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September 22, 2017

President Bachelet: “Without collective progress, there won’t be individual progress”

In her speech during the UN General Assembly debate, President Bachelet reiterated Chile’s commitment to the E2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, emphasizing that "many of the major local challenges are and will continue to be global challenges. Each global challenge must also be addressed with a local response.”

The President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, spoke this afternoon at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, where she reiterated Chile’s commitment to fulfilling the E2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

President Bachelet began her remarks sending “a fraternal greeting to the people of Mexico, especially the friends and relatives of the victims of the terrible earthquake that struck that country yesterday. My thoughts are also with the relatives of the victims and all those affected by the hurricanes that have hit the region in recent days and weeks, causing enormous damage and loss that is, in some cases, irreparable.”

In that context, she noted that “the notion of development that has predominated until now has been shaken by the relentless reality of climate change. We can close our eyes and deny reality, the devastating impact of which will become increasingly intense and frequent, or we can take responsibility. Beyond reducing CO2 emissions, that means daring to transform our manufacturing models and rethinking the type of growth we want to favor.

The President stressed the need for joint work and multilateral cooperation, remarking that, “many of the major local challenges are and will continue to be global challenges. Each global challenge must also be met with a local response.”

Regarding Chile’s initiatives toward fulfillment of the E2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, President Bachelet cited: the implementation of a National Climate Change Action Plan; a Green Tax that has been levied on CO2 emissions from fixed sources; an increase in non-conventional renewable energy sources from 6.3% to 17% of the grid, with the goal of reaching 90% by 2050; active participation in the “Our Ocean” initiative, as well as the creation of new marine parks and protected marine areas, reaching a historic 1.329 million square kilometers under marine conservation; and the addition of 4.5 million hectares of green areas through the creation of a park network in Patagonia.

Given that 8 million tons of plastic reach the ocean each year, generating a tremendously negative impact, President Bachelet announced “we will submit a bill to prohibit the use of plastic bags in coastal cities within 12 months. This law will enable the public to contribute towards protecting the oceans. This means we will be the first country in the Americas to implement this kind of law and we urge other countries to take on this responsibility”.

President Bachelet also reported that Chile recently became one of the first countries to ratify the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which aims to prevent climate change, with an expected impact of 0.5 degrees Celsius.

“This shows that where there is a will and the public and private worlds join forces, progress is possible. Sustainable development is not an ideal that is impossible to fund. On the contrary, it is the best way to ensure economic activity over time,” said the President.

During her speech, President Bachelet also referred to her administration’s educational reform, saying “it is our way of reasserting the idea that without collective progress, there won’t be individual progress. There cannot be lasting wellbeing when some privileged groups lose touch with the most disadvantaged. That is our way of making sure that real wellbeing is necessarily founded in common bonds and universal values.”

President Bachelet also referred to the crisis currently underway in Venezuela, noting that, “Chile’s definition of peace, democracy, human rights and free trade remains unalterable”. Therefore, together with 11 countries from the region, we have called for credible dialog between the government and the opposition in Venezuela. We are willing to play the role that the Venezuelans choose, with the goal of getting results in a peaceful, political and democratic manner”.

In the same vein, she stated, “we hope the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will cease nuclear testing, uphold UN Security Council resolutions, thereby contributing towards guaranteeing the lasting stability of Northeast Asia, and will seek to resolve the situation through peaceful, diplomatic and political channels. In that vein, Chile has participated actively in negotiations on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which we signed early this morning.”

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