Wednesday, December 5th 2012 - 18:50 UTC

OAS and Peru will discuss how to address socio-environment conflict in mining areas

The Organization of American States (OAS) will hold, on December 6 and 7 in Lima, Peru, the Meeting of Government Experts on the Management of Socio-Environmental Conflict for the countries of Central America and the Andean Region.

President Humala faces strong resistance to development projects from indigenous peoples

The purpose of the meeting is to strengthen the institutional capacities of governments in addressing socio-environmental conflicts through the exchange of information and the presentation of institutional mechanisms used to bring about solutions to these problems.

Several Andean countries but particularly Peru has been exposed to constant challenges from indigenous groups that are contrary to the licensing areas they consider homeland, to mining and forestry companies.

Former presidents Alejandro Toledo and Alan García and currently Ollanta Humala have faced armed resistance from well organized groups and there have been repeated clashes in which peasants and members of the police have been killed and injured. Some members of the riot squads were even killed with spears and arrows which give an idea of the extent of the problem and challenge for Peruvian authorities.

Does the Peruvian government go ahead with its plans to develop mining and forestry to help pull the country out of poverty, or does it yield to the resistance from indigenous peoples that have been living in those areas since the first Europeans arrived. This is a dilemma that so far Toledo and Garcia were unable to cope, but hopefully Humala has the sufficient political support and stamina to solve it peacefully.

“The meeting aims to provide a space for reflection, analysis, and debate on the dynamics of socio-environmental conflict in the participating Member States in order that mechanisms can be found for the appropriate management of these conflicts using the national experiences of participating countries and input from experts in the field” said the OAS release.

The meeting will be held over two days and will be attended by representatives of government ministries and agencies of OAS Member States responsible for addressing socio-environmental conflict. It will specifically address themes such as citizen participation in public policy formation, prior consultation, early warning systems, and dialogue as a tool for conflict management.

This initiative is held within the framework of the institutional strengthening project in mediation and dialogue of the Department of Democratic Sustainability and Special Missions of the OAS Secretariat for Political Affairs, which is funded by the government of Canada.
 

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1 reality check (#) Dec 06th, 2012 - 02:15 pm Report abuse
Stop siphoning off the money, that would be a good start.
2 GeoffWard2 (#) Dec 06th, 2012 - 03:43 pm Report abuse
I remember being a part of the campaign in the UK to get lead removed from petrol. Ralph Nader's era.
It's not so much that people 'eat' the contaminated soil, they eat veg. that has been grown in it.

Chelating agents such as EDTA are good - they 'grab' the heavy metals in the gut;
I remember when I was young, we used Kaolin & Morphine for stomach ailments - the kaolin (clay) additionally bound the heavy metals which then passed through the body rather than becoming retained as poisons within. The morphine is now a Banned Substance for over-the-counter sales.

The mapping of contaminated land is one thing; the removal of human activity from such land is altogether another thing!
Decontamination is horrendously expensive.
Slums/favelas develop unchecked on contaminated land unless there is profoundly good local, regional and national governance.
This cries out for joined-up-government-thinking.

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