SANTIAGO – Chile is the OECD country that spends the least on environmental protection as a percentage of gross domestic product, a study by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Chilean government says.
In 2012, Chile spent 145 billion pesos (some $260 million, based on the average exchange rate that year) on environmental protection, according to the study, which was presented at a conference titled “Environmental Performance and Information: Second Evaluation of Chile.”
That figure is equivalent to 0.1 percent of Chile’s GDP, the lowest proportion among all of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, which include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico and 21 of the 28 European Union member states.
It also is lower than estimates from previous years and the levels of other countries in the region such as Colombia (0.3 percent of GDP) and the European Union’s average (0.67 percent).
Per-capita spending on environmental protection in 2012 was approximately 9,000 pesos (roughly $16), according to the study.
In addition, even though air pollution is considered one of the country’s top environmental problems, government spending on air protection amounted to just 4.2 percent of the total outlay on environmental protection (some $10 million).
Even so, Chile’s deputy environment secretary, Marcelo Mena, hailed the progress his country has made on environmental policy since the first evaluation was conducted 10 years ago.
With a strategic vision with respect to environmental information, “we will not only improve our environmental management but also support the construction of a more fair and democratic country,” Mena said.