Chile's President Gabriel Boric Font Wednesday praised his country's Lower House for approving the Escazú 'green' treaty, which he said was a milestone in the path towards a new relationship between the State and its inhabitants in environmental matters.
With 105 votes in favor, 34 against, and three abstentions the draft now moves on to the Senate for consideration.
”The adherence to the Escazú Agreement represents the return to the best of our diplomatic tradition (...), our foreign policy has as a priority to contribute significantly to the protection of the environment and the fight against climate change with a focus on Human Rights,” Foreign Minister Antonia Urrejola said.
This treaty project guarantees the right of access to environmental information, public participation in environmental decision-making processes, and access to justice in environmental matters. Although Chile was one of its promoters together with Costa Rica in 2020, the administration of President Sebastián Piñera chose not to sign it.
It was one of the things Boric was committed to changing when he took office in March. Another major concern for the head of state are ancestral land rights. In that regard, he announced Wednesday that his government would deepen its commitment to the purchase of land for indigenous peoples and thus partially alleviate the historical debt of the State of Chile to native peoples.
The Chilean leader made the announcement after presiding over the first meeting of the National Corporation for Indigenous Development (Conadi) advisory council at the La Moneda Palace, where he was joined by Social Development Minister Jeanette Vega, who underlined that as a government, we are trying to make progress on the historical debt that the State of Chile has with the native peoples. An important part of this has to do with the surrender of the lands that were usurped.
We are not handing over lands or talking in exchange for security or that these lands remain productive. We are handing over the lands because it is the right thing to do, she added.
The President has pledged today to double the budget for the purchase of lands, and we as a ministry and Conadi, have committed to advance in the purchase of all those lands that of which we already have an appraisal, ... which are around 39 lands for this year, corresponding to 19 communities, she pointed out.
Vega also explained that the original budget of US$ 18 million had been increased to US$42.1 million by the end of the year. In the future we are going to restore the budget to historical levels, and we are probably going to increase it; each year we are going to execute around US$ 90.3 million, she added.