Appeal on Chile's El Yali Ramsar site
(posted to the Ramsar Forum, 22 October 1997)
Dear fellow members of the Ramsar Forum,
El Yali Wetland is the major wetland ecosystem in Central Chile, characterized by its unique and abundant waterfowl. It has been a National Protected Area since April 1996 and a Ramsar site since December 1996. This wetland is now severely threatened on three major counts: 1) A highway planned by the Ministry of Public Works, which in some approaches would run through the ecosystem, while it can be easily routed so as to skip this area; 2) Unrestricted traffic of jeeps, motorcycles and other vehicles along the beach that forms an integral part of the ecosystem, which is badly affecting the waterfowl in the vicinity of the sea, its most crucial habitat, and the dunes that protect the area; 3) illegal hunting in the vicinity, including nesting areas.
In view of this situation, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Social Sciences, and the Museum of Natural Science and Archaeology of San Antonio have convened a major Conference to be held in Santiago, Chile, on November 26 next. Key government officials, including the Minister of Public Works and the Director of the National Forest Service (entrusted with the protection of the wetland), scientists and influential policy-makers, including local leaders and other interested persons, have all been invited to attend.
The Conference will examine the national policy on protected areas (Director of the National Forest Service), the scientific importance of the wetland (Vilina, Valverde), the management of the wetland (Araya, Möder), interferences with the ecosystem (Brito), the implications under Ramsar (Schlatter, Orrego), the plans for the coastal highway (Ricardo Lagos, Minister of Public Works), Environmental Impact Assessment and national development policies (Manzur, CODEFF).
The purpose of the Conference is to convince the government and local institutions about the need for an integral protection of the ecosystem, and eventually to have this serve as a model for other protected areas in Chile.
If you need further information on the Conference, please address your e-mail to: email@example.com, who is in charge of organization. YOU CAN HELP!
Please send me the following message of support which I will deliver to the pertinent officials at the Conference:
"I fully support the effort to protect the El Yali wetland ecosystem. In particular I request: 1) the Ministry of Public Works to build the proposed coastal highway in such a way as to surround the ecosystem and avoid all interferences with it; 2) the Major and City Council of Santo Domingo to effectively curtail the unrestricted traffic of jeeps, motorcycles and vehicles along the beach; 3) the Agriculture and Livestock Service (Servicio Agricola y Ganadero) to declare the whole ecosystem as an area of prohibited hunting; 4) the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that the obligations under the Ramsar Convention are fully complied with by all public services in Chile. Your name and institutional affiliation".
Thank you and best wishes,
Francisco Orrego Vicuña
Institute of International Studies
University of Chile
Postal address: P.O. Box 14187,
Sec.21 Santiago 9., Chile
Tel.: (56-2) 2745377
Fax: (56-2) 2740155
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