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Peru: Analysis

In 2010, the Peruvian forestry sector witnessed a number of important processes occurring simultaneously. Because of their importance, these processes demand greater participation and transparency: they include drawing up the draft Forestry and Forest Wildlife Law, the National Forestry Policy, the decentralisation of functions related to forestry, the implementation of the Forestry Annexe in the Trade Promotion Agreement between Peru and USA, and the implementation of CITES, amongst others.

In this context, forestry governance plays a fundamental role in the agenda of researchers and decision-makers. How to achieve effective and transparent structures of governance, allowing forests to be conserved and used in a sustainable manner, has become one of the key challenges for all countries and in particular for those with large areas of forest. Governance is seen as a new form of management which seeks to mobilise all the components of the system in the same direction, meaning that the Government is not only able to formulate legitimate policies, but also to implement them. This means that its relationship with the population and its ability to respond has generated relationships of trust and justice, in addition to appropriate channels to satisfy the needs and solve the problems demanded by society.

Access to effective participation is an indispensable feature of good forestry governance. Lack of information or incorrect information may mean that the participation of the actors involved in forestry management is ineffective, and is very likely to become a source of conflicts and be used to conceal corrupt activities. Transparency and access to information become necessary conditions for effective participation to contribute to forestry governance.

Peru has a legal framework of transparency and freedom of information which requires the public institutions to take a series of measures allowing citizens to exercise their constitutional right to access information. The Peruvian legal framework also provides private citizens with the procedures necessary to ensure that their right of access to information is respected. Furthermore, the public institutions are obliged to have transparency portals which allow citizens to find information, particularly contractual and financial, about public bodies.

However, the information given by these portals is generally either incomplete, not up to date or lacks clarity. There are no specific provisions to guarantee fiscal responsibility, or systems of supervision or oversight for citizens which allow them to carry out efficient social monitoring. In general, although it must be acknowledged that a degree of progress has been made in the mechanisms for access to the information provided by the legal framework, in itself this is not sufficient because the mechanisms are not implemented appropriately; this is either because civil servants, public employees and citizens themselves are not aware of them or because they have decided not to comply with them.

The communal report allows us to evaluate the principal decision-making processes with regard to forestry resources and levels of transparency, access to information and participation in the Peruvian forestry sector in 2010. These results also allow us to carry out an analysis with the information obtained in 2009 and evaluate whether the levels of transparency in the Peruvian forestry sector have improved or worsened.

The Peruvian State has promulgated regulations on transparency and access to information, but these efforts are still insufficient, because civil society as a whole is still not aware of them and thus their applicability is limited. In addition, these regulations are of a general nature, so that in some cases they demand transparency of generic information on management of financial resources and administrative topics in the institution, with specific relevance to forest management.

The most important event in the forestry sector in 2010 was the process of drawing up the Draft Forestry and Forest Wildlife Law and National Forestry Policy. Significant efforts were made to increase transparency (in the portal for the process there was access to documentation, proposals presented, working guidelines, etc.) and to promote participation (more than 200 contributions were received). The Agricultural Commission in Congress brought together different public and private organisations in the forestry sector to form a Working Group.

This working group identified the main areas in which there was no agreement or which required greater attention:

  • Change of Use,
  • Local Forests,
  • Land Planning,
  • Community Forestry Management,
  • Effectiveness of Public Institutions,
  • Transfer of Rights, Accreditation of Legal Origin,
  • Forestry Plantations, Community Ownership,
  • Guarantees of faithful compliance,
  • Forest Wildlife and Environmental Services.

However, not enough time was spent on building a consensus amongst participants (only three out of 200 days were devoted to this), while the inter-ministerial working group was given priority as the decision-making body for the spaces for participation.

Furthermore, there is still no understanding of the nature of the right of indigenous peoples to prior free and informed consultation: the methodology and the meetings held by the Agricultural Commission show that a greater effort is still required if the authorities are to understand the nature of this right. The Agricultural Commission, AIDESEP and CONAP (National Organisations representing the indigenous Amazonian peoples) had different proposals for the ad hoc procedure for prior consultation relating to the draft forestry law. The Agricultural Commission decided to invite the indigenous organisations unilaterally to so-called "prior consultation" meetings, which had four regional hearings in Satipo, Pucallpa, Tarapoto and Iquitos, followed by a National Meeting held in Lima on 7 to 10 December 2010. This generated an even greater distancing of AIDESEP. Several institutions complained that the process followed by the Agricultural Commission did not comply with the requirements set out by the Constitutional Court and Convention 169 of the ILO. This was the complaint made by the national representatives of the indigenous peoples AIDESEP, CONAP, CNA, CONACAMI, FECONACHA and CCP in a statement issued on 19 November 2010; the People's Ombudsman, in official notice No. 0432-2010-DP/PAD of 3 December 2010; the Indigenous Peoples Group of the National Coordinator for Human Rights, in letters dated 1 and 14 December 2010; a statement signed by various international organisations on 13 December 2010; and even the same organisations which took part in the meetings called by the Agricultural Commission, as indicated by CONAP in its declaration of 14 December. However, on 15 December the Agricultural Commission approved the ruling on the Draft Law No. 4141, and the following day published a statement to the effect that the prior consultation period would be extended for a further 60 days. In this regard, it is worth pointing out that, to date, the Law on Consultation of indigenous peoples has still not been approved.

Participation and transparency during the process of implementation of the Forestry Annexe to the Trade Promotion Agreement between Peru and the United States have not been a priority. The Peruvian civil society has always been aware, concerned and prepared to participate and cooperate with implementation of the Forestry Annexe. Nevertheless, its participation has not been a priority for the public bodies responsible for implementing the commitments. The spaces for participation opened up in the framework of the Forestry Annexe only because it coincided with the meetings of the Forestry Sub-Committee. Otherwise there has still been no implementation of the mechanisms for participation included in the Forestry Annexe, and almost two years after it came into force, it still does not have mechanisms for comments to be sent officially.

An additional aspect influencing the Report is the process of forestry decentralisation, which has still not been completed throughout Peru. This means that in some parts of the country the decentralised model is being implemented by the Regional Governments, whereas in other areas we continue to see the decentralised model operating through the Forestry and Forest Wildlife Administrations (ATFFS), which are dependent on the DGFFS. Because of the principle of regional autonomy, there is no unanimity with regard to public forestry organisation in the Regional Governments: each one implements its own organisational structures to exercise the forestry functions transferred to it. The process of forestry decentralisation has focussed on the transfer of functions to the Regional Governments and not on the transfer of resources and the development of skills necessary for the management of forestry resources and suitable conditions for effective participation.

As regards the processes involving deforestation, Peru finds itself at a crossroads: it can either continue to encourage economic development at the cost of impact on the environment, particularly on forests; or it can change to a development model which is low in carbon and resistant to climate change. Peru, like all the countries in the Andean region, is highly vulnerable to climate change, because of a number of factors including its geographical location, its social and economic situation, and the weakness of its institutions when it comes to responding to the effects of this phenomenon. The rate of deforestation in the last decade has been 0.1% (FAO 2009), a small figure on a world scale, but considerable if we remember that Peru has the fourth largest area of tropical forests, and sufficient to make deforestation for agricultural uses the principal source of greenhouse gases. Nevertheless, we need to bear in mind that the problem of deforestation extends beyond the limits of the forestry sector.
In this scenario, as part of the process of preparation for REDD (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Deterioration of forests), suitable conditions for effective participation, particularly of indigenous peoples and local populations, still do not exist. In addition, we also see a lack of a space for coordination between the different authorities involved in forest management, both directly (Regional Governments, Ministries of Agriculture, Environment, OSINFOR, etc.) and indirectly (Ministries of Energy and Mining, Production, Economy and Finances, Foreign Trade and Tourism, Transport, Construction and Housing, Foreign Affairs, Culture, etc.).

The power of granting forestry rights (Licences, Permits and Authorisations) has been transferred to the Regional Governments of the principal Amazonian regions (Loreto, Madre de Dios, San Martin and Ucayali). However, because decentralisation is a process still in its infancy, the mechanisms for transparency and access to information exist, but have still not been developed or implemented on a large scale. Furthermore, information about volumes granted and volumes used is not available to civil society in general.

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