Chile meeting highlights shared priorities addressing pandemic & climate issues
On 22 June, BGIPU hosted a virtual bilateral meeting between UK Members of Parliament and Members of the Chilean Congress. The meeting, which served as a follow-up to a bilateral engagement BGIPU hosted in January, was attended by Senator Kenneth Pugh, Deputy Javier Macaya, Chile’s Ambassador to the UK, HE David Gallagher, Baroness Hooper, Lord Mountevans, Chris Matheson MP, and Angus MacNeil MP.
Delegates began by providing one another with social and political updates. Senator Kenneth Pugh explained that Chile recently held regional governor elections for the first time in the country’s history. He also spoke about Chile’s historic constitutional convention vote, which saw the election of 155 delegates who will have six months to rewrite the Pinochet-era constitution. The majority of those elected to the Convention are independent candidates, which marks a shift in voter preferences and is expected to result in significant reforms to the country’s future governance.
Members also spoke about the vaccine programmes in their respective countries. Chile is celebrating a successful vaccine rollout and will have double vaccinated 70% of their population by next month, with the intention of providing third doses later in the year. British delegates noted that they are experiencing similar trends in their vaccine rollout, with both sides expressing concerns over disinformation and vaccine hesitancy. They also discussed the difficulties the pandemic has caused regarding the balance between the protection of public health and individual civil liberties.
The conversation then moved on to climate change and preparations for COP26. Both the UK and Chile have committed to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and delegates were keen to explore how a change in culture can be achieved and green alternatives embraced. Delegates discussed Chile’s investment in green hydrogen as part of its plan to reach net-zero and its willingness to share this energy resource internationally. Lord Mountevans welcomed Chilean efforts in green hydrogen production and pointed out how important it will be in the shipping industry’s transition from fossil fuels.
BGIPU would like to thank all delegates who participated and the Chilean Congress for their help coordinating the meeting.