At an extraordinary session regional counselors asked the intendent to increase the budget for science and technology to support the said corporation.
Atacama Region has the lowest investment on research and technological development of the country; 0.5% in 2017 and 0.9% in 2018 of the national total. Despite this zone hosts one of the most important marine vertebrates’ paleontological deposits of the South America, there’s still a long way to go before changing this situation under specialists’ concern.
That arouse from what was stated in the Regional Council by Pablo Quilodrán, General Manager of Research and Advancement Corporation for Atacama’s Paleontology and Natural History (CIAHN Atacama). In the meeting, the expert also said that “in Chile, the paleontology is one of the least developed sciences, so strengthen it is one of the main goals of our country, whereas fossils are State-owned National Monuments under Law 17.288”.
On December 31st 2018, the Regional Council approved the creation of the said corporation due to “its significance, being aimed at ensuring research, valorization and diffusion of Atacama’s paleontological heritage”.
This is the first milestone to shape the corporation, and then to set the Board of directors, start legal proceedings and get the legal status.
During the last extraordinary session of the Regional Council in June 2021, its President Ruth Vega invite the other counselors to vote for an increase on the science and technology regional budget before the Executive Branch, represented by the Intendent Patricio Urquieta, to help CIAHN Atacama. “This Council has given a political support to a highly significant managing for paleontological research development in our territory. We are projecting the paleontological corporation for future with a huge contribution in terms of research, studies, historical value as well as a global and national touristic attraction. We hope to receive the funds to benefit the development of technological research and the community”, the Authority said.
The history and unique finds such as the Pelagornis Chilensis discovered in the Bahía Inglesa Formation, which is 8 million years old; it’s the biggest bird ever and has turn the Atacama Region in the most attractive area of the country world-wide. Then, this area is seen as a natural lab where science and innovation mutually improve and become an engine for a dynamic and sustainable development.
The Research and Advancement Corporation for Atacama’s Paleontology and Natural History (CIAHN Atacama) is a non-profit private corporation established under the Organic Constitutional Law No. 19,175 on Governance and Regional Administration. Its main goal is to turn the Region into a hub and milestone for global science and paleontological endeavor, conceiving the area as a natural lab which can help to solve core questions about the evolution of Earth, life and mankind. To do so, it is aimed at creating conditions to protect the patrimony and produce world-class scientific research, along with the spreading and positioning of this knowledge in the national mind, so as to strengthen national culture, identity and regional brand; which in turn help economic growth, diversify the productive matrix and positively impact the social and educational development in Atacama and Chile.
The different commissions of the Regional Council of Atacama have greatly discussed the start-up of CIAHN Atacama; where Copiapó Province Councilors Patricio Alfaro, Fernando Ghiglino, Javier Castillo, Patricia González, Ruth Vega, Sergio Bordoli and Rodrigo Rojas agreed about the benefits that the Corporation will provide to the Region and its communities.
As well, Chañaral Province Councilors Manuel Reyes, Gabriel Manquez and Alex Ahumada and Huasco Province Councilors Fabiola Pérez, Roberto Alegría, Juan Santana and Rebeca Torrejón have already supported the idea of providing additional resources to permanently work and grow paleontological research and to look after patrimony.
The Research and Advancement Corporation for Atacama’s Paleontology and Natural History (CIAHN Atacama), General Manager, Mr. Pablo Quilodrán told the regional councilors about future milestones “to attract and produce world class science at a scientific research centre, to turn Atacama into a paleontological country brand, to build a museum under worldwide standards, to promote the region as a touristic destination, provide a field college for Earth Sciences students through the Unesco Geopark Atacama, and set territorial interpretation centers in Chañaral de Aceituno, Pinte, Pan de Azúcar, among other spots, all of them with articulated tourist circuits, study tour routs and special interest tourism”.
Also, the president and as a representative of the Regional Council Ruth Vega stated that “the possibility to inject more resources to these kinds of initiatives will allow Atacama to be a scientific studies and paleontology epicenter of national and foreign interest, and create conditions to keep making projects, research and programs directly related to science and patrimony. This way, we can foster a new sustainable productive matrix which would last over time and benefit communities with cultural and historical attractions.”
Being aimed at long-lasting development of paleontological studies in Atacama means to allow for a wide range of precious wealth of knowledge; future generations will be the luckiest and would keep this unique regional legacy of huge international interest.