June 08, 2022 #SustainableChile

World Oceans Day: the milestones with which Chile seeks to extend its preservation

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Every June 8 is commemorated as the international day for the sustainable management and protection of the oceans, a subject in which Chile has played a leading role in recent years. 

The ocean covers three quarters of the Earth's surface. If we take the total amount of water that exists in it, 3% corresponds to fresh water. The rest is in the sea. Its importance is such that today more than 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods, and if we look at its influence on the environment, 30% of the Co2 emitted by humanity is absorbed by it.

To ensure its protection, Chile has adopted measures such as local public policies and international alliances to protect the territory.

World leader in the protection of marine areas

With 10 parks and 5 marine reserves, today Chile is positioned as the country in the region with the largest protected marine area, which translates into 6,435 km of coastline and nearly 1,500,000 km2 of protected marine areas. This action has earned us the recognition of the international community, in part for being one of the signatory states of the 2030 Agenda that has shown the greatest compliance in this area.

MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) are a key tool in the fight against climate change and Chile is among the 15 countries in the world with the largest protected surface area. These protected areas currently cover 42.3% of our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and more than half of them correspond to Marine Parks (without fishing), and 41.8% to Multipurpose Coastal Marine Protected Areas (MCPMA).

International effort

Of the 361,132,000 km² of sea that today cover the surface of the planet, only 1% corresponds to Chile's exclusive economic zone. This reality validates the idea that ocean protection should be a global initiative. Today, our country maintains a series of international alliances that pursue the protection of the oceans, such as the International Alliance against Ocean Acidification, or the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, where the signatory States committed, among several points, to conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020. By 2022, Chile has quadrupled the figure.

Currently, our country continues to promote international projects that give greater protection to the world's oceans, and recently, it was announced that Chile will lead, together with Canada, a proposal for the creation of protected marine corridors throughout the Pacific Ocean, areas of protection where, as more countries join, the protection of marine ecosystems can be continued without depending on the limits of each of the nations.

Public policies in the service of the oceans

Another way in which Chile contributes to protecting the oceans is through legislation. In recent years, different initiatives aimed at limiting human impact on the oceans have come into force, such as the ban on trawling on seamounts in 2015, or the law banning single-use plastics in 2021, an initiative born from civil society, and which among its foundations seeks to prevent this waste from reaching the sea.

During a new commemoration of International Environment Day, the enactment of the Framework Law on Climate Change was announced, an initiative that establishes the goal of making the country carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2050 at the latest. The announcement is in addition to efforts to protect the oceans, which today absorb 30% of Co2 emissions into the atmosphere, and which have seen a 26% increase in acidity since the industrial revolution.




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