Chile announces national mountain committee


The Chilean Mountain Committee was created on 12 September 2014. Seven ministers and seven service chiefs signed a decree forming a working group, which will aim to advise diverse state institutions on strategies for the sustainable use of these ecosystems in Chile.

Some 65 percent of the Chilean territory is composed of mountains, ecosystems considered fragile worldwide. But, they deliver services that ensure the humankind survival: they are the habitat of endemic species, contain mineral wealth and provide freshwater. In addition, mountains accumulate water in winter season as snow, as well as inside of their structure, draining it into groundwater and allowing cities and activities like farming use the water for their development.

In 2002, the General Assembly of the United Nations recommended that countries with mountains form an international partnership to promote sustainable use of these ecosystems. Each country, meanwhile, pledged to create a National Mountain Committee, which today was formally constituted in Chile, through the publication of its decree in the Official Journal. The decree was signed by seven ministers and seven heads of services.

For Jaime Rovira, Head of the Ecosystems and Ecological Planning Section of the Ministry of the Environment, this official decree gives recognition to mountain ecosystems and their relevant role in Chilean territory. Moreover, it is a clear signal to the signers’ institutions that mountains are a theme that transcends governments.

Protected Mountains

The main tasks of this committee, says Rovira, “will be to advise institutions on best strategies for a sustainable use of mountain ecosystems, increasing the knowledge of these spaces and generating the necessary criteria to incorporate their protection into public policies, strategies, national plans and actions, within other functions, pointing to the mountains protection".

The committee comprises representatives of the following institutions and organizations: Ministries of Foreign Affairs (chair of the committee); National Defense; Economy, Development and Tourism; Agriculture; Environment and National Assets. Furthermore, the National Office of Emergency, National Tourism Service, National Corporation for Indigenous Development, General Water Department, National Forest Corporation, National Service of Geology and Mining and Investigations Police.

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