Chile is one of only five places in the world with a Mediterranean climate, where the Project area is located, recognized as one of the 35 biodiversity Hotspots, not only for their high levels of wealth and endemism in plant and animal species, but also for being regions with high risk of species extinction. This is especially relevant regarding coastal landscapes and ecosystems, having in this area several types of coastal wetlands, such as salt marshes, brackish and salty coastal lagoons, tidal plains and estuaries and with the presence of different gradients, making for a high level of time-space heterogeneity and therefore the availability of habitats for a wide range of aquatic and shoreline species, in particular migratory birds.

The threats and environmental degradation factors in the Chilean Mediterranean Eco-Region, are for the most part the result of human activities, which play a key role in the advancing deterioration of the coastal ecosystem functions and habitats. The main factors are habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation caused by agricultural activities, urban expansion and infrastructure, and the scarce legal protection given to these ecosystems.

The objective of the Project is to improve the ecological condition and degree of conservation of ecologically valuable coastal ecosystems in South-Central Chile, including the wetlands and associated watersheds, incorporating them into local development efforts through sustainable management, improving coastal landscape management, reducing pressures on these habitats occupied by diverse migratory species with different conservation problems, and reducing threats to and pressures on the supporting watersheds that contribute to locally significant human activities. This Project contributes to fulfilling the GEF VI objectives BD-4 Program 9 and LD-3 Program 4, which will be undertaken through three components. The first seeks to mainstream the importance of BD conservation and LD problems in coastal landscapes to decision-makers and relevant stakeholders, the second to strengthen political and regulatory frameworks regarding coastal conservation among the diverse institutions with mandates in coastal and watershed areas, and the third, to implement and systematize an array of initiatives in five pilot landscapes to be replicated at the national level by the main institutions involved.

The pilot ecosystems are located between Coquimbo and Araucania, representing different socio-environmental conditions, and these will play a relevant role in generating the data and evidence necessary for demonstrating the need to apply a focus that considers the whole watershed, with strengthened inter-institutional coordination and with productive sectors applying environmentally sustainable practices for conserving and sustainably managing coastal landscapes when these are not protected areas. Each one of the pilots will contribute concrete evidence according to their individual realities regarding threats and present circumstances and will make it possible to have a wide range of options that can be replicated in similar situations. This project will bring together stakeholders from various national, regional and local institutions, committed for the duration of Project implementation, and led by a Steering Committee, which will be in charge of monitoring fulfilment of objectives, a process that will be supervised by the implementing agency, UN Environment. The Project includes a gender focus, where equal opportunity and development actions are proposed for both men and women, and also as a contribution to women’s empowerment, for the purpose of increasing their participation and decision-making, as well as their access to the Project’s socio-economic services and benefits.

The aims and objectives of this project are consistent with the commitments made by Chile as signatory of the Ramsar Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Convention on the Conservation of Wild Migratory Species (CMS). Chile has been making efforts to comply with these commitments, approving in the year 2003 its National Biodiversity Strategy (ENB), which led in 2005 to the National Strategy for the Conservation and Rational Use of Chile’s Wetlands (ENH), with its respective Action Plan. Later, the National Wetlands Committee was created, formally in 2013, as well as the National Committee for Ecological Recovery (2017) by means of a framework document, for the purpose of achieving effective ecological recovery in degraded areas.

Project Details

GEF Project ID
Implementing Agencies
United Nations Environment Programme
Approval FY
Project Approved
Latin America and Caribbean
Executing Agencies
Ministry of the Environment EM
GEF Period
GEF - 6
Project Type
Full-size Project
Funding Source
GEF Trust Fund


Co-financing Total
GEF Project Grant
GEF Agency Fees


Received by GEF
02 Mar 2017
Concept Approved
01 Nov 2017
Project Approved for Implementation
29 Aug 2019