We are excited to announce that ELAW partner Carlos Soria has been named Secretary General of the Peruvian National Protected Areas Service (SERNANP). Previously, Carlos was a graduate professor at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and a Consultant at Instituto del Bien Común (IBC) in Lima.
ELAW has worked with Carlos to protect the Peruvian Amazon since 2001.We have helped Carlos call on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to protect the Cacataibo and their traditional lands from oil prospecting. We have also worked with Carlos to protect World Heritage Sites from global warming.
I am thrilled to see such a strong, committed advocate for the environment as head of the SERNANP. As Secretary General, Carlos hopes to increase transparency, citizen participation, and respect for indigenous peoples in decisions about the environment. He also hopes to prevent conflict. Rather than creating islands of conservation, Carlos seeks to integrate conservation and economic development by working with citizens, NGOS, local governments, and, in some cases, the private sector to increase sustainable use of resources. I believe that this inclusive approach will help encourage environmental protection in the years to come.
One aspect of the SERNANP that I find particularly exciting is the agency’s Virtual Library. From my work at ELAW, I have come to see that one of the biggest problems citizens around the world face is a lack of resources and access to information. The Virtual Library helps to solve that problem for the citizens of Peru. All research produced for the SERNANP will be available online. Unlike before, when research would just sit on the shelf, out of the hands of community members, the agency will now require consultants to prepare a digital version of the results to post to the Virtual Library. Having access to this information will be an asset to community members throughout Peru.
I am eager to see Carlos take on this new position and enact positive change in Peru. All of us at ELAW know that he will do his best to increase conservation and sustainable use of Peru’s valuable natural resources.