peru: civil society success in mining conflict management
what happened: Many activities were carried out to achieve these goals. Friends of the Earth Peru / Asociación Civil Labor organized a training workshop, and produced a dossier of information on the problem and possible solutions for social leaders at Ilo. They collected specialized information in support of technical proposals related to damage caused to the maritime ecosystem, the agricultural production, the water and air quality, as well as human health. They shared this with national and international networks, parliamentary commissions, CONAM (Peru’s National Environment Council) and other key actors.
FoE Peru also provided support to Frente Amplio (a coalition of social leaders to influence the Congress and the Executive, and carried out awareness-raising among new elected authorities. They produced a video for national TV, radio spots, and brochures and articles for print publications, to raise awareness in the general population about the problem and its social and environmental consequences.
In addition, FoE Peru hired an environmental engineering consultant to provide technical support to civil society representatives at the Dialogue Table, and to help draft terms of reference to allow assessment of environmental liabilities caused by SCC’s mining activities. They also produced the study “Terms of reference for an economic assessment of environmental impacts from the mining company SCC in Ilo Province.”
what is changing: FoE Peru have made considerable progress toward their objective; the Dialogue Table has been re-established, civil society has improved its ability to evaluate and propose solutions, and all key actors have been sensitized about the problem. Furthermore,, all of these efforts have contributed to the modernization of the Ilo Smelter, an action that had been delayed several times by the mining company.
The national campaign succeeded in influencing the Congress, with SCC forced to return to the Dialogue Table by the unanimous decision of the parliamentary Commissions of Environment and Energy and Mining.
Our communication campaign through radio and other mass media has sensitized local and regional authorities and had a positive effect on Ilo’s population: people are aware of the impacts caused by the mining industry and of the need to have an independent environmental authority. Furthermore, it is clear that the claim against SCC, demanding compensation for 46 years of contamination, is still in force.
Civil society representatives are supported by the public on this issue, at both the local and regional level. They have also increased their ability to manage conflict and negotiate compensation for the damage caused by SCC. They have further strengthened their position as civil society representatives, kept the issue on the national and international agenda, and are working at the Dialogue Table to implement the strategies.
what we learned: The workshop allowed the group to compare different mining conflicts affecting the environment in Peru’s southern region; leaders were able to build a permanent network allowing them to continuously communicate and coordinate. Civil society representatives have defined their mission and actions in the conflict with regard to the FA’s activities. Intervention strategies to handle conflict have been refined and adjusted.
what's next: FoE Peru are preparing national and international communication campaigns to spread information on a period basis. However, despite the considerable progress made, without project financing for further action planned by FoE Peru, civil society risks losing the ground it has gained and existing differences with SCC are likely to deepen.
with thanks to our funders: the dutch ministry of foreign affairs