Based on an agreement between the Secretariat of Tourism and Protected Areas of Chubut and the National Patagonian Center (CENPAT), the project was developed and the application form was carried out, coordinated by the Secretariat of Tourism and executed by CENPAT researcher Pablo Garcia Borboroglu.
In this regard, the Secretary of Tourism and Protected Areas of Chubut, Carlos Zonza Nigro, pointed out that "this application is part of our Comprehensive Conservation Plan, where we set ourselves as a central objective within this management at least to double the number of hectares under figures of conservation to achieve 10% of our protected territory ”. And he stressed: “Our system of protected areas has allowed us to grow in the tourism industry. We aim to continue linking tourism with sustainable development and conservation; we know that it is the key for the future and the order for the present ”.
He also indicated that "conserving does not mean prohibiting development, but doing it in a sustainable way that allows tourism to continue to be an essential part of our economy but also that we guarantee the same access and enjoyment to the next generations." For his part, the researcher García Borboroglu pointed out that “the Biosphere Reserve project was born about a year and a half ago, from conversations we had with the Secretary of Tourism, Carlos Zonza Nigro, and with the Governor Martín Buzzi himself. The idea was to give another level of protection to an entire area that was previously considered separate ”and stressed that“ when you see the map you realize that it is a very large area that goes from Route 3 to 24 nautical miles; this is a lot of continent and ocean ”.
He also highlighted that the current political context gives rise to the development of these initiatives in terms of conservation and pointed out that “it is a good moment, sometimes we are rowing for 30 years and we cannot, and now we are making much progress thanks to the impulse of the governor and the Secretary of Tourism ”.
About the beginnings
The idea came from the Punta Tombo area, taking into account that it is the world's largest reserve of Magellanic penguins and does not have any type of protection in the sea area. "Penguins are seabirds, so if we want to protect the resource, we must protect the penguins' food," said García Borboroglu, who is also the president of the Global Penguin Society Association, an internationally renowned entity. “From there we started to move forward and the idea came from the Government to create a Biosphere Reserve that encompasses Tombo. So we started small and ended up with a reserve of 3.1 million hectares, the largest in Argentina, and with three nuclei: the Tombo marine area, an intermediate area from Cabo Raso to the Bay of Camarones, and the third it is the Coastal Marine Interjurisdictional Park ”, he explained. In this way, the participatory process of preparing the form of about 200 pages concluded and obtained the endorsement of National Parks, the National Ministry of the Environment and the National Chancellery, in addition to the endorsements of the Mayor of Camarones, Ramona Rosales, and the Mayor of the Marine Park, Germán Solveira. Through the Ministry of the Environment of the Nation, today the application was raised to France for review; thus, in July 2015 Chubut would be receiving the UNESCO mention.
The greatest biodiversity
By including Punta Tombo and the Coastal Marine Park, this project turned out to be Argentina's most biodiverse coastal sector in the country, with 53 species of land mammals, 190 species of algae, 84 species of birds, unique marine environments and much more. "Camarones is the only human settlement within the Biosphere Reserve, it is a small population that is going to benefit a lot from this, for example by including the seal on Camarones wool," said the researcher. What is innovative in this figure of the Biosphere - unlike the World Heritage Site - is that it is not only protection, but also implies the conservation of resources and the economic fulfillment of those who live there. "This comes from UNESCO itself, with a conception of incorporating people to live with resources and know how to use them, promoting sustainable development and not only the protection of existing values," said García Borboroglu.