After a long wait and legal moves by the Ombudsman’s office (Defensoría) supporting the demands of indigenous groups for protection, on 8 November President Humala enacted legislation creating the huge (1.4 million hectare) Sierra del Divisor park on the borders between Ucayali and Loreto regions in the Peruvian Amazon. This brings to 9.4 million hectares the total area covered by 14 national parks in Peru. It should stiffen penalties for illegal extractive and drug-related activities. It should also help protect indigenous communities and their way of life, while increasing restrictions on all exploration or other activities that impact on people, animal and plant life.
In spite of apparently successful prior consultation with indigenous groups that concluded over a year and a half ago, the legislation was delayed, it seems, because of pressures from mining and large-scale agricultural interests. As always, the decree has now to be complemented via secondary legislation and then implemented and enforced. It will be important to keep a watching brief on this; there are many ways in which promising legislation can subsequently be emasculated.