The appointment of Rolando Luque to head up the National Office for Dialogue and Sustainability (ONDS) has been met with a qualified welcome from interested NGOs, among them Cooperacción. http://cooperaccion.org.pe/main/opinion/639-una-nueva-jefatura-para-la-oficina-nacional-de-dialogo-y-sostenibilidad

Luque previously held the post at the Defensoría del Pueblo, in charge of the office dedicated to preventing social conflict and promoting governability. Cooperacción hails his first moves at the ONDS, a post that comes under the prime minister’s office. These include:

  • giving priority attention to the most pressing conflicts (see below);
  • approval of a memorandum to improve inter-institutional coordination;
  • agreement for mutual collaboration between the ONDS and the Defensoría;
  • creation of a specific office to oversee fulfilment of agreements made;
  • design of mechanisms to improve coordination with the police force, especially in matters related to the maintenance of public order and the use of force in conflict situations; and
  • monitoring of particularly sensitive situations so as to improve the understanding of the social, economic cultural and environmental contexts in which they take place.

All this sounds very positive, particularly given the history of conflict management in Peru over the last ten years. But as Cooperacción notes, these welcome moves towards improving on the management of conflict is not paralleled by the government’s discourse which privileges the need to attract foreign investment into extractive industries. What is required, it says, is a system of conflict prevention which starts from a recognition of and respect for community rights.