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MINAM aims to balance environmental protection with infrastructure development

The Peruvian Ministry of the Environment (known by its Spanish acronym, MINAM) is working on a potentially groundbreaking policy to balance environmental protection and the development of big infrastructure projects. Specifically, the agency is formulating an approach to compensating for the impacts construction projects cause to natural ecosystems. Some degree of ecosystem impact is inevitable when new roads and dams are constructed; these damages have typically been overlooked in most countries. The Peruvian government is consulting with a range of stakeholders and experts, including CSF, to devise a policy that will give developers more clarity on their obligations, while creating real benefits for nature protection in the country. A centerpiece of most alternatives under discussion is the premise that an area at least equivalent to the one lost to development should be permanently conserved to make up for the impact. The process of devising the change was initiated last year by a CSF graduate, Fernando Leon, and is being continued by another CSF course participant, Isabel Castañeda, also a ministry official.

Our work with MINAM is made possible through the support of United States Agency for International Development and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation via the BUILD program (Biodiversity Understanding in Infrastructure and Landscape Development).