FROM THE EDITORS: As Peru’s new President Pedro Castillo takes office and announces his government plan for the next five years—which includes promises to vaccinate 70% of the population by the end of the year, a new constitutional assembly, free college education, as well as expanding mining exploration and an active participation of the armed forces in “the execution of development projects”—indigenous and environmental organizations published the following letter on La República newspaper calling for an environmental plan towards economic recovery. We reproduce below the translation of this letter and solidarize with their efforts.
FUENTE: AIDESEP, https://twitter.com/aidesep_org/status/1419345121972264961
Mr. President-elect Pedro Castillo
Ladies and gentlemen of the Congress for the 2021-2026 term
Economic recovery must drive ecological transition
Peru and the rest of the world are in an extremely critical economic and environmental situation, and the right decisions must be made now in order to have a positive impact on the future of many generations. Thus far in Peru, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused almost 200,000 deaths, millions of jobs have been lost, poverty and inequality have begun to increase again, and the specter of hunger has re-emerged as a threat to the most vulnerable. Driving economic recovery is an urgent need that cannot be put off. Meanwhile, in the environmental field, humanity is facing the risk of ecological collapse unless in the next decade we stop the current trends of pollution and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources.
Climate change — caused by practices such as the burning of fossil fuels to generate energy and deforestation, which rose to 190,000 hectares in Peru last year — brings with it a higher rate of species extinction; increasingly extreme weather events; water shortage; lower agricultural productivity; and other consequences which have a direct impact on the economy and people’s quality of life. Peru is no stranger to this phenomenon since it continues to follow an extractivist model of production, prone to low productivity, and with a high carbon footprint. According to the Central Reserve Bank of Peru (BCRP), almost 90% of our exports consist of primary commodities; and within these, 65% come from mining, oil and gas, and the other 24.6% come from agricultural and fishery products. This fact requires us to rethink the role that natural resource extraction plays in the national economy within the context of the climate emergency and to make decisions now in order to change it.
We ask the new executive and legislative authorities to drive economic recovery hand in hand with a green and clean transition; thus replacing the polluting extractivist model with more sustainable economic activities. Our country has the opportunity to promote employment and revive the economy for Peruvian families without strengthening a development model which devastates the natural world, and to transform the country’s economy in order to adapt to the environmental challenges of the 21st century.
To that end, we propose:
- Emergency employment programs and promotion of ventures linked to adapting to and mitigating climate change. For example: reforestation, water sowing and harvesting, green infrastructure, sustainable transportation, sustainable manufacturing, among others.
- Declaring a food emergency. Guaranteeing funding for the Ollas Comunes (“community kitchens”) initiative and emergency food programs linked to organic and family agricultural production.
- National policy on food sovereignty and security. Ensuring the implementation of the National Plan for Organic Agriculture (PLANAE) and the National Plan for Family Agriculture (PLANAF), giving them political priority and adequate funding.
- Effective protection of the Amazon. Combating the activities which contribute to its destruction: illegal logging, illegal mining, change in land use for agricultural expansion, drug trafficking, among others; investing instead in sustainable economic alternatives, in intercultural dialogue with indigenous and local communities.
- Reforestation and degraded forest recovery programs with active participation of indigenous peoples. Achieving zero deforestation.
- Fulfilling the international commitment to protect at least 10% of our maritime domain, not only for environmental conservation but to guarantee the fishery productivity of our sea. Reorienting the fishing industry from indirect human consumption towards direct human consumption, in order to ensure food and nutritional safety, supporting small-scale fishing and aquaculture.
- Taking advantage of the new cycle of high price of minerals without repeating mistakes of the past, by implementing outstanding reforms in the mining sector in environmental and tax terms and respecting the wishes of local communities; as well as redirecting any surplus to the diversification of production and strengthening of local economies.
- Determined investment in renewable energy, which will allow us to overcome dependence on fossil fuels: 1) Withdraw from new projects associated with exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Amazon or in Peru’s coastal waters; 2) Transform PetroPerú to Energía Perú, in order to lead the energy transition, diversifying its portfolio of projects for a progressive conversion into renewable energy; 3) Create the post of Deputy Minister for Renewable Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM).
- Investment in sustainable infrastructure, which does not promote the degradation of fragile ecosystems and instead protects and restores them. In particular, investment in roads, ways of transportations, and energy generation in the Amazon. Ruling out hydroelectric developments in the Amazon due to their high environmental impact.
- Concerted and participative land management which allows each region to identify its potential and define its priorities in order to allocate use, occupation and investment to achieve land development in harmony with the environment.
- Comprehensive protection policies for environmental defenders and ratification of the Escazú Agreement, which complements the current scheme of transparent environmental information and implements important commitments to the protection of environmental defenders.
- Ensuring the right to safe water, with integrated and sustainable management. Distributing it fairly, protecting natural ecosystems and water sources.
- Strengthening environmental authority on all levels, addressing the setbacks of recent years which saw the relaxation of socio-environmental standards primarily in extractive industries. The exploitation of our natural and mineral resources should not take place at the cost of reducing environmental and social standards.
- Respecting prior consultation with indigenous peoples and their right to set out their own life plans.
- Protection of the right to life, territory and self-determination for Indigenous peoples in situations of Isolation and Initial Contact. Protecting the lives, means of support and cultural survival of indigenous peoples in isolation and initial contact who are particularly vulnerable. One of the biggest risk factors is the invasion of their territories.
- Investment in urban policies which promote cities for life with community participation. Boosting articulated urban employment, among others, to build sustainable, safe housing without overcrowding, expanding pedestrian walkways, cycle paths, open spaces, tree planting, green and recreational areas, with nearby health and education facilities, and banning, controlling, and penalizing changes in use and traffic of land in agricultural areas and fragile ecosystems.
- Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP)
- Confederación Campesina del Perú (CCP)
- Confederación de Nacionalidades Amazónicas del Perú (CONAP)
- Federación Nacional de Mujeres Campesinas, Indígenas, Nativas y Asalariadas del Perú (FENMUCARINAP)
- Organización de Desarrollo de las Comunidades Fronterizas del Cenepa (ODECOFROC)
- Red de Ollas de Lima Metropolitana
- Red de Agricultura Ecológica (RAE)
- Rede Eco Humanista
- Red de ecololgía social, economía y cambio climático
- Red Muqui
- Red Regional Agua Desarrollo y Democracia
- Red Uniendo Manos
- Pachamama Alliance Perú
- TierrActiva Perú
- Viernes por el Futuro Perú
- Asociación Nacional de Centros
- Movimiento Ciudadano frente al Cambio Climático (MOCICC)
- Comisión Episcopal de Acción Social (CEAS)
- Comisión de Ecología y Cuidado de la Creación del Obispado de Lurín
- Iniciativa Interreligiosa para los Bosques Tropicales (IRI Perú)
- Justicia, Paz y Cuidado de la Creación de la Conferencia Religiosa del Perú (JPIC CONFER)
- Movimiento Católico por el Clima – Capítulo Perú
- Nodo Perú – Red Latinoamericana Iglesias y Minería
- Subcomisión de Ecología Integral de Resucita Perú Ahora
- Colectivo de incidencia y acción urbana (CIAUR)
- Foro Ciudades para la Vida
- Plataforma de Agricultura Urbana de Lima
- Alsakuy Agroecológica
- Asociación Arariwa (Cusco)
- Asociación por derechos humanos (Aprodeh)
- Centro de Estudios Humanistas Nueva Civilización
- Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales (CEPES)
- Centro de Promoción y Desarrollo Rural Amazónico (CEPODRA)
- Consorcio Agroecológico Peruano
- Corriente Pedagógica Humanista Universalista
- COSAC – Libertad
- Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR)
- Equipos Docentes del Perú (EDOP)
- Iniciativa Cuencas Sagradas
- Instituto Natura
- Instituto de Promoción para la Gestión del Agua (IPROGA)
- Instituto de Desarrollo Urbano CENCA
- Instituto Bartolomé de las Casas
- Instituto para la Defensa y la Paz Amazónica (IDPA)
- ONG Magay
- Pedagogías de la Oralidad
- Colectivo Jóvenes Peruanos frente al Cambio Climático