Experts from the Research Center for Integrated Disaster Risk Management presented the fundamentals of their initiative in a seminar held in Valparaíso, which also brought together legislators. Rosa Zamora Cabrera diction reveals endless urgencies to be addressed.
When at the beginning of February 2019 the businessman Matías Pérez expelled three people from the beach adjacent to his land in front of Lake Ranco claiming that it was his property, many questioned it.
Minister of National Assets, Felipe Ward, was quick to clarify that “there is grass or cobblestones, what matters is to determine if that place is flooded in winter and where the beach ends, private property begins.” As indicated in article 594 of the Civil Code, according to which “beach is understood as the extension of land that the waves alternately bathe and empty as far as they reach at the highest tides.” But with extreme swells, sea level rise and other episodes, the limit is anything but static, and in fact in recent years it has been crossed over and over again, showing that the use of this area, understood as a good for public use under a broader concept than that of the coastal border, it should be subject to a territorial order governed by criteria different from the current ones and focused on the preservation of its resources.
It was one of the aspects reviewed in the seminar “Coastal Law in Chile: for a new coastal ordinance in a climate change scenario”, held on Tuesday 14 in Valparaíso, organized by the Research Center for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (Cigiden), FONDAP-CONICYT center of excellence, made up of the Catholic universities of Chile, Federico Santa U na once again, reality collides with the norm and the counter-Maria, Andrés Bello and Universidad Católica del Norte, and in which researchers also collaborate from the universities of Chile, Concepción, Valparaíso (UV), Católica de la Santísima Concepción and Development, among others.
At the meeting, held at the Regional Administration, Carolina Martínez, PhD in Geography and UC teacher; Patricio Winckler, doctor in civil engineering and professor at the UV; and Rodrigo Cienfuegos, PhD in Earth Sciences, UC professor and director of Cigiden, whose presentations were commented on by Senators Alfonso de Urresti, Ximena Órdenes and Kenneth Pugh.
FROM COASTAL EDGE TO COASTAL ZONE
For Carolina Martínez, it is essential to change the concept of the coastal edge for that of the coastal zone, since the former implies only 200 meters from the shore, “while the coastal zone would protect about four kilometers of coastal ecosystems that include dune fields, beaches , wetlands and others ”. “We want the coast to be conserved for future generations, to be a resilient area for climate change, to preserve ecosystems and to respect the uses of native peoples and fishing coves, who are the marginalized users of the coast” , raises the researcher.
Criticism of the real estate use of the coastal zone, the expert in Geography adds that a Coastal Law “could rethink the uses and occupations that already exist” generating proposals “for mitigation, recovery of ecosystems and readaptation of urban functions that may be more sustainable, especially considering the sacrifice areas, and aiming at a purification of the quality and the parameters that are generating conflict with the environment, with human health and with the protection of human life in the event of disasters and extreme events ”.
COASTAL PORTS AND FACILITIES
Patricio Winckler, whose presentation focused on the impacts of climate change on coastal territories, emphasizes that the processes that occur in the atmosphere have repercussions in the basins and finally in the coasts, so that climate change has fundamental implications in the former, as could be the effect of the flood level in the future due to the increase in sea level and the already verified increase in the frequency and intensity of the storm surge. “In Chile there are 100 coastal municipalities and 4.5 million people live there.
In the first 10 meters above sea level, a little less than a million people currently live, which corresponds to 5% of the national population ”, he adds, and details that 546 fishing coves are located in that part of the territory, 1,700 wetlands, 250 dune fields, 1,172 beaches, 1,198 facilities and 171 maritime terminals, among others.
And he argues that if structures continue to be installed on the beach, as happened in La Serena, Papudo, San Alfonso del Mar and in countless places, “we are going to lose the resilient capacity that wetlands, beaches, dunes and river mouths have to cushion the phenomena oceanic, so that a Coastal Law must consider that specific characteristic of the aforementioned ecosystems ”. In his line of research, Winckler has studied the impact of climate change on ports, both in the operation of ships and in the support infrastructure of the terminals, analyzing the history of the storm surge and the projection to half a century. “When a storm surge occurs, the port closes and that has an economic impact on the entire transport logistics chain.
But when it comes to very large swells, they can cause structural damage, such as that of August 8, 2015, which even caused a fissure in the Valparaíso shelter, “he explains, so that the sectoral authorities must worry about how to guarantee a more efficient transfer of cargo at the berths and how the infrastructure is managed in the long term.
A study that incorporated the ports of Arica, Iquique, Mejillones, Antofagasta, Coquimbo, Quintero, San Antonio, Valparaíso and San Vicente, the terminals most exposed to the ocean, allowed him to project on the basis of models that by the middle of the century the waves will have a component of southern origin.
“The southern part of the Valparaíso bay is more protected, so that, if so, this port could eventually improve its operational conditions in the future.” But when extreme values are analyzed, he observes, “the large swells are going to increase in Valparaíso and in the other eight ports, which implies that all these terminals will require focusing efforts on the design and infrastructure conditions.”
MITIGATION AND RISK REDUCTION
“The coastal area is the first line against tsunamis and storm surges, which acts as defense, mitigation and risk reduction and that is something that thousands of investigations say. We want to suggest that this space, where the beaches, dunes, and wetlands are , It is a good for public use, and how to govern so that it is occupied and can be developed in a safe and sustainable way “, says the director of Cigiden, Rodrigo Cienfuegos.” The urban depredation of beaches, dunes and wetlands creates risks to the exposing people and property to coastal flooding, and also destroys the natural resilience of socio-environmental systems ”, he adds, therefore“ regulations must protect coastal ecosystems and thus stop their erosion ”. It also suggests that the legal definitions referring to this space are not dynamic, in circumstances that climate change introduces a series of modifications.
“Sea level and storm surge are rising, all of which is causing more erosion; the sea is gaining ground and makes obsolete the static definition we have for the highest tide line and the definition of beach, which is a definition purely administrative ”. He says that from a socio-environmental and ecosystem perspective, next to the sea “there is a much larger area that also serves as a mitigator of the effects of climate change.
If we are able to understand that and incorporate it into the legislation, then we will be able to develop our country ”in terms that ensure the sustainable use of its resources so that they can be used for more decades and for more generations.
He warns that “it is urgent that progress be made in this sense because in Chile risks are being built every day, areas that are not urbanized on the coast are being urbanized, wetlands are being occupied and sectors are densifying that could be exposed to storm surge or tsunami phenomena.
So, there is a responsibility for us as academics, but also for the State, to have this type of discussion urgently ”. THE VIEW OF THREE SENATORS 0 “It is unprecedented that we do not have a Coastal Law that takes charge of the environment.
There is sufficient evidence about the threats in coastal areas as a result of climate change, therefore we must address this problem urgently and from a more comprehensive perspective of its management, “said Senator Ximena Órdenes, from the Environment Commission, during her speech. at the seminary.
The legislator Alfonso de Urresti, made it clear that regional governments will have the challenge of “proposing a zoning project for the coastal edge of the region, as well as possible modifications to the current zoning in accordance with the existing national policy on the matter”, especially since this year that marks the installation of elected regional governors, so it will be important to establish to what degree it will correspond to the new authorities and the communities will participate.
Senator Kenneth Pugh observed that “the coastline is not just a thin line; It is a coastal area, and that is why we have to improve the current legislation to better understand this phenomenon, which has three perspectives.
The social perspective, of the people, where the safety of the people who live on the coastline is fundamental; the environmental one, understanding that there are many interface elements between the ocean and the continent that have to be preserved; and the economic perspective, since we have to understand that the necessary economy has to be generated to be able to sustain people and the environment ”.66 We want that the coast can be conserved for future generations, that it be a resilient area for climate change, that ecosystems are conserved and the uses of native peoples and fishing coves are respected ”Carolina Martínez PhD in Geography, professor UC 66 La Urban depredation of beaches, dunes and wetlands creates risks by exposing people and property to coastal flooding, and also destroys the natural resilience of socio-environmental systems.
Regulations must protect coastal ecosystems ”Rodrigo Cienfuegos Director Cigiden, teacher UC 66 If structures continue to be installed on the beach, as happened in La Serena, Papudo, San Alfonso del Mar and in countless places, we will lose their resilient capacity wetlands, beaches, dunes and mouths to cushion oceanic phenomena ”Patricio Winckler Doctor of Engineering, UV teacher
“COASTAL BORDER ADMINISTRATION PROJECT IS CONTRADICTORY”
Towards a new governance of the coast for the century researchers by Cigiden Carolina Matínez, Ignacio Martínez, Christian Paredes and Rodrigo Cienfuegos , state that the coastal zone “is a dynamic, variable and systemic space, so far from constituting a * borabarca a complex territory of variable width, since it responds to processes that occur in terrestrial and marine ecosystems”. Likewise, they argue that the coastline, “covered with an inherently public character, constitutes one of the few democratic spaces available in Chile, which is why they should include the working document“ Why does Chile need to develop wide spaces of participation of the different actors that converge or intervene in it.
Coastal spaces, therefore, should not be subject to the privatization model that fosters economic development without social equity and the degradation of their natural and cultural resources ”. Along these lines, they consider that the Coastal Edge Administration and Maritime Concessions bill, sent by the Executive to Parliament in 2012, “by promoting only the productive use of the coastline through maritime concessions, does not favor the sustainable development of the coastal zone, the protection of ecosystem services, the protection of human life from natural disasters, nor does it contribute to generating adaptive processes to climate change “that aim to ensure the sustainability of human well-being.” Due to the above, they consider it a contradictory legal initiative, “because although it underlies the recognition of the coast as a public space, in practice, it promotes a decrease in the regulatory and control powers of the State over it, in a clear trend towards the privatization of the coastal zone ”, therefore, if it prospers in the current terms,“ it will accentuate the speculative and unsustainable race for the use of coastal spaces, which is in direct contradiction with the adequate management of the same that is supposedly intended ”.