PRONOUNCEMENT OF CIVIL SOCIETY AND INDIGENOUS AND ORIGINAL PEOPLES BEFORE ATTACK AGAINST THE INSTITUTIONALITY AND GOVERNANCE OF THE FOREST SECTOR
Published on 06/05/20
Lime. The undersigned express our rejection of the breakdown of the Peruvian forestry sector institutions by the Minister of Agriculture upon terminating the appointment of the Executive Director of the Peruvian forestry authority SERFOR (through Supreme Resolution No. 02-2020-MINAGRI) citing as a cause the loss of trust, going beyond the functions of its Board of Directors of SERFOR, which was not previously summoned or informed of this disposition of removal.
Already at the beginning of March 2020 we denounced the attempt to break the institutionality when the Vice Minister of Agrarian Policies of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MINAGRI), Paula Carrión Tello, summoned the Executive Director of SERFOR, Luis Alberto Gonzales-Zúñiga, to a private meeting in which he requested his resignation by decision of the Senior Management of the sector. On that occasion Gonzales-Zúñiga asked her to reach him in writing, explaining the reasons, to which she refused.
Considering that the Vice Minister herself is the one who presides over the SERFOR Board of Directors and through this request for resignation she was passing over the highest body of the institution and violating the established procedures, the civil society organizations and the Indigenous and Native Peoples ask to our representatives before the Council who will request the convening of an extraordinary session of the SERFOR Board of Directors so that explanations of the case can be provided. We consider this to be essential to contribute to transparency at such a sensitive time. The formal letter was sent (March 11, 2020), but there was no call.
It is worth mentioning that Gonzales-Zúñiga is the first Executive Director of SERFOR who has been appointed through a public merit contest endorsed by the National Civil Service Authority (SERVIR) and appointed for a period of five years, precisely to guarantee the independence and continuity necessary to adequately manage forest and wildlife resources in the country. That is why it is striking that the removal of this position be ordered indicating loss of trust, without having mediated the exposition of the reasons for the removal in the space of the Board of Directors.
The deputy minister's request for resignation occurred when SERFOR's management showed progress in the development of wood traceability mechanisms, so that its legal origin can finally be verified in the forest, and in the transformation chain, marketing and export. Progress to rebuild this traceability has generated a negative reaction on the part of those public and private actors that have been benefiting economically and politically from the commercialization of illegal wood and the corruption required for its laundering. In this process, some officials have received death threats and even physical attacks to intimidate them and try to stop the implementation of the advances.
The context of this termination that we consider arbitrary is even worse now that the country is hard hit by the pandemic and the virus begins to reach indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon that had isolated and blocked access to their territories. While the forest concessionaires and the industry demand flexibilities of standards and verification of legal origin, the State itself generates an institutional crisis in a sector dramatically invaded by illegality, to the point that the Financial Intelligence Unit itself concludes that at least the 60% of timber production in the country has an illegal origin. This illegal production is "washed" with fraudulent documentation generated by the corruption of authorities and concessionaires, the same concessionaires that now assure that they will respect biosafety protocols.
Therefore, the undersigned express our deep rejection of this action that threatens the institutional framework and forest governance in Peru, in addition to putting at high risk the international commitments made by Peru related to the protection of forests, the fight against illegal logging and reducing deforestation, such as the Peru Norway Germany Agreement (DCI) and the Free Trade Agreement with the US We also support efforts for more transparent and corruption-free forest management that allows increasing the national and global competitiveness of the Peruvian forestry sector and that brings sustainable development for the Amazon and its inhabitants.
- Amazon Watch
- Amazonians for the Amazon - AMPA and the Amazonian Network for Voluntary and Communal Conservation "Amazonía Que Late"
- Arariwa Association
- National Association of Centers - ANC
- Center for the Development of the Amazonian Indigenous - CEDIA
- Center for Conservation, Research and Management of Natural Areas, CIMA-Cordillera Azul
- Peruvian College of Engineers - Departmental Council of San Martín, Moyobamba
- Law, Environment and Natural Resources-DAR
- Environmental Investigation Agency-EIA
- National Federation of Peasant, Artisan, Indigenous, Native and Salaried Women of Peru- FENMUCARINAP
- Pachamama Peru Foundation
- Institute for Legal Defense of the Environment and Sustainable Development-IDLADS
- Institute for the Common Good-IBC
- Institute of Legal Defense - IDL
- Nature Services Peru
- Intercultural Communication Services - Servindi
- Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
- Oxfam in Peru
- Organization National Union of Aymara Communities - UNCA
- Practical Action
- Peruvian Ecodesarrollo Society - SPDE
On a personal basis:
- Silvia Sánchez Huamán
- Patricia Fernández-Dávila (ID 08220816)