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Forests submission of CEADA

Action Alert

15 July, 2002

CEADA, on behalf of NGOs of Southern Chile, presented a submission to the Canada-Chile Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CCCEC) pursuant to Article 14 of the Chile–Canada Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (CCAEC) on June 21, 2002.

CEADA’s submission presents evidence that the Government of Chile is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws regarding the construction of the “Southern Coastal Highway” project (Carretera Costera Sur). The construction of the Southern Coastal Highway threatens one of the planet’s most important ecosystems and the survival of many plant and animal species which do not exist anywhere else on earth.

Chilean authorities’ failure to effectively enforce Chile’s environmental law have caused severe harm to Southern Chile’s natural resources and forest biodiversity. The acts and omissions include allowing illegal cutting of native forests in the Contaco River, an Officially Protected Area; the failure to conduct an environmental impact assessment for several Sectors of the Southern Coastal Highway; the illegal approval of the Environmental Impact Study of Mansa Bay-Hueicolla River, the illegal intervention in the Chaihuin-Hueicolla Protected Area; and the impact on the river bank, the water and hydro-biological resources in the Contaco River.

The submitters raised these omissions with the Tenth Region’s Environmental Commission, the courts of justice, the Office of the Auditor General, the Executive Board of the National Commission for the Environment, the Highway Authority and the Commission for the Environment, Natural Resources and National Property of the House of Representatives, without timely response or resolution. No agency took measures to protect or improve the environment in the Tenth Region, especially in its coastal zone, the largest reserve of primary forest of high biodiversity in the south of South America, according to technical reports, articles, and studies presented with the submission. The construction of the Southern Coastal Highway will affect the stability of the Huilliches communities (Indigenous People) with historical property rights in this territory, according to experts reports.

Main objectives sought with the submission presented by CEADA:

1. Foster the protection and improvement of the environment in the territories of the Parties for the well being of present and future generations. This is particularly relevant in relation to the environmental heritage of Chile’s Tenth Region and its Coastal Mountain Range, the last untouched biological reserve of forest in the south of South America;

2. Promote sustainable development based on cooperation and mutually supportive environmental and economic policies. It is essential that the sustainability and biodiversity of the Tenth Region’s native forests be ensured through the joint action of Canada and Chile.

3. Increase cooperation between the Parties to better conserve, protect, and enhance the environment, including wild flora and fauna. This case is particularly appropriate for successful cooperation, for the benefit of the flora and fauna of one of the Parties.

4. Enhance compliance with, and enforcement of, environmental laws and regulations; and

5. Promote transparency and access to information, public participation in the development of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

Requests presented by CEADA to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation:

1. That the National Secretary will consider the present submission and forward it to the Joint Submission Committee, thus initiating the procedure to corroborate the lack of enforcement of Chilean environmental legislation in the case of the Southern Coastal Highway Project;

2. That, based on Articles 14 and 15 of the Agreement and in view of the lack of effective enforcement of Chilean environmental legislation, a factual record be prepared, that will contribute to the corroboration of all that was said here and will show that the Chilean authorities omitted information related to the effective enforcement of the environmental legislation;

3. That, the lack of effective enforcement of environmental legislation documented in the on-site inspections carried by the Ministry of Public Works will be investigated;

4. That an environmental impact evaluation be conducted for each sector of the Southern Coastal Highway Project.

5. That the Ministry of Public Works be effectively sanctioned for its lack of compliance with the conditions pursuant to the EIA approved for the Southern Coastal Highway Project; and

6. That the Highway Authority and the Bueno River Corporation be sanctioned for the environmental damages caused to the Contaco River.

CEADA trust that the submission will result in appropriate “Recommendations” that will allow the conservation of the environment of the Tenth Region of Chile, particularly the area affected by the Southern Coastal Highway, thus achieving the goals and obligations of the Canada-Chile Agreement for Environmental Cooperation.

CEADA needs your support. You can help us to protect one of last remaining primary forest in South America. Call, write or send a fax or e-mail to the Canadian Secretariat of the Chile – Canada Commission on Environmental Cooperation requesting to act quickly regarding the submission of the Southern Coastal Highway project. Please contact:

David Anderson, P.C., M.P.
Minister of the Environment
28th Floor, Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
10 Wellington Street
Hull, Québec
Canada K1A OH3
Tel.: (819) 997-1441
Fax: (819) 953-3457

Also you can call or send a fax or e-mail to the International Network on Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE), requesting INECE’s Secretariat to serve as a “watchdog” of the submission presented before the Chilean Secretariat of the CCECA.

INECE Secretariat
Phone: 1-301-946-8966
Fax: 1-301-946-8984
e-mail: inece.secretariat@inece.org

For further information contact:

Miguel Fredes
Centro Austral de Derecho Ambiental - C E A D A
[Southern Environmental Law Center]
Tel-Fax(56)(65)313969 (Puerto Montt)
Mobile: 09-2959059

From: miguelforest@yahoo.com

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