Max Bello, expert on ocean protection and biodiversity summit: “Chile plays a very important role in the global diplomatic agenda”

Max Bello is a leading expert on ocean protection and was a participant at the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity (COP15) in Montreal, which runs until Monday.

Public policy adviser Mission Blue underlined the importance of this conference, especially taking into account the triple crisis affecting the world, with reference to climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.

For the specialist, the protection of the ocean is paramount, especially in its role as an oxygen generator, an area in which Chile plays a leading role.

Clear goals

-What is the importance of the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity (COP15) in Montreal?
-It is one of the most important, in the framework of the triple crisis due to pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss. We are losing at an accelerating rate many species that are critical to the health of the planet, of which we are a part of humanity.

-The Conference aims to halt the decline of ecosystems by protecting 30 percent of the land and sea worldwide until 2030, the strategy known as “30×30”. What do you think of this strategy in the area of ​​oceans?
-The objective of the conference is to create a framework for the next 10 years and this is fundamental, because if we do not participate correctly, ambitiously and with clear objectives to resolve this situation, we can lose the battle and, with that, the key pieces for our planet.

One of the key things, once we have a consensus on the 30 percent issue, is to be able to improve the quality of those areas. In other words, it is not the same to advance the creation of marine protected areas, for example, by 30%, if there are still significant impacts on those marine protected areas.

For example, high-impact activities, especially industrial ones, should not be allowed. And there many of us are pushing for it to be like this, that they are marine protected areas that allow biodiversity to be maintained, but also to recover the lost one.


-What measures will be discussed at the summit specifically for the protection of the oceans?
-We are talking about many regulatory frameworks, or rather objectives, that allow us to protect and recover biodiversity. It precisely touches on issues such as species trafficking, the eradication of invasive species, the sustainable uses of certain environments, ecosystems and species, above all the protection of very important elements, on which less intervention is done, for example, in more intact and pristine areas of the land and the sea.

-What is the importance of the oceans for the conservation of biodiversity?
The oceans are the source of life on the planet. Not only the place where the greatest amount of biodiversity is found, but also the ecosystem that sequesters the most carbon. Therefore, today when it comes to climate change, biodiversity, the ocean is precisely the cornerstone, the key, for the protection of this planet, and therefore actions must be aimed at the health of the global ocean.

Role of Chile

-How is climate change affecting biodiversity in the oceans?
-When we talk about the triple crisis, we know very well that the ocean is badly affected. For example, in pollution we see everything that has to do with plastic, but also climate change, with the change in temperature, less oxygen, less life and acidification. And today we also know that the main threat to the ocean is the loss of biodiversity, mainly due to the excessive exploitation of fish resources.

Therefore, it is precisely here that once again the creation of marine protected areas becomes more important, because it maintains key, critical places, confluences, or even routes where species and ecosystems thrive. Through this 30% of protected areas, which should be of quality, it can provide more resilience to the ocean, which means it will better resist these other global shocks, such as climate change, and therefore help us get out of this global problem.

-What has been Chile’s contribution in this regard, especially with oceanic protected areas?
-Chile has not only achieved 43% protected areas, which is one of the highest percentages of protection, but also achieved it through highly protected, highly and totally protected areas, which are the best qualities. The most important thing is not only that he created these areas, but he pushed other countries to follow that path, and he also fought for other fundamental issues.

For example, today Chile is one of the main players to stop this new idea of ​​underwater mining. Chile was also a key negotiator of the High Seas Agreement. There are several roles that Chile plays that are perhaps less well known, but are very important on the global diplomatic agenda of the United Nations.

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