Column by Sylvia Díaz: Sustainable development: an imperative to build a better future together

A few days ago I visited the Coquimbo region to work with different actors on how to move towards sustainable development. The repercussions were alarming, as the current volume of water reserves in the region’s reservoirs does not exceed 12% on average. The most severe scenario is in Limari Province, where the Recoleta reservoir reaches only 19% of its capacity, while the La Paloma and Cojoti reservoir reaches only 8%. The numbers appear even more alarming if we take into account that 5 out of 10 types of vegetables most consumed by our population have their national production concentrated in this region.

The climate crisis and related extreme weather events, such as environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, have become one of the most pressing challenges of recent times, and it is increasingly clear that we need rapid and widespread action to address human well-being above all else. the people. Naturally, this includes strengthening democracy and governance, as well as promoting new economic models from the perspective of sustainability and climate neutrality.

In this context, the National Strategy for Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation (CTCI) prepared by our Council proposes “To make Chile a country that achieves development and prosperity in a sustainable and comprehensive manner, based on the knowledge society.”It is based on recognition of this “Only at the beginning of this century did humanity realize that it must take charge of the greatest challenge facing the species: the sustainability of the physical and biological substrate that allows its existence.”

To confront this situation, we as a country have an urgent need to move towards sustainable productive development.

Today, the challenge of addressing these complexities is not only technical, but also involves understanding the fact that there is no single discourse. We must realize that addressing global phenomena requires understanding and accepting the complexity of subjective matters and finding common points that allow us to move forward.

Let us not lose sight of the goal: if we want Chile to become a globally connected country in 2050, bringing well-being and development to its population, and taking care of the health of its ecosystems in different regions, the premise is: implement transformations as quickly as possible. If we seek to restore interpersonal trust and confidence in our institutions, develop critical and reflective thinking, and form active citizens in building a common enterprise, we cannot stand idly by.

This is where science, technology, knowledge and innovation can contribute the most as drivers of major economic, social and cultural transformations. United are able to support decisions in multiple areas and, together with civil society, also help to strengthen the ethical framework for scientific and technological development, putting people’s well-being and access to its benefits at the centre.

In the face of the unprecedented climate challenge, we must work together and make profound changes to improve the social and economic aspects that affect the lives of citizens in the Coquimbo region and in the rest of the cities from Arica to Punta Arenas. It is from the present that we build the future reality, and although it is increasingly full of uncertainty and complexities, I am confident that through an approach that includes systematic, comprehensive and innovative government policies, as well as the cooperation of government, the private sector and civil society. We can work together to hope for a future that fixes current problems.

Written by Silvia Díaz Acosta, President of the National Council for Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation

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