Creating the bases for policy impact in Peru
Written by Carolina Navarrete-Frías and Nora Guerten
How can we make our research findings more valuable and useful for decision-makers on the ground? How can we encourage a sustainable use of natural resources at the landscape level in contexts with a dynamic forest-agriculture interface? From a governance and institutional perspective, how to better reconcile conservation and economic development interests on the ground? To find answers to these and further questions and to socialize the ASSETS project (Attaining Sustainable Services from Ecosystems through Trade-off Scenarios), the ASSETS team recently met in Lima and the region of Ucayali with key decision and policy makers and identified a multitude of opportunities for ASSETS to contribute to environmental, health, agriculture, and other key policies in the region.
Ucayali is a region facing multiple challenges including poverty and social conflicts. Many of these tensions arise due to access to and use of natural resources. This is the case of forest concessions granted to third actors, which overlap with the main territories of local communities. In the case of fisheries, some fishermen are forbidden access by communities to fish in certain areas, leading to disputes and hostility.
In a meeting in Pucallpa with the head of the Regional Office of Production, ideas about the management of fisheries were exchanged. There was high interest in all the data that ASSETS will gather on fisheries since very little information is currently available, that could serve as input for updating the regional regulation for fisheries. The team also met with other key stakeholders including the Regional Unit of Territorial Planning, the Unit of Economic Development, the Local Authority of Water, the Regional Unit of Health and the Unit of Natural Resources. From these meetings other interesting opportunities for impact through the ASSETS science-policy interface in Peru include providing input and support to the policy unit within the Regional Environmental Authority, which is now being launched (ARA, by its Spanish acronym). Also, input from the project can be useful for the forestry zoning that just began and for the educational policy which has a health and environmental component.
Another successful intervention as part of the science-policy interface has been the creation of the Policy Panel for Peru, leaded by stakeholders that play a key role both in the Amazon region (Ucayali) and Lima. Within the ASSETS project, the goals of the Policy Panel are to:
- Discuss policy baseline and scenarios
- Validate policy impact pathway
- Provide feedback on policy strategies
- Support/ guide policy incidence processes
The Policy Panel will come together twice per year to: i) discuss undergoing national/ regional policy processes that ASSETS could potentially link to; ii) jointly build and discuss ASSETS scenarios as a relevant input for decision making; and iii) discuss ASSETS results and analysis as an input for policy and decision making. Data gathered from the project will be available to strengthen local/ regional/ national institutional databases. Through enhanced knowledge this will ideally lead to empowerment on the local level and encourage the cross-scale dialogue between the national and local policy level.
The trip to Peru enabled the ASSETS team to directly engage and win new, highly qualified members for the Policy Panel, which currently consists of:
- Nilo Maguiña, a Council Member in Ucayali
- Javier Soto, from the Secretary of Agriculture in Ucayali
- Patricia Ceijas, working at the Natural Resources Management Office in Ucayali leading the conformation of the ARA
- Dr. Willy Lora, Director of the Regional Office of Health
- Alberto Barandiarán, Counselor of the Vice-Minister of the Environment (MINAM)
- José Alvárez, General Director of Biological Diversity, Ministry of the Environment, Peru
This regionally balanced Policy Panel, in collaboration with the ASSETS team, will identify the most relevant opportunities for policy impact on the national and the local level in the region of Ucayali. Hence the meetings in Peru marked a crucial milestone for the ASSETS team: Partnerships were initiated and strengthened, so that the ASSETS research can feed directly into local and national policies for attaining higher impact.