Press release for CODEX Verde.
The experts together with senators, and representatives of NGOs and Community Environmental Committees of the Central Coast, propose a regulation that is capable of protecting the marine-coastal ecosystems and promoting a sustainable development of our coast, in accordance with the needs and challenges that adaptation entails. to climate change.
With the question “Why does Chile need a Coastal Law”, a group of scientists with the support of environmental NGOs and community environmental committees of the country’s central coast, presented in Valparaíso a proposal for regulations that not only protect the valuable ecosystems of the coastal zone, but also to reduce the risk of disasters of natural origin, which Chile “builds” every day, by allowing both legal and illegal occupation of the coastal zone throughout the territory.
The proposal, consolidated in the paper “Why does Chile need a Coastal Law. Towards a new governance of the coast for the 21st century “, experts indicate that the main thing in the country is to change the concept of coastal border by coastal zone: “It means being able to protect more territory, since the border comprises only 200 meters from the shore, while the coastal zone would allow protecting about four kilometers of coastal ecosystems that include dune fields, beaches, wetlands and others ”, assures Carolina Martínez, UC Geography academic and researcher CIGIDEN .
On the other hand, Senator Ximena Órdenes clarified, during her speech at the seminar, she pointed out that “it is unprecedented that we do not have a Coastal Law that takes charge of the environment. There is sufficient evidence on the threats in coastal areas as a result of the climate change Therefore, we must address this problem urgently and from a more comprehensive perspective of its management ”.
Fragility and ecosystem richness
This is even more worrisome, indicates the director of CIGIDEN and UC Engineering academic, Rodrigo Cienfuegos, if we consider that the coastal area constitutes an area of enormous fragility and ecosystem richness, but it is also the first line in the face of tsunamis and storm surges. “The 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,” said the expert.
The director of the FONDAP scientific center also stated that if we take care of nature, it will take care of us: “There is ample scientific evidence regarding the mitigation of the impact of floods offered by this type of green infrastructure, therefore, the regulations must protect coastal ecosystems and thus stop their erosion ”, warned Cienfuegos.
Therefore, Senator Alfonso De Urresti raises there should be a more systemic protection of our coasts, where the emphasis is on climate change with an inclusive perspective. While Senator Kenneth Pugh commented, “that we need a framework law to better administer and manage our coastal territory, considering the challenges posed by climate change.”
Sustainable development and environmental justification
The proposal, explains Patricio Winckler, academic at the University of Valparaíso and researcher at CIGIDEN –who made a presentation on the scientific impacts of climate change on the coast–, includes a series of principles for the formulation of the Coastal Law, including the integrated management approach to coastal areas, sustainable development, environmental justification, and community participation in coastal territory management.
In the document, the experts conclude that it is urgent to advance in the enactment of a Coastal Law that replaces the restricted notion of the coastline and is structured on the basis of the concept of the coastal zone, including as a management object. This perspective, Carolina Martínez clarifies, “involves great advantages to effectively articulate territorial planning instruments, which include governance based on truly participatory and democratic processes that promote equity and environmental justice on the coast of the entire Chilean territory.