Pedro Pablo Rossi Guajardo

Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow, Class of 2021-22

  • Home country: Chile
  • College: Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso
  • Current career: Legislative advisor in the Ministry of Environment of Chile
  • Specialization: Legislative monitoring
  • Emailppr33 [at] (ppr33[at]cornell[dot]edu)

What is the most memorable or impactful experience of your career so far? 

I think the approval of the Single-use Plastics Law was the most impactful experience for me. Coordinating the team of the Ministry of Environment and coming to an agreement with different counterparts — such as the senators, deputies, advisors and NGOs like Plastic Oceans and Oceana — offered a new challenge in my career.

The proposal was approved unanimously in both chambers of Congress and after 2 years of legislative work it will be published in Chile in August of 2021. This new regulation seeks to reduce single-use plastic pollution by banning hard-to-recycle items from being served in restaurants or through delivery services. Targeted items include plastic plates, cups, straws, cutlery, to-go food containers, sachets, lids and stirrers.

At the same time, the law promotes the use of recyclable materials by creating a certificate program to distinguish truly compostable plastics and mandating that plastics earning this certificate be clearly labeled. The law also requires beverage companies to educate customers about the importance of reusable bottles and mandates that any establishment selling drinks offer reusable alternatives to single-use plastic bottles.

I'm very proud to be part of the creation of a new legislation that will help transition Chile towards a circular economy that generates less pollution and waste. 

What are the big challenges you want to tackle in your country?

Chile is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in Latin America with its high levels of air pollution and vast water crisis. For these reasons, my focus in this fellowship is on issues like adaptation to new climate patterns, carbon management, water quality, and pollution control. Chile is also one of the most attractive countries for renewable energy and it is now leading an ambitious decarbonization plan, so I would like to learn more about clean technologies and environmental impact assessment as well.

Considering that Chile is starting a constituent process that is going to restructure a large part of the legal order, it is key to have prepared leaders who can conduit these changes in a proper way. Thus, one of my motivations is to be a relevant actor to help making responsible changes in our institution without destroying the progress that Chile has been able to achieve.

How do you think your Humphrey Fellowship and your time at Cornell will help boost your career?

I am confident that this fellowship will help me to expand my knowledge and understanding about environmental issues. Moreover, it will provide me the necessary competencies needed to play a key role promoting sustainable development in Chile, and to contribute to build a better country, especially in key issues to improve our future, such as science and the environment. Additionally, it will help me promote initiatives that aim to transform the Chilean economy, which has been based on the extraction of natural resources, as we shift to a green economy.

What does public service mean to you?

In my opinion public service is a calling — a strong commitment to support and serve other people, especially those who need the most support. Public service is to be able to promote changes that improve the quality of life of our citizens on a sustainable basis.

Tell us a fun fact about you. 

My interests are diverse: science, public policies, economics, information technology, environment and history. I also have a strong concern for social issues, which has urged me to participate in various groups such as the foundation Un techo para Chile and the NGO Las Calles that provides food and comfort to people living in the streets. I also worked as a volunteer with a parliamentarian, providing free legal assistance to underprivileged people.

I was a student leader in the university and I served as President of the Students center at my Law School. In 2010 I was part of a research center called Ius Novum which is managed by students who publish undergraduate theses and a law review.

I like to play sports. I usually practice tennis, football (soccer) and table tennis and I used to play volleyball and basketball. I like to dance and go out with friends, drink good wine and beer, and read about literature or history (I'm a fan of learning about WW2).

What would be your personal motto? 

"Public life is to be served, and not to receive honors, much less benefits." - Jorge Alessandri Rodriguez, former President of Chile

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