A green future for Madre de Dios: Tahuamanu moves towards sustainable development

Posted on 09 July 2018
WWF Perú
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  • The Municipality of Tahuamanu is the first in the region to have an agenda that prioritizes sustainability.
During the last fifteen years, Madre de Dios has lost more than 160,000 hectares of forest. Although Madre de Dios is considered Peru's capital of biodiversity, it is also recognized as one of the regions most devastated by illegal and informal mining. However, where the overexploitation of resources and the economy of crime has prevailed over the years, seeds of hope have begun to grow for sustainable development.
Tahuamanu, one of the three provinces of Madre de Dios, is committed to conserving its resources through the strengthening of its forestry concessions and fish farms that supply the main markets of the region, and the promotion of good practices in the agricultural sector. This way, it seeks to be recognized at a national level for the sustainable use of its natural wealth.
In the forests of Tahuamanu, a province that occupies 24.85% of the department of Madre de Dios, are found the headwaters of the most important rivers in southeastern Peru that flow to Brazil and Bolivia. Also, the pristine forests and water courses of a good part of Alto Purús National Park, a protected area of ​​extreme biodiversity inhabited by native communities of various Amazonian ethnic groups and indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation and initial contact. It has also been recognized as the province with the largest number of forests with voluntary forest certification, adding over half a million protected hectares. The other two provinces, Manu and Tambopata, are recognized for the beauty and importance of their protected natural areas (Manu, Tambopata, Bahuaja-Sonene, Amarakaeri).
Green development agenda 
However, Madre de Dios, which could be a natural paradise, faced a challenging context. The illegal extraction of gold and the deforestation endanger the forest. In the last two decades, this department has faced a strong increase in these extractive activities. As a consequence, even the Tambopata National Reserve has been invaded by thousands of artisanal gold miners, that destroy the green areas and generate criminal activities in the surroundings. In Tahuamanu, the deforestation has increased due to the change of land use for agriculture and, for that reason, producers cut down trees, burn them and then use those lands for their crops.

The recent approval of the Concerted Local Development Plan 2018-2030 and the Crossed Agenda for Green Development 2018-2021, has marked a milestone in the struggle to stop this problem. This document of strategic planning, which involved multiple sectors, such as education, health, infrastructure, social equity, and use of natural resources has had the technical support of WWF-Peru.
"We have opted for the establishment of strategic alliances with cooperating sources and institutions of the national government, promoting a coherent development of the goals established by the Peruvian State. This way, we wish for the forests of our province to remain standing, and at the same time to benefit the local populations, "said Alfonso Cardozo, Provincial Mayor of Tahuamanu.

This new agenda sets the goals for reducing deforestation by 50% by 2030 in the province, defined in a participative manner, and will allow the protection of 1,920,578 hectares of forest.
The commitment is between the population and the authorities. "In Tahuamanu, most of the activities revolve around the use of natural resources and, therefore, we have promoted some tools to guarantee their conservation. Concrete actions have been proposed to make Tahuamanu and its capital a sustainable province model, in compliance with environmental standards and above all where the human being is positioned as the main actor", said Alfonso Cardozo.
Regarding this, the Municipality of Tahuamanu, located in the city of Iñapari, has opted for the creation of a network of local forests that integrate tourism and recreation. Also, the development of an aggressive public works plan -water, sewage, solid waste treatment- that improves the quality of life of the population as a whole, and that serves to involve them in an urban "good living" that will be learned in the house and the school. This new road map will guide Tahuamanu, in the face of climate change, towards sustainable development.
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