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Country context
General description of the country

In terms of area, Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world (2.8 million km2). According to the latest census in Argentina, its population was 40.12 million people in 20101 and it increased to 45,38 million people in 2020, based on the national demographic projections2 with more than 90% of people live in urban areas3 . Through the Argentinian territory, we find climates that range from subpolar to tropical. Consequently, it is also one of the countries with more ecoregions (18). Argentina has an important diversity of species, being the 17th country with the greatest richness of plant species and the 7th among the countries of South America. Many native species are found in regions considered "Centres of Plant Biodiversity"4 . This natural richness is related to its fertile agricultural lands, reserves of gas and lithium. Argentina is and one of the largest economies in Latin America leading the food production, with large-scale industries in the agriculture and cattle ranching sectors5 . At the beginning of 2020, Argentina presented macroeconomic challenges. The economy accumulated eight years of falling per capita GDP, inflation above 50% per year, increasing of poverty rate, and public debt, which had reached the highest level in Latin America (89% of GDP at the end of 2019)6 . The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic broke out against this situation of economic fragility, which contributed to deepening the pre-existing problems. In 2020, economic activity contracted 9.9%, the highest annual drop since the 2001/02 crisis. By 2021, there is being a continuous recovery in the economic activity as the progress of the vaccination campaign allows it. From a longer-term perspective, the national government is promoting a policy agenda aimed at the energy sector and the manufacturing industry7 .

Overview of the key political structure on the environment

The Republic of Argentina is a Federal State formed by 23 provinces and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. Twenty-two provinces are divided into 380 departments but the province of Buenos Aires which has 22 parties. The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires has 15 communes. The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development is the main authority for the environmental topics. The Ministry has three secretariats 1) Environmental Policy on Natural Resources, 2) Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Innovation, and 3) Environmental Control and Monitoring.

The environmental legislation in Argentina is spread in many laws. Some examples are: laws on Industrial Waste (25,612), General Environment (25.675), Water Management (25.688), Environmental Information (25,831), Environmental Protection of Native Forests (26.331), glacier protection (26.639), creation of the Federal Fire Management System (26.815), Preservation of Air Resources (20,284), Parks, National Reserves and Natural Monuments (22.351), National System of Marine Protected Areas (27.037), Defence of Forest Wealth (13.273), Investments for Cultivated Forests (25.080), National Regime for the Promotion of Wind and Solar Energy (25.019), Biofuels (26.093), the National Promotion of Renewable Sources of Energy for Production (26.190), Preservation and Defense of Wild Fauna (22.421), Environmental Protection for Mining Activity (24.585), the Promotion of Soil Conservation (22.428), Environmental Impact Assessment in Hydropower Utilization (23.879), and the Regime for Organic and / or Ecological Agricultural Productions (25.127). Moreover, there are important national plans like the National Action Plan for Energy and Climate Change, National Action Plan for Transport, and the National Action Plan for Forests and Climate Change7 .

Summary of key environmental issues

The main threats to Argentinian biodiversity are land use/cover changes, invasive alien species, climate change, overexploitation, and illegal trade and pollution. However, the first threat links to the main economic sector (agriculture). For instance, it has approximately 40 million hectares under annual cultivation. The sown area (including double crops) increased by almost 2% in relation to the previous season in 20195 .