In this new approved and promulgated legislation, provisions for transparency and access to information were explicitly incorporated for the forest sector, which have been regulated through the new Forest and Wildlife Law and which form part of the National Anti-Corruption Plan for the Forest and Wildlife Sector, but which have not yet been executed because they are still in the process of implementation.
In the framework of Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information (Law No. 27806), information has been requested on forest issues from the public institutions associated with the forest sector, but compliance with the deadlines set out in the regulation for the delivery of the information is still insufficient; furthermore, on occasions the information requested is not supplied, and complete information is not published on the transparency websites as demanded by the Law.
Therefore it is considered that the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Plan for the Forest and Wildlife Sector will apply corrective measures to improve the situation. This is an advance towards promoting access to information by citizens.
In addition, this new Forest and Wildlife Law recognises the customary and traditional law of the indigenous peoples, regulating their conception of the forest and respecting their traditional knowledge on the use and management of forests and wildlife. Similarly, it recognises the right to prior consultation, which will be dealt with specifically in the long-awaited Law on the Right to Prior Consultation for Indigenous and Native Peoples, a regulation which was promoted by different sectors of civil society, especially by the indigenous organisations, and which has resulted in this new government promulgating it; it represents a great step forward in the process of free, prior and informed consent, as well as the procedures to be followed to enable the indigenous peoples to be consulted.
It is worth highlighting that, with the promulgation of the Law on the Right to Prior Consultation there is now a legal mandate which requires a process of consultation before any legislative measure which may directly affect the indigenous peoples and their collective rights; furthermore, the recently promulgated Forest and Wildlife Law stipulates recognition of this right and its fulfilment. This final provision was the product of a consultation process for which documents, guides and methodologies were drawn up, as also happened for the formulation of the National Forest Anti-Corruption Plan. Although the process was questioned because of the time restrictions, it provided invaluable experience as a guiding framework for the implementation of this type of process, taking into account the level of participation of the stakeholders involved, the access to information (that can be found on the Ministry of Agriculture website), the open forums, the contributions received from the participants, and the time spent. These are experiences which can help to delimit a process which is appropriate, participative and inclusive, and considers the lessons learnt.
As a result of this consultation process, consideration must be given to suitable deadlines which allow appropriate and timely information and the active participation of all the stakeholders, respecting their traditions, customs and language. For example, during the consultation of indigenous peoples, they requested that before the information stage there should be a pre-information stage with technical support so that they can understand the proposal in its entirety; however, because in the previous processes there was no prior stage, the forums and hearings were sharply questioned because of their technical level and because not enough time had been given for the population to find out about the proposal. However, this experience served as a methodological trial instrument on how to reach partial consensus in a legislative proposal.