worked out by both entities, such as the act establishing the Right in Rem of Environmental Conservation, and Green Taxes.
“The responsibility of moving towards a low emission and climate resilient development belongs to all of us," said Ms Palominos. “Citizens, government, companies, capital markets, everyone.”
Chile has a population of 17.5 million and a per capita GDP of $13,250, but environmental issues inhibit its continued growth and prosperity. Current expenditure on environmental protection in Chile accounts for only 0.1% of GDP.
Marlon Flores, BIOFIN senior adviser for Latin America said that many countries in the region including Chile still have severe problems with the management and the financing of their protected areas.
“This is not just asking for more money, and doing the same things as in the past: This is changing from business as usual to a more cost effective and efficient situation and improve the quality of expenditure made by government and with more participation of the private sector.”
“Therefore, what BIOFIN intends to achieve is improving the quality of the expenditure through cost effectiveness: how can we reach the best conservation per hectare at the lowest cost possible,” he said.