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Peru - Country Profile

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Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The latest trend reveals that biodiversity in Peru is increasing, with the numbers of species of wild flora and fauna having risen and currently totaling 20,585 and 5,585, respectively. The IUCN Red List however indicates that there has also been an increase in the number of threatened species. The ecosystems of greatest importance to the country are mountains, coastal hills located in the piedmont regions, rainforests, dry forests, followed by wetlands and moors. Plains ecosystems, particularly tropical forests, occupy the largest portion of the national territory, covering over 94% of the country’s forested territory. These forests possess a high diversity of species of flora and fauna, including economically important resources, such as timber. They are however seriously impacted by the advancement of the agricultural frontier, selective logging and hunting, and the degradation of some ecosystems. Deforestation is largely driven by road construction.

Among the forests in the coastal region, carob forests are the most highly represented. In spite of having recovered in the last 30 years, due in part to the effects of El Niño, carob forests are impacted today by agricultural expansion or logging for energy purposes. Mangroves represent less than 0.01% of the national total, while dry savannah-type forests represent 1.1%, and riparian carob forests 0.01%. Together, these forests provide provisioning and regulating services however are also negatively affected by deforestation, mainly for agricultural use, and degradation from logging.

Overall, 73 million hectares of natural forests still exist and are largely in good condition. There has also been a decline in a high rate of deforestation. Forest species of greatest interest are mahogany and cedar, which have higher prices in national and international markets, yet around 50% of their populations are being cut down through unsustainable practices. It is however believed that protected areas retain a proper representation of the genetic diversity of these and other species.

Fishing is one of the most important sectors for the Peruvian economy. In terms of volume landed, the country is ranked among the main fishing nations in the world, though there are signs that some species are being overexploited (such is the case of the Peruvian hake which is now a regulated fishery). Resource overexploitation has been identified as one of the main threats to marine biodiversity, to which can be added pollution and urban and agricultural development in the coastal zone. In addition, a change in the use of coastal land for aquaculture has caused irreversible damage, particularly to mangroves.

The biological communities of inland waters have not been adequately studied however there is a trend to increase knowledge in this area. Today, Lake Titicaca is most severely impacted by a loss of quality waste water resulting from illegal mining (pollution), with three basins indicating the presence of introduced and invasive fish (especially poeciliids, cichlids and trout) and algae. In the Peruvian Amazon, there is clear indication of the intensive exploitation and trade in fish known as “rays”, of the Potamotrygonidae family, that are unique to these inland waters.

The contribution of eco-friendly businesses to the national economy has increased considerably in recent years, with a recorded increase of 20% in exports of bio products, as well as a 25% increase in surface dedicated to organic or ecological production. In addition, exports of native plant and wildlife species are increasing, with annual values totaling in excess of 250 million dollars, which contrasts with the limited support available for raising awareness of this biodiversity and its values. Biodiversity also provides gastronomic resources for the new type of Peruvian cuisine which is fast gaining popularity worldwide.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The main threats to Peru’s mountain and forest ecosystems are land use change, climate change, deforestation and extractive activities. The main threats to its continental water ecosystems relate to pollution, degradation, damming and overfishing.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Peru completed its first National Biodiversity Strategy in 2001. Its principal achievements included the generation of environmental management tools, including the development of regional biodiversity strategies; strengthening the national legal framework; strengthening in situ conservation strategies; implementing mechanisms for information exchange, and increased sectoral initiatives in tourism, agrobiodiversity and trade (food). There has however been insufficient advancement in certain issues related to ecosystem conservation, endemic taxons and restricted distribution, invasive species, GMOs, and in increasing the level of integration and participation of society. Apart from financial constraints, the major difficulties were the lack of an action plan containing indicators and targets and a mechanism for managing and monitoring activities.

Peru’s new NBSAP entitled Estrategia Nacional de Diversidad Biológica al 2021 y su Plan de Acción 2014-2018 was developed in accordance with the 1997 Law on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity and adopted by decree in 2014. Its development featured a broad, regionally-balanced and participatory process, including representatives from five national organizations of Indigenous Peoples, including the National Organization of Indigenous Andean and Amazonian Women, the private sector and civil society. The new Strategy contains 6 strategic objectives to 2021 focused on: biodiversity status and ecosystem services; national development; reducing pressures; strengthening capacity at the three levels of government; improving knowledge and technologies and re-valuing traditional knowledge associated with the biodiversity of Indigenous Peoples; and strengthening cooperation and the participation of all actors in biodiversity governance. Thirteen national targets have been set (and mapped to the global targets), along with 2013 baselines and indicators. In addition, 147 actions are prioritized, scheduled and assigned entities responsible for implementation (a decentralized approach is promoted with regional and local governments assigned responsibilities).

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Protected areas currently cover 17% of the national territory, including 10 protected areas in the marine and coastal environment (the Guano Islands, Isles and Capes National Reserve System has been recently created).

“Agrobiodiversity zones” have been identified and demarcated through the implementation of an innovative instrument which aims to increase knowledge about agricultural biodiversity, including sites in which the greatest genetic diversity of agronomically-important species is concentrated, promote conservation and enhancement and avoid threats from the release of LMOs and invasives.

Regarding the programme of work on Article 8 (j) and related CBD provisions, Peru has made progress with respect to 6 elements (10 tasks) representing 59% of the total 17 tasks, and 50% of the 8 tasks that correspond to Parties, either separately or on a shared basis with the Secretariat and the Working Group. The only element that has not yet advanced relates to Task 8 (identification of a focal point within the CHM to liaise with indigenous and local communities). The most significant advances have occurred with respect to Task 7 (legislative measures for the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources), Task 9 (monitoring of unauthorized access and unlawful ownership of traditional knowledge), and Task 12 (development of sui generis systems for the protection of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices).

The production sector is led by the Ministry of Production (PRODUCE) that has identified mechanisms for certification of aquaculture production and fishing.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Biodiversity value and conservation are enshrined in Article 68 of Peru's Constitution. In 1997, Peru adopted the Law on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity.

Peru adopted a National Biosafety Law related to the prevention of risks derived from the use of biotechnology in 1999. In 2011, the Moratorium Law was adopted which instituted a 10-year moratorium on the admission and environmental release of LMOs. In 2012, Peru began implementing the National Biosafety Framework project, in order to fill existing gaps in the implementation of the national regulatory framework. Significant progress has been made in the formulation of the Programme on Biotechnology and Competitive Development, Programme on the Knowledge and Conservation of Native Genetic Resources (for biosafety purposes), and the Special Project for Strengthening Science and Technological Capacity in Modern Biotechnology (related to biosafety). Peru has still not however developed sectoral regulations for biosafety.

In 2011, the Peruvian Congress approved the Law on Prior Consultation, guaranteeing Indigenous Peoples’ the right to free, prior and informed consent to any projects affecting them and their lands.

Peru became a Party to the Nagoya Protocol on ABS in October 2014. However, the development of the institutional framework on access to genetic resources has shown little progress in recent years. Bottlenecks can be linked to the fact that the new regulation on access to genetic resources is currently undergoing approval, and the Andean Community’s Decision 391 on the Common Regime on Access to Genetic Resources is currently being revised.

Regional governments have made important advances in biodiversity management and in the development of management tools (e.g. regional policy, management plans, land use plans, formulation and consolidation of the regional natural protected areas system, implementation of agro-ecological zoning). The Regional Environmental Authority is now operationalized however currently covers 3 regions only. There has been limited progress to date in updating and implementing regional biodiversity strategies.

The environmental research agenda of the National Council on Science and Technology and Technological Innovation now integrates biodiversity in the objectives of its policies, plans and strategies. In the last 5 years, investment in areas of scientific and technological interest, including natural resources, has increased, having achieved by 2013 an annual budget totaling 61.28 million soles.

The National Climate Change Strategy has been integrated into the revised NBSAP. Also, NBSAP considerations have been mainstreamed in various instruments, such as the Bicentennial Plan “Peru 2021”, National Environmental Action Plan, Environmental Agenda, and the Ministry of Environment’s Multi-annual Sectoral Strategic Plan. A CEPA Strategy and Resource Mobilization Strategy are currently in development. By the end of the first half of 2015, Peru aims to have adequate incentives, developed and coordinated across sectors and between levels of government, for engaging the private sector in biodiversity conservation initiatives.

The Action Plan for the Protection of the Marine Environment and Coastal Areas of the Southeast Pacific, of the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific, is being driven in coordination with the Peruvian Institute of the Sea (IMARPE). It aims to assess the level of pollution and its impact on marine biodiversity and risks to human health.

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

A comprehensive system for monitoring and reviewing NBSAP implementation does not exist at the moment.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme