Peru's newest environmental policies

They aim to invest in ecosystem services, protect forests, mitigate climate change and decrease biodiversity losses. 

Peru National Congress has approved a series of innovative environmental policies aiming to reduce deforestation, protect watersheds and biodiversity, mitigate climate change and provide the necessary tools for international investment through programs like UN REDD+ and Green Climate Fund.

Conservationists receive them with optimism but remain cautious as the commitment of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski with the Amazonian rainforest is unclear.  

When speaking to Mongabay CEO of Washington-based Forest Trends, Michael Jenkins said, "These are a great and important set of laws that have been put into place; three very important signals. But Peru is a very complicated place; I can’t candy coat that. They’ve created these laws at the federal level, but implementation will take need to take place at the state and local level."

The new policies are:

1. Regulate and promote public investment in ecosystem services. In water and sanitation sector about $30 million dollars have been destined to secure water supply for cities through watershed conservation.

2. Approved a National Forestry and Climate Change Strategy for diagnosing and counter major threats to the country's forests. For example the "production protection approach aims to enhance the use of land and ensure no more trees fall.

3. Provide official guidelines on developing biodiversity in the Andean ecosystems. This creates a way to evaluate the potential loss of biodiversity though mining, hydropower and road construction.

These policies took years to develop and had the input of NGO's like Forest Trends and the World Wildlife Fund and were guided by Manuel Pulgar Vidal, minister of environment. Pulgar chaired the UN climate summit in Lima in 2014 and co-chaired the Paris summit last year, where he raised Peru's visibility as a country committed to climate change mitigation.

The policies will need UN's review to align with the financial support and incentives provided through REDD+ to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. Through this program wealthier countries offer developing countries incentives to protect their tropical forests and stave off carbon emissions.

The policies offer an unifying apprach  for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Nonetheless they might have regional variations, argues Luis Frenandez, a tropical ecologist and director of the Carnegie Amazon Mercury project. He says they will have greater impact in the Andes region where most companies operate legally but in the remote Amazonian regions might not be as easy to regulate.


LatinAmerican Post | Maria Andrea Marquez

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