Presidents of DR and Colombia sign joint declaration creating a protected oceanic area in the Caribbean Sea
Presidents Luis Abinader of the Dominican Republic and Ivan Duque of Colombia signed a joint declaration on Tuesday that creates an oceanic protected area for the conservation of the underwater mountain range known as Cresta de Beata in the Caribbean Sea, making the country a model for the Caribbean region, being the first nation to come close to complying with the Global 30 x 30 Initiative, well before 2030.
This area will be called the Orlando Jorge Mera Marine Sanctuary, in honor of the late Minister, who had been working on this conservation project for months.
Ecological corridors are areas that have the specific function of connecting spaces of great ecosystemic importance to allow the movement of the species that inhabit them, so that their populations are not isolated and allow a genetic and energetic exchange.
The signing of the joint declaration between the two governments took place virtually, with President Luis Abinader together with the Minister of Environment of the Dominican Republic, Miguel Ceara Hatton, in the Ambassadors Hall of the National Palace, and President Iván Duque and the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Colombia, Carlos Eduardo Correa from the South American country.
Global Goal 30 x 30
In his speech, the Dominican head of state said that the idea of massively protecting areas of the planet was consolidated in the AICHI Goals in 2010, during the meeting of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
He argued that the Dominican Republic is generating the enabling conditions for the definitive declaration, including the evaluation of the biophysical, landscape, socioeconomic and cultural dimensions, for which it has made strategic alliances with international cooperation.
At the global level and under the new framework on biodiversity and the Paris Agreement, said the president, the country assumed as a commitment the initiative “Global Goal 30 x 30”, which he explained is a strategic goal for the sustenance of life of all species and includes protecting 30 percent of the world’s oceans by 2030.
The area of our territorial seas is doubled.
“Currently, the Dominican Republic has approximately 11 percent (about 45,000 km2) of its maritime spaces under protection. With this decision, we are doubling the area of our territorial seas that are protected marine spaces, adding 49,000 square kilometers to the existing ones, an extension similar to the entire territory of the Dominican Republic,” said the president.
He added that “our country is thus becoming a model for the Caribbean region, being the first country to come close to complying with the Global 30×30 Initiative, well before 2030”.
According to President Abinader, this area is home to an exceptional biodiversity and concentration of species, including some that sustain fisheries production and ecotourism, which he said will form a marine biological corridor that aims to ensure the conservation of environments of high physical and biological particularity associated with the deep sea system of seamounts of the Beata Ridge.
“Colombia and the Dominican Republic, through this joint declaration, send a strong message that evidences the commitment to climate action of the most biodiverse region in the world. We are taking action, it is time for everyone to unite,” declared the head of state at the end of his remarks.
Agreement marks a milestone
Colombian President Iván Duque, in a brief speech, considered that President Abinader is a ruler with great sensitivity to environmental issues.
He informed that the signing of this agreement, in part, was thanks to the leadership of President Abinader, since he allowed them to sit down to work on what would be a binational corridor of protected areas.
“The Beata mountain range is an underwater mountain range that has thousands and thousands of species. Today it allows us to say that we are elevating it to an unprecedented international status in terms of bilateral agreements,” Duque said.
He added that both Colombia and the Dominican Republic, with the signing of this agreement, mark a historic milestone in regional environmental policy and a new step in bilateral relations between the two nations.
He also called on the environmental leaders of Latin America to join this voice of environmental union “so that science and research will allow us to go deeper through cartographic and geographic surveys, joint biology and analysis of the endemic species of this mountain range”.
President Abinader was accompanied by the Administrative Minister of the Presidency, José Ignacio Paliza; the Acting Minister of the Presidency, Joel Santos Echavarría; the Minister of Culture, Milagros Germán and the Vice Minister of Administration and Finance of MAPRE, Igor Rodríguez Durán.
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