The Laundering Machine: How Fraud and Corruption in Peru’s Concession System are Destroying the Future of its Forests
This past week in Lima, EIA launched a new report entitled “The Laundering Machine: How Fraud and Corruption in Peru’s Concession System are Destroying the Future of its Forests”. The full report is available in both English and Spanish as PDFs posted on EIA’s homepage. In addition, we have created a digital version that contains links to many pertinent official documents, news stories, videos and other supplementary information. In the interest of promoting maximum transparency and constructive exchange of information, this site will also house official responses from government agencies and companies who wish to provide additional information, as well as a list of press stories and resources that will be regularly updated. This digital version is available at http://www.peruforests-bosquesperuanos.com, again in both languages.
The materials available also include a page with map, video and photos of our journey last October to document the fraud and illegality in a concession in southern Loreto; a professional photographer has put this awesome site together at http://www.shootunit.com/eia.
We received strong media coverage in both Peru and the U.S., with front page stories for two days in Peru’s leading newspaper (during a week when the Shining Path took hostages and trapped miners were rescued from a mine, no less), as well as detailed stories in almost every other major daily, national radio shows, and a TV station. Please see http://peruforests-bosquesperuanos.com/additional-media/ for some of these stories. The video of the TV station appearance is available at http://youtu.be/Zq_pMCA5LSU.
The response to our incontrovertible evidence has been swift. By the end of the week, the President’s Council of Ministers (equivalent to a Cabinet-level advisory council) had met with forestry officials and declared in a press release that “the government is evaluating additional measures to prevent the country’s forest resources, similar to those being used in the fight against illegal mining”, including a review of concessions and stronger efforts to stamp out illegal logging. Please see below or http://www.pcm.gob.pe/Prensa/ActividadesPCM/2012/Abril/12-04-12.html.
These are words on paper for now, but they nonetheless represent a critical statement of political will and an extraordinary outcome from our first week! EIA will continue to follow up to ensure that Peru lives up to these commitments and takes the variety of actions recommended in our report. Our first follow up step will occur this coming week when we submit an official petition to the US Trade Representative, asking that the US take action under the US-Peru FTA Annex on Forest Governance to request verifications and audits of exporters and concessions mentioned in our report.
Thank you so very much to Switzer for your support in this project from the very beginning! I’m extraordinarily proud of my team and of this project so far.
Editor's Note: Andrea received Leadership Grant Awards in 2007 and 2009 that allowed her to take the lead on building and strengthening the Environmental Investigation Agency's ability to document and build awareness around the issue of illegal logging in Latin America and worldwide.