Chile to restore 1 mn hectares of vulnerable natural landscapes by 2030

Santiago, Jan 31 (EFE).- Chile’s government launched a $5.7 million plan here Tuesday to restore 1 million hectares (3,860 square miles) of territory that has high natural and landscape value and is vulnerable to the climate crisis.

“We’re facing a triple environmental crisis: climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution,” Environment Minister Maisa Rojas said during the presentation of the plan, whose aims are to be achieved by 2030. “With the implementation of this plan, we’re making strides to fulfill the government’s commitments.”

Launched in tandem with the Agriculture and Housing and Urban Planning ministries, the goal of the initiative is to mitigate and reverse the phenomenon of climate crisis-triggered biodiversity loss affecting different Chilean regions.

The project will focus primarily on an area of the country that stretches from the Coquimbo Region (located north of Santiago) to the Bio Bio Region (south of the capital).

“The 2017 blazes meant the loss of 700,000 hectares of plantations, of native forests, and this restoration project stems from” that wildfire emergency, Agriculture Minister Esteban Valenzuela said.

Financing for the so-called National Landscape Restoration Plan will come from the Global Environment Facility, a multilateral fund connecting 184 member governments that helps developing countries address their biggest environmental priorities.

Chile, where a longstanding drought has lasted more than 13 years, is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change and the nation of the Western Hemisphere with the most severe water crisis.

More than three-fourths of its territory is affected by water scarcity, owing partially to a dearth of rainfall but also to a legal framework (adopted in 1981 under a right-wing military dictatorship) that does not regard that vital resource as a public good and does not prioritize its use for human consumption, according to environmental organizations like Greenpeace.

Chile has among the highest levels of water privatization on Earth, according to that non-governmental organization, which estimates that today an estimated 80 percent of the country’s water resources are in private hands, controlled in particular by large agricultural, mining and energy companies. EFE


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