General description of the country
Peru is in the western central part of South America; it has an extension of 1.85 million km2 that includes the mainland, Lake Titicaca, and the Peruvian islands of the Pacific Ocean. It is the third-largest country in South America and one of the twenty largest in the world1 . Its territory borders Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile. It has 200 nautical miles of this ocean, and its coastline has an extension of 2,414 km from the border with Ecuador to Chile. Moreover, Peru owns 60 million hectares in Antarctica1 ; as a result, it is a consultative part of the Antarctic Treaty. Peru is a megadiverse country biologically and culturally. It has the longest tropical mountain chain in the world, which longitudinally crosses the country's territory and rises to more than 6,000 meters of altitude, which provides a complex combination of climates, soils, and microenvironments that support biological diversity. Peru's geography is characterized by its coasts, the Andes Mountains, and the Amazon rainforest. Thus, the country has a diverse mosaic such as tropical forests, dry forests, wetlands, coastal hills, and cloud forests, among others1 .
According to the Peru 2020 Statistical Compendium2 , the country has 196 provinces and 1874 districts, in twenty-four departments that at the same time are politically considered as regions, in addition to the constitutional province of Callao. Peru’s population in 2017 was 31.24 million people3 , and 79.3% live in urban areas defined as centers with 2000 or more inhabitants). There are currently 55 indigenous groups in Peru, 51 from the Amazon and four of the Andes. Moreover, there are 48 indigenous in the country1 .
Overview of the key political structure on the environment
The National Environmental Policy (NEP) by 20304 is the base for environmental conservation. The NEP resulted from a process in which participated various levels from the public sector, private sector, academia, non-governmental organizations, and representatives of indigenous groups. Specifically, the NEP seeks to: 1) reduce the number of threatened species in Peru by 29%; 2) reduce by 6% the annual variation rate of forest loss; 3) achieve a good air quality, according to the National Air Quality Index (INCA), in 50% of the Priority Attention Zones; 4) achieve that 36% of mining environmental liabilities have closure or remediation plans underway; 5) reach 63% of solid waste in adequate final disposal infrastructure; 6) to reduce the vulnerability to climate by 20%; 7) to fully comply with the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). Moreover, the policy seeks 8) to achieve that 64% of the energy in the national electricity grid comes from renewable sources, 9) to reach 20% of public entities increasing their eco-efficiency; 10) to get 200 Peruvian companies to meet the bio and eco-business criteria. Finally, the ENP focuses on 11) achieving that 99% of environmental conflicts are adequately managed; 12) increasing scientific production on environmental issues by 137%4 .
In Peru, the main authority for environmental issues is the Ministry of Environment. Besides, the Environmental Assessment and Enforcement Agency, a public technical body, works on the assessment, supervision, control, inspection, and sanction in environmental matters, as well as the application of incentives and all actions aimed at guaranteeing compliance with environmental legislation and environmental management instruments by natural or legal persons in the national territory.
Summary of key environmental issues
Peru's ecosystems threats relate to land use-cover changes. The expansion of traditional or industrial agriculture, wood logging, or livestock5. Besides land use/cover changes, Peru faces water and soil pollution, extractive activities (hydrocarbons), and environmental challenges related to the generation of hydroelectric energy, mining, urbanization, and climate change. More than 90% of Peru's forest (around 70 million hectares) belongs to the Amazonian region. Between 2001 and 2014, these forests reduced by approximately 1.7 million hectares, representing an average annual loss of 150,000 hectares5 .
- 1 a b c d Ministerio de Ambiente. 2021. Peru’s National Report on the State of the Environment 2014-2019, available in https://sinia.minam.gob.pe/inea/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/INEA-2014-2019_red.pdf
- 2Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática. (2020a). Compendio Estadístico Perú 2020. https://www.inei.gob.pe/media/MenuRecursivo/publicaciones_digitales/Est/Lib1758/COMPENDIO2020.html
- 3Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática. Perú: Resultados definitivos de los Censos Nacionales 2017, XII de Población, VII de Vivienda Y III de Comunidades Indígenas. Available in https://www.inei.gob.pe/media/MenuRecursivo/publicaciones_digitales/Est/Lib1544/
- 4 a b National Environmental Policy by 2030. Available https://cdn.www.gob.pe/uploads/document/file/2037169/POLITICA%20NACIONAL%20DEL%20AMBIENTE%20AL%202030.pdf.pdf
- 5Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL)/Organización de Cooperación y Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE), Evaluaciones del desempeño ambiental: Peru, Santiago, 2017. https://repositorio.cepal.org/bitstream/handle/11362/42527/1/S1600240_es.pdf