A new book launched last week in Lima sees Peru’s application to join the 35-member OECD as an opportunity to leverage a serious improvement in environmental regulation. Peru applied to become a member in 2012. Its title is ‘El camino ambiental hacia la OCDE: El Perú y la implementación de las recomendaciones en materia ambiental’. Its author, Ivan Lanegra, is a lawyer and professor at the Catholic University. The text is available online.

Lanegra describes how the process of building a regulatory system began in Peru with the creation of the Ministry of the Environment (Minam) in 2008, followed by the creation of OEFA for the area of oversight and SENACE for evaluating environmental impacts. But from 2014, and above all with Ley 30230, things have gone backwards. The key institutions involved have seen their wings clipped, both in terms of their powers and their financing, and all in the name of enticing incoming investment.

But to join the OECD, the country must comply with its standards. Lanegra sets these out in detail, all 66 of them. However, public support for tighter regulation appears to be waning. In 2014, 51% of the population gave priority to the environmental agenda, while 28% gave priority to the economic agenda. Three years later, the same source found only 44% giving priority to environmental considerations and 37% to the economic agenda (p16).

The author sees the requirement to complete an EDA (an ‘evaluación de desempeño ambiental’), showing how Peru will move to comply with OECD standards, as an exceptional lever which can now be used to keep pressing for the institutional strengthening which the plan implies.