CIFOR gives input to public hearing on new environment code in Ecuador

With the understanding that citizen participation is what gives legitimacy to the process of legislative reform, Ecuador’s National Assembly’s Working Committee on Natural Resources and Biodiversity invited various sectors of society to participate in public hearings to discuss a bill to create an Environment Code last March.

Aware of CIFOR’s research activities in Ecuador, the Commission invited CIFOR to participate in this meeting and give input to the discussion of the bill the committee presented to the National Assembly in October 2014.

Different sectors of society, including NGOs, academia, civil society, political groups, public institutions, and more were invited to contribute ideas to the discussions related to the forestry regime.

Elena Mejia, a researcher at CIFOR, presented the results of a project carried out in the provinces of Orellana and Napo in Ecuador’s Amazon region during 2011-2013. The research is part of CIFOR’s Pro-Formal Project, a global comparative study that is examining the dynamics of the domestic timber markets in five countries: Indonesia, Cameroon, Gabon, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ecuador.

“Although there have been significant efforts in Ecuador to simplify forest regulations, for most small farmers it is still difficult to comply with the rules,” said Pablo Pacheco, CIFOR Principal Scientist and lead for the research project in Ecuador.

“We must continue to make efforts to adapt the regulations to the uses of local people so that we can improve their forests. We should also improve the incentive systems, and the participation of buyers in the cities to support the expansion of the supply of wood coming from legal and sustainable sources,” Pacheco said.

CIFOR’s findings related to the lessons learned from logging in the Ecuadorian Amazon come at the right time because the bill aims to systematize a somewhat dispersed environmental regulation.

The bill seeks to regulate the institutional regime on issues such as natural patrimony, environmental quality, climate change and sustainable management of marine and coastal area, among others.

Among the agencies that presented contributions were the Catholic University of Ecuador, the University of Quito, the Natural Heritage Division of the Metropolitan District of Quito, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Environment, the Business Council for the Sustainable Development of Ecuador, and the Department of Environment and Industrial Safety of the Chamber of Industries and Production.

Among international organizations, CIFOR and UNDP were the only ones invited to present findings to the legislative commission.