This Wednesday begins the ninth Summit of the Americas and the government of Gabriel Boric will arrive at the forum promoting “turquoise diplomacy”, an environmental commitment.
The day she was appointed to the post Chancellor Antonia Urrejola took up the term on his Twitter account.
After March 11, “turquoise diplomacy” became a fundamental pillar of the Gabriel Boric administration’s foreign and environmental policy.
What is “turquoise diplomacy”?
The term was coined just a year ago by a Chilean think tank.
“It is the hallmark with which the President seeks to highlight Chile’s contribution to the protection of marine and terrestrial ecosystems”assured Efe the political scientist Cristóbal Bywaters, director of the New Foreign Policy and “father” of the term with the ecologists Pedro Glatz and Camila Carrasco.
The “turquoise” comes precisely from the mixture between green, the color of terrestrial biodiversity, and blue, associated with the oceans.
Thus, Boric will promote this new concept at the Summit of the Americas, where he will speak of the need to address environmental problems both on land and at sea in an “interconnected” way.
Ambitious network of marine reserves
As part of the summit, Boric will speak on Thursday in the coalition “The Americas for the protection of the ocean”a body that aims to establish a major maritime corridor along the American Pacific and to which Canada has already joined.
“The idea is to create a large reserve of Canada at the Chiloé Islands, with interconnected reserves. This route is also the one taken by the whales,” Urrejola explained to Efe before traveling with the president to Los Angeles.
For Greenpeace campaign coordinator Estefanía González, “marine corridors are very important because marine species do not distinguish between the sovereignty of one country or another”, but we have to wait to see the “scope of the coalition.
Along the same lines, NatGeo Pristine Seas’ Latin America Director, Alex Muñoz, said that “for too long the sea has been relegated from environmental politics.”
“A healthy ocean can be humanity’s best ally in ensuring food security and an effective tool against climate change”stressed Efe.
According to the UN, the oceans absorb about 30% of the carbon dioxide produced by humans, thus mitigating the consequences of global warming.
“We always say that forests are the great lungs of the planet, but so are the oceans,” González added to Efe.
Overexploitation of fishing, plastic pollution and the lack of protection of special habitats, mainly those located near the coasts, are the main threats to the oceans, according to experts.
Chile, with nearly 6,500 kilometers of coastline, has approximately 44% of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) under some degree of protection and is home to unique marine parks in the world such as Juan Fernández, Nazca Desventuradas and Motu Motiro Hiva..
“For many years, Chile depreciated its sea. Fortunately, in the last decade it changed its vision and created the largest fully protected marine parks in Latin America,” said NatGeo’s Muñoz.
However, most of this protection affects oceanic islands, “leaving a significant debt to coastal areas”, Liesbeth van der Meer, director of Oceana Chile, told Efe.
“The Humboldt Current, responsible for the country’s great marine wealth, moves along much of our coast,” he added.
The “turquoise diplomacy” that Boric seeks to promote is part of so-called “niche diplomacy,” strategies used by small and medium-sized countries to make themselves visible to the world and cultivate international status, according to Bywaters..
Canada, for example, stands out for its contribution to humanitarian demining, while Norway specializes in conflict mediation.
“Chile, at the time, was the champion of free trade with the signing of dozens of treaties. With good and creative management – concluded Bywaters – environmental diplomacy can be for Chilean foreign policy what FTAs once were”.