Michelle Bachelet, President of the Republic of Chile, was recognized in the Policy Leadership category for her outstanding leadership in creating marine protected areas and boosting renewable energy.
“Chile has shown the world that you don’t need to be a rich country to preserve the environment.,” said President Bachelet. “I feel honored to be included in this outstanding group of people and grateful for being acknowledged as one of this year’s Champions of the Earth, the UN’s highest environmental recognition.”
In October 2015, President Bachelet established 3 marine protected areas in Chile to conserve biodiversity. These include the marine park Nazca-Desventuradas in San Ambrosio and San Felix Islands, a range of protected areas and marine parks in the Juan Fernandez Islands and an extension of the protected areas in the Easter Island.
The total coverage is now over 1 million km2, making it the largest in the world. This initiative is aligned with the UN mission of protecting at least 10 per cent of the oceans by 2020.
Aside from marine environmental protection, her policies have helped to facilitate a nationwide transition to clean energy. In the four years leading up to 2017, renewable energy production surged from 6 to 17 per cent of Chile’s energy mix.
In June 2017, two new marine parks and a permanent assessment group on climate change were planned.