Posted on 02/16/2021
Lime. Through an open letter, more than 60 civil society organizations nationwide demand the Minister of Agriculture, Federico Tenorio Calderón, and the President of the Board of Directors of the Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR), María Isabel Remy Simatovic, the resolution of the gaps on the grounds for removal from the position of the executive director of SERFOR, before continuing with the selection process of the new head of the national forest authority.
Download here the letter
Lima, February 11, 2021
Federico Tenorio Calderón
Minister of Agrarian Development and Irrigation
Ministry of Agrarian Development and Irrigation - MIDAGRI
Maria Isabel Remy Simatovic
President of the SERFOR CD
Subject: Public letter reiterating the need to implement institutional arrangements to guarantee the autonomy of the executive director of SERFOR and avoid risks of a new arbitrary removal.
The members of civil society and the signatory indigenous organizations express our deep rejection of the way in which the selection process of the new executive director of the Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) is being carried out, which is being carried out without prior have resolved the irregularities and regulatory gaps identified in the removal of the previous executive director (through Supreme Resolution No. 02-2020-MINAGRI) that generated a break in the institutional framework of the sector, as we indicated in our public statement of June 5 2020 and we warned on March 11, 2020.
Through our representatives on the SERFOR Board of Directors, we reiterate the urgency of solving irregularities and clarifying possible regulatory gaps, so that a new arbitrary or “discretionary” removal is explicitly illegal, without respecting the institutional framework of the sector that so much time and effort has cost us to build.
Let us remember that, in June 2020, the then President of the Republic, Martín Vizcarra, with the endorsement of the then Minister of Agriculture, Jorge Montenegro Chavesta, concluded the appointment of Mr. Luis Alberto Gonzáles-Zúñiga as Executive Director of SERFOR, citing as causal the loss of trust, going beyond the functions of the Board of Directors of SERFOR, which was not previously summoned or informed of this removal. Three months earlier, we had already formally requested explanations when the then Vice Minister of Agrarian Policies of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MINAGRI), Paula Carrión Tello, summoned González-Zúñiga to a private meeting in which she requested his resignation by decision of the Senior Management of the sector, but refusing to support the request in writing and without informing the Board of Directors of SERFOR, which Carrión also chaired. Faced with this situation, in March 2020, our representatives before said Board of Directors sent a formal letter requesting the convening of an extraordinary session to provide explanations of the case, which was ignored.
It is worth mentioning that said executive director was the first to be appointed through a public merit contest endorsed by the National Civil Service Authority (SERVIR), for a period of five years, precisely in order to guarantee the independence and continuity necessary to manage forest and wildlife resources in the country. Despite this, a little over a year after he was appointed, the then President of the Republic and Minister of Agriculture arbitrarily removed him from his position and without considering the participation of the SERFOR Board of Directors.
Faced with the repeated demand of the representatives of Indigenous and Native Peoples and Civil Society before the SEFOR Board of Directors, a council session was finally convened on June 12, 2020, where it was reported that the minister had taken the decision to remove Gonzales - Zúñiga unilaterally on the grounds that the executive director was not doing a good job, also arguing that, according to their interpretation of the regulations, they did not have to submit their decisions to consultation or any evidence.
However, the specialized legal analysis carried out by the NGO Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA) and presented in its publication "Legal opinion: Dismissal of the former executive director of SERFOR and its implications for other specialized technical organizations such as IMARPE", concludes that "The removal of the former executive director of SERFOR did not comply with the law, since due to the nature of the position the cause of loss of confidence invoked in Supreme Resolution 002-2020-MINAGRI was not applicable." The analysis also considers that "it is necessary to modify the Forestry and Wildlife Law, in order to regulate the requirements that must be met to access the position of executive director and the corresponding grounds for removal." They add that, if the position is maintained that the loss of confidence is a valid ground for removal for positions of this type, "highly qualified officials will be discouraged from applying for positions at risk of being removed in a discretionary manner."
Similarly, the analysis of the NGO Law, Environment and Natural Resources (DAR), "The hierarchy and discretion before the governance and transparency of the forest sector in Peru" concludes that the "position of executive director of SERFOR is designation or removal regulated as it is the head of a specialized technical body, so any provision for the termination of their functions must be subject to the sanctions regime and pre-established sanctioning procedure ”.
Therefore, through our representatives on the SERFOR Board of Directors, we have expressed that we consider it essential that the necessary institutional arrangements be implemented to avoid a new “discretionary” dismissal before calling a selection process for the new director. SERFOR executive. Ignoring this position, the Board of Directors has decided to initiate a selection process that we consider is doomed to failure.
For this reason, we urge the SERFOR Board of Directors to suspend the selection process that has begun without the support of Indigenous and Native Peoples and Civil Society, until there is an explicit regulation on the grounds for removal of the executive director of the SERFOR that provide the essential guarantee and stability to strengthen the institutional framework of the Peruvian forestry sector, and to attract the highly qualified candidates that Peru's forests require and deserve.
(In alphabetical order)
- Environmental Investigation Agency - EIA (Environmental Investigation Agency)
- Amazon Watch
- MONTUBIA Association
- National Association of Relatives of Kidnapped and Detained and Disappeared of Peru
- Pro Human Rights Association - APRODEH
- Friend Project Association
- ProPurús Association
- Peru Ecosystem Services Association - SEPERU
- Rural Educational Services Association - SER
- BOSCAFE Canchaque
- Amazon Center for Anthropology and Practical Application - CAAAP
- Ethnic Development Center - CEDET
- Loyola Ayacucho Center
- Center for International Environmental Law - CIEL (Center for International Environmental Law)
- Center for the Development of the Amazonian Indigenous - CEDIA
- College of Engineers of Peru, Departmental Council San Martín - Moyobamba
- Moyobamba Human Rights Committee - CODEH Moyobamba
- Alto Huallaga Human Rights Commission - CODHAH
- Social Justice Commission of the Diocese of Chimbote, Peru
- Solidarity Development and Justice Commission - COSDEJ
- Episcopal Commission for Social Action - CEAS
- General Confederation of Workers of Peru - CGTP
- Agroecological Consortium of Peru
- National Coordinator of Human Rights - CCNNDDHH
- Law, Environment and Natural Resources - DAR
- Human Rights Without Borders
- Human Rights and Environment - DHUMA
- Loreto Community Education
- Study for the Defense of Women's Rights - DEMUS
- Federation of Native Communities of Ucayali and Tributaries - FECONAU
- National Federation of Peasant, Artisan, Native Indigenous and Salaried Women of Peru - FENMUCARINAP
- Ecumenical Foundation for Development and Peace - FEDEPAZ
- Training and Intervention Group for Sustainable Development - GRUFIDES
- Institute of Legal Defense - IDL
- Institute for Legal Defense of the Environment and Sustainable Development - IDLADS Peru
- Southern Andean Institute of Human Rights - ISADH PUNO
- Kené, Institute of Forestry and Environmental Studies
- Lundu - Center for Afro-Peruvian Studies and Promotion
- Citizen Movement against Climate Change - MOCICC
- Manuela Ramos Movement
- Nature Services Peru - NSP
- Regional Organization AIDESEP Ucayali - ORAU
- Regional Organization for the Defense and Development of Indigenous Peoples of Alto Amazonas - ORDEPIA
- Regional Organization of Indigenous Women of the Atalaya Province - ORMIPA
- OXFAM in Peru
- Pastoral of the Land of the Apostolic Vicariate of Yurimaguas
- Peace and hope
- Platform for Territorial Planning
- Practical Action
- Proética - Peruvian Chapter of Transparency International
- Rainforest Foundation US
- Muqui Network
- Peruvian Network for a Globalization with Equity - RedGE
- Educational Service for Development and Solidarity - SEDYS Trujillo
- Intercultural Communication Services - Servindi
- Peruvian Ecodesarrollo Society - SPDE
- Peruvian Society of Environmental Law - SPDA
- Frankfurt Zoological Society in Peru (FZS Peru)
- Tierractiva Peru
- Indigenous Voices Communications