This morning, Minister of Foreign Affairs Heraldo Muñoz headed the launch of the Council of Ministers for the Development of Ocean Policy, along with José Antonio Gómez, the Minister of National Defense; Pablo Badenier, the Minister of Environment; and Raúl Súnico, the Undersecretary of Fisheries.
The initiative aims at creating an integrated and inclusive National Ocean Policy that would enable our country to face the huge oceanic challenges that lie ahead in a coordinated and long-term way. The creation of this initiative was one of the goals our country committed to during the Our Ocean Conference held in Chile in October 2015. "There are only eight countries in the world that have a national ocean policy, and it was time for Chile to have one," the Foreign Minister proclaimed.
In his speech, the Secretary of State emphasized the leadership and commitment the Chilean government has shown with regards to the United Nations´ Sustainable Development Goals and the International Law of the Sea. "Chile is positioned as a key player in international ocean matters, putting our sea in its rightful place in both national and foreign policy," assured the Foreign Minister.
During the ceremony, the ministers of state signed a decree that created the Presidential Advisory Commission entitled "The Council of Ministers for the Development of the Ocean Policy." The council is part of an ongoing project that is being carried out by Chile and that was coordinated in part by the Ministers present at the ceremony. The project seeks to respond to the national and international commitment made by the Chilean state regarding its oceans.
"We are an ocean country and sometimes it may look like we live with our backs to the sea. We have a responsibility to preserve the ocean and use it in a responsible way for both present and future generations," expressed Foreign Minister Muñoz. Additionally, he highlighted that "we have created more protected marine areas than any other country in the region."
After the event, the ministers participated in a conversation entitled "The importance of ocean policy for the future of Chile," moderated by the journalist Amaro Gómez-Pablos. Each minister gave their account of the progress and projections of the topic at hand. "In a few decades we are going be very proud of what we are doing today," said Minister Muñoz.
The event was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, the academic world, and representatives of civil society organizations.
Council of Ministers for the Development of Ocean Policy
The Council will be presided over by Foreign Minister Muñoz and will consist of the Minister of National Defense, the Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, and the Minister of Environment. It will include an inter-ministry work committee that will have the ability to create advisory commissions in different areas of work and analysis. In addition, it will include an Executive Secretary located in the Undersecretariat of Foreign Relations.
The Council functions will include proposing the National Ocean Policy to the President of the Republic, which contains a set of orientations, scopes, priorities, interests and institutions relating to the subject of oceans, as well as establishing the implementation, development, monitoring and compliance of the Ocean Policy. It will also coordinate public organizations that have expertise associated with ocean activity.