Aysen environmental groups call for creating a development corporation

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By Patricio Segura
This weekend, several socio-environmental organizations in the Aysén region called for a space in which the different views on the development of Aysén could converge.  This, as a result of the discussion on the constitution of a development corporation in which the Regional Government of Aysén participates, which must be approved by 2/3 of the regional board members.
The Private Corporation for the Development of Aysén (CODESA), which has been working on sustainable development issues in the region for more than 30 years, pointed out that it is time for the productive sector to open a dialogue with the social, cultural and environmental organizations.  "There is a framework agreement that is the Regional Development Strategy, which should guide action.  But in this there are multiple paths, where from the socio-environmental organizations we are interested in dialoguing with other sectors, the productive, trade union, social, cultural, territorial, which is the way in which public policies and investments acquire more possibilities of effectiveness,” said the president of Codesa Erwin Sandoval.
Sandoval added that one of the concrete problems that this separation, which some people are trying to maintain, "is that many investments are brought to court due to environmental problems, such as the Los Maquis power plant of Edelaysén, various salmon and mining projects, which adds uncertainty, delays, impacts territories and communities environmentally, and is a waste of resources.  As organizations, we have had to take a stand against these erroneous decisions on environmental matters, reversing them in the environmental courts and the Supreme Court. And nobody wants that."
In that regard, he said, "if there were a space for collective, plural dialogue, with different points of view, with a vision of public interest, it would be possible to work in a precautionary manner on initiatives of productive, social, cultural and environmental public interest, which is what is required."
Peter Hartmann, president of the Aysén Reserva de Vida organization, said that "it is not positive to entrench oneself in one's own visions; this is not the way to build a region.  There are different spaces in which views have converged.  The Regional Energy Development Commission that prepared the first regional energy policy is a good example of this, and if the regional government and the municipalities participate in this new corporation from the public sector, together with the private sector and the citizenry, it would be a great step forward."
For Hartmann, Aysén has a "tremendous opportunity to generate productive development based on its exceptional biodiversity and cultural characteristics, and not against these particularities.  The call is to move forward in this direction, with a real look at sustainability, which is what is required. Otherwise, we will remain at a standstill because we are not available to talk to each other."
Finally, the regional representative of the Santiago-based group Ecosistemas, Mitzi Urtubia, pointed out that "the exceptional nature of Patagonia is recognized worldwide. Its glaciers, pristine watersheds, and untouched forests should be part of the assets of development instruments.  A public-private development corporation, with the participation of the regional government, would have a lot to say in terms of studies, public policies, and monitoring.  This is a good opportunity that should not be wasted."

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