New forestry law at last enacted

22 March 2015

On March 16, the Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Juan Manuel Benites was joined in a ceremony by seven organisations representing 52 indigenous or native peoples, to enact a new forestry law, replacing the law of 2000. The new law, Ley 29763, was first promulgated in July 2011 but has since undergone an intense process of consultation in establishing the detailed regulations that will determine how it is implemented. The law provides US$800 million to indigenous peoples to support the granting of land titles. Article 3 sets out a mandatory consultation procedures with indigenous peoples before developing new legislation or activities that may affect their livelihoods.

The representatives of these indigenous organisations 'registered their thanks for the open dialogue... and because the state [had] listened to their needs and the importance of including citizens living in remote locations' (http://elcomercio.pe/peru/pais/ministerio-agricultura-firmo-consulta-previa-ley-forestal-noticia-1797959).

Critics, while welcoming the use of the machinery of prior consultation, say that the law, like its predecessors, is excessively complex and will be difficult to implement. They say it also concentrates too much on the jungle and would do little to stop illegal logging where land titles are not clear. A spokesperson for the Ombudsman’s Office (Defensoría del Puebl), Ivan Lanegra, used the event to urge the need for a Ministry of Indigenous Peoples that would be able to strengthen the institutionality surrounding prior consultation and to extend prior consultation more broadly, above all to mining and to environmental impact studies (http://www.larepublica.pe/17-03-2015/comunidades-y-estado-logran-acuerdos-sobre-reglamento-forestal).

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