REDD+ in Peru: The national context
Forests cover 69 million ha in Peru, representing nearly 60% of the country (MINAM 2014). Although annual deforestation rates are relatively low (approximately 0.2%), land use and land-use change are responsible for almost half of the country’s GHG emissions (MINAM 2011). Peru made a voluntary commitment to reach zero net deforestation and to conserve 54 million ha of forest by 2021 (MINAM 2011). REDD+ is expected to play an important role in national mitigation strategies. With 75% of the deforestation occurring in small plots (less than 0.5 ha), much of the focus on decreasing deforestation has been on smallholder farmers and forest-dwelling communities (CIF 2013).
Peru participates in many REDD+ readiness initiatives (Forest Carbon Partnership Facility; United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and receives international cooperation funds (e.g. KfW [German Development Bank]) to further support readiness activities. In addition, Peru received a commitment of USD 50 million from the Forest Investment Program (FIP) towards readiness and investment in REDD+ initiatives. In September 2014, Norway pledged USD 300 million for REDD+ performance-based payments.
REDD+ readiness activities at the national level are currently led by MINAM (Ministerio del Ambiente; Ministry of Environment, Peru). MINAM’s work on REDD+ was previously isolated from the work of MINAGRI (Ministerio de Agricultura y Riego; Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Peru) on forestry, tenure and land-use rights. However, the current version of the Readiness Preparation Proposal draft was developed in closer coordination with the forestry division of MINAGRI and MEF (Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas; Ministry of Economy and Finance, Peru), which is the focal point for FIP funding. Although official documents address intersectorial coordination, it has been relatively weak in practice. Institutions outside of the environmental/forestry sector have not been fully integrated into the planning process and subnational governments are not adequately incorporated into decision-making processes (Che Piu and Menton 2014; Menton et al. 2014). Given Peru’s decentralized governance structure, regional governments (equivalent to states/provinces elsewhere) are important actors. The Amazon Interregional Council (CIAM) has sought to improve coordination and integration with regional governments.
The national legal framework has undergone significant changes that should strengthen forest governance:
- A new forestry law was passed in 2011 but approval of norms and regulations are still pending.
- The prior consultation law granted rights to FPIC for indigenous peoples in 2011.
- A compensation for ecosystem services law was approved in 2014 that clarified rights to ecosystem services (including carbon).
Despite these improvements, there are still serious challenges surrounding land tenure and overlapping land-use rights (Espinoza and Feather 2011; Chavez et al. 2012), which are not under the remit of MINAM, but are the responsibility of the regional governments and MINAGRI. In addition, in June 2014, an economic stimulus package was passed, which undermines the institutional power of MINAM and the regional governments and promotes a BAU model of development.
Early on, Peru chose to adhere to a nested approach; an estimated 41 subnational REDD+ initiatives were under development by 2012 (MINAM 2012). The need for reference scenarios for these initiatives has led to coordinated efforts in some of the Amazonian departments (e.g. San Martín, Madre de Dios) to create subnational reference scenarios that have been incorporated into project planning documents. While some subnational initiatives remain at the conceptual stages, others have advanced to receive VCS certification and even voluntary payments (e.g. Disney’s deal with Conservation International’s Alto Mayo Project in San Martín [Texeira 2013]). The proliferation of these initiatives is a reflection of, and contributor to, strong civil society involvement in defining the scope and direction of REDD+ in Peru. Multi-stakeholder platforms arose to promote dialogue amongst different actors and provide mechanisms for civil society and the private sector to contribute to government-led strategy development. Currently, there is a national REDD+ roundtable (Grupo REDD+ Peru), subnational roundtables, and both national and subnational indigenous roundtables.
In addition to the advances at the subnational level, progress has been made towards development of the national REDD+ strategy. MINAM recently launched a registry to oversee subnational REDD+ initiatives and support an Amazon-level jurisdictional approach to REDD+. It also circulated a draft strategy for REDD+ MRV, which includes methodologies for national-level reference levels and a stepwise approach to improving the precision of its emissions estimates (MINAM 2014; Rugnitz-Tito and Menton in press). This national strategy must be reconciled with the current reference levels established at the subnational level, which are being used by REDD+ initiative proponents and supported by regional governments.
Overall, REDD+ in Peru is still a work in progress, but there remains much optimism surrounding its potential role in promoting forest conservation and improving local livelihoods while contributing to reducing national GHG emissions.