Reports underline need for improved natural resource governance

29 July 2016

The incoming government of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has given every possible signal that the more successful use and governance of Peru's natural resources will be a cornerstone of its development strategy. This stance will have only been reinforced this week by a Mining Ministry report showing that Peru has the largest reserves of gold, silver, zinc and lead in Latin America. In the case of silver, it has 24% of the world's reserves

Another opportune report came last week in the form of a World Bank-Wilson Center summary of a seminar on 'Natural Resource Governance in Latin America and the Caribbean: Social and Environmental Policies for Inclusive Growth'. The consensus of this high-level group of analysts was that while themes of taxation and the form of contracts were important, far more important were three local-level matters: the importance of early dialogue with affected communities, strategies to build trust (above all, transparent and intelligible information), and a deep knowledge of the context in which dialogue needs to take place.

These three elements were stressed by the speaker with particular knowledge of Peru, Professor Anthony Bebbington, Clark University and a PSG member. On a positive note, he praised the work of the Defensoría del Pueblo and Propuesta Ciudadana as important initiatives, the former in “building capacity to transform conflicts into proposals” and the latter for its work in generating data. An interesting initiative in building trust that Peru might learn from was highlighted by Alberto Garcia Hurtado, executive president of the Alianza Valor Minero, a Chilean government initiative: engage all stakeholders at an early stage in discussing impact in all its dimensions before formal consultation starts.

The need for such an initiative and for a strong policy to improve governance at the local level has been constantly in evidence over past months, as we have repeatedly demonstrated. In a continuation of a long-running saga, this last week, total frustration led the various community organisations at Las Bambas to issue a pithy denunciation of what they see as the government's failure to take dialogue seriously. Most of the numerous postponements, they say, have been due to the inability of the government to make the time to take part, and there is now grave concern since the window of opportunity for dialogue will last only until mid-August. This behaviour indicates a lack of respect and is generating further tensions, they say.

The report from the Wilson Center and the World Bank is available at

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  • PSG Aims

    The Peru Support Group exists to promote social inclusion, sustainable development and the observance of human rights in Peru. To that end the PSG highlights shortcomings in observance of established norms, whether international or local in nature, in its research, advocacy and publications. In so doing, it underscores the relationships that exist within the political system, how institutions work, and the effectiveness of policies that aim to reduce poverty and inequality within the context of sustainable development.

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    Over the past century Peru has suffered a series of autocratic governments and a civil war in which nearly 70,000 people died. Many of the country's ongoing political and social problems are a legacy of its somewhat turbulent past. 

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