For two days, representatives of 21 organizations interested in working in marine conservation met in Valdivia to present their main principles and objectives and to seek common ground to promote joint initiatives.
Some of the results of this conference included an agreement to analyze the environmental situation of the sea in Chile and to produce a portfolio of High Conservation Value areas in addition to the availability of data and metadata with information relevant to the various organizations. Furthermore, the participating organizations agreed to support the management of applications related to the declaration of Marine Protected Areas, logistical support and infrastructure for the development of scientific research, among other issues.
At the same time the entities analyzed the opportunities for influencing public policies, an area in which the crucial points are the creation of the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Service, the Coastline Act and the National Biodiversity Strategy.
In the communications area the participating organizations stressed the need for a campaign aimed at raising awareness about the importance of protecting the sea and its rich biodiversity.
"The expectations of this workshop have been met, since networks were created, certain agendas for future work have been set up and we are working on defining a mission, moving towards being so much more than just a group of people and institutions . I think that in that sense there is a potential for the future, there is a will to keep working together and doing things, " Diego Urrejola, CEO of the Mar Adentro Foundation said.
Meanwhile, Rafaela Landea, executive director of Centro MERI highlighted the interest and enthusiasm generated by this activity focused on an issue that is currently facing a complex scenario. "There are many aspects that today have no legislation and abysmal loopholes and deep core issues, but I want to be positive and I think that this group can achieve some progress and put pressures at public policy levels, get some order, disseminate, deliver a message that, in the end, will be positive for Chile and for our sea, " he said.
Alberto Tacón, manager of WWF Chile Protected Areas expressed his appreciation of the opportunity offered by the meeting and the conclusions that had been reached. "We are in a context that may become favorable because a new government will come into power so it is important to offer tangible proposals for the new authorities to take on so that they can incorporate them into their program and show that there is indeed articulation and capacity on part of the organizations to put forth clear and robust proposals, ", he said.
At the same time, Layla Osman, Marine Conservation Specialist from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), said that "it was an excellent initiative which brought together all the relevant people interested in marine conservation and it helped us achieve a common program of issues of interest and to combine synergies that will permit us to do a good job in the future. Some of the conclusions include working together to create a portfolio of high conservation value areas and to establish protected areas in Chile, and to work on biodiversity and costal border laws.”
This first "Meeting of Private Initiatives for Marine Conservation" was organized by the Mar Adentro Foundation, WWF Chile, Centro MERI, The Nature Conservancy, Centro Ballena Azul (CBA) and Ahuenco Park.