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23 communities around the Reserved Zone Yaguas thank state authorities for having listened to them

Communicated to public opinion by the 23 indigenous communities that promote the conservation of the Yaguas basin

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STATEMENT TO PUBLIC OPINION

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO THE DIFFERENT REGIONAL AND NATIONAL STATE ENTITIES FOR HEARING THE VOICE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE LIVING AROUND THE YAGUAS RESERVED ZONE

The organizations FECOIBAP, FECONAFROPU and FECONA, representing 23 Yagua communities in Ampiyacu and Lower and Higher Putumayo, would like to extend their gratitude to the different regional and national government entities for their openness to dialog and receiving us 17 indigenous leaders from the Yaguas Reserved Zone during our visit to Iquitos and Lima, and for contributing to the success of the mission our base communities have entrusted us with: to lay out the reasons we are in favor of the categorization as a National Park of the Yaguas Reserved Zone. We consider this place sacred, a place of animal and plant reproduction, and we demand a Yaguas free of illicit activities and contamination. We also fulfilled our mission to present the benefits this protected area will bring to the local population and to warn about illegal gold mining and logging currently taking place in the basin.

Additionally, we express our support to the transparency in which the prior consultation has been carried out by SERNANP and the Ministry of Culture, emphasizing on the fact that we have been informed at all times of the process and of the different natural protected area categories in Peru.

That being said, we would like to place our deepest gratitude on record:

To the President of the Regional Government of Loreto, Lic. Fernando Melendez, who received us in his offices together with the General Manager and his environment team, consisting of representatives of the Environmental Authority of Loreto, which is in turn headed by Ing. Juan Carlos Vilca, and representatives of the Conservation Direction, biologists Valeria Saldalia, Ronald Rodriguez, Javier Del Águila and Andrea Tello. We thank them for their engagement in this process and especially for their initiative to implement a working table in order draft a concerted development plan for the communities around Yaguas. Hearing the President say, as it also states on the record, that he does not oppose the categorization as a National Park, but that it should rather be accompanied by a Life plan, was very reassuring.

Our acknowledgements go to the Ministry of the Environment for having organized a meeting where we were able to transmit the vision of the native communities regarding the strict protection of two thirds of the Yaguas river basin and the creation of a protected area of direct use, whether it may be a communal reserve or a regional conservation area, occupying the lower part of the basin and other free areas. We were thus able to carry our message to the Minister of the Environment, Ms. Elsa Galarza, and to other authorities from the Ministries of Culture and Environment, the Management of the Captaincy, the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office and the PCM, to whom we would also like to express our gratitude for the attention they have devoted to us and for supporting the categorization of Yaguas as a National Park.

FECONA

We express our gratitude to the Minister of Culture, Salvador del Solar, and his Vice Minister, for confirming that the prior consultation process has been carried out in a transparent manner and in good faith, and that no law or regulations whatsoever governing the prior consultation process were broken. The same has been declared by the Ombudsman’s Office Deputy of the Environment and Indigenous People, Alicia Abanto, to whom we equally offer our gratitude.  Her words calmed our concerns and made us feel more confident about the future and protection of Yaguas.

We also acknowledge the interest in learning more about the categorization process and the latest developments in the area demonstrated by various congressmen. Congresswoman Maria Elena Foronda, President of the Andean, Amazonian and Afroperuvian Peoples, Environment and Ecology Commission, claimed that after entering in dialog with us, she had gained a broader, more complete and balanced overview of the categorization process of the Yaguas Reserved Zone, and that many doubts were clarified. She was very clear in rejecting the illicit activities taking place in the basin. Congressman Horacio Zeballos and Congresswoman Tania Pariona also supported the categorization of Yaguas and rejected the illegal activities that persist there.

We would like to extend a very special thanks and recognition to the congressmen Dra. Patricia Donayre and Ing. Jorge Melendez, who underlined their opposition to the aforementioned illicit activities and who stated will respect the decision made by the State regarding the categorization of the Yaguas Reserved Zone.

To the Ambassador to Germany, Mr. Jörg Ranau, we express our respect and gratitude for the ongoing support granted by his country to environmental initiatives in Peru, be it on a state or civil society level.  After carefully listening to our concerns, the Ambassador assured us that his country will continue to support conservation initiatives in Peru.

Iquitos, July 25, 2017 

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