Peruvian civil society organisations and grassroots movements are seizing the hosting of COP20 by Peru to join efforts in elevating environmental issues on the government’s agenda, particularly as part of the country’s development policies.
Climate change impacts have already reached Peru. People in Peru are already experiencing the negative impacts of climate change such as water scarcity, thus adding to existing environmental and social challenges.
While the Presidency of the COP20 should have been an opportunity for the Peruvian government to show leadership in environmental issues, its recent national policies show that the environment has become less and less of a priority. For example, in July this year the government approved the so-called Ley 30230 (also known as ‘Ley Paquetazo’), which reduces the importance of environmental standards with the aim to attract investment in the extractive industries.
The promotion of extractive industries has already led to cases such as that of Maxima Chaupe, a female farmer. She was sued by Yanacocha – one of the biggest gold mining companies – for living on the land where Yanacocha was planning its Conga extraction project. Maxima and her family were not only ordered to leave the land, they were also asked to pay Yanacocha a compensation fine of about US$2,000. Other injustices have even led to fatalities: Edwin Chota, Jorge Ríos, Leoncio Quinticima and Francisco Pinedo, indigenous awajun, were killed by illegal loggers when trying to protect their community forest near a conservation area in the Amazons of Peru.
COP20 is an important milestone on the way to Paris, but it remains a closed space for people like Maxima and Edwin who claim justice and call for a new, climate-friendly and sustainable development pathway.
ECO is happy to announce two events aiming to change this. Firstly, from the 8th to the 11th of December, the Cumbre de los Pueblos (People’s Summit) will take place in Lima. It will be an open space for people to attend, get informed, make proposals, and call for urgent action to be conducted by their governments. Secondly, civil society and social movement organisations are also organising the Marcha Mundial en Defensa de la Madre Tierra (People’s March), which will take place on the 10th of December in Lima. Around 15,000 people are expected to participate.