Header photo: gold mining in Madre de Dios in Peru. © Dan Laffay

Environmental defenders in Madre de Dios

Peru is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for environmental defenders, ranking ninth in the 2021 Global Witness report. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, seventeen environmental defenders have been killed, of which two in Madre de Dios.

This Amazonian region is located in the southeast of Peru, and is one of the world´s most biodiverse regions. Madre de Dios has around 3.8 million hectares of protected natural areas and is home to seven Indigenous groups. But it is also the epicenter of illegal mining and other harmful activities representing a serious threat to biodiversity and Indigenous peoples. Environmental defenders stand strong for both.

The information the project will develop contributes to build bottom-up proposals and tools for implementing public policy that truly aligns with the situation of environmental defenders.

PIDDA: strengthening environmental defenders

The project Inclusive Protection of Environmental Defenders in the Amazon (PIDDA for its Spanish acronym) aims to improve the national protection system, being developed since 2018, for environmental defenders by strengthening their leadership and filling the information gap about their situation. A key objective of the project is guaranteeing the defenders’ access to rights applying an intercultural and gender approach.

Together with our Peruvian partner Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDS), we will therefore produce desegregated information on Indigenous peoples, especially women and youth, their environmental rights and their rights to access to information, participation and justice. This information will contribute to build bottom-up proposals and tools for implementing public policy that truly aligns with the situation of environmental defenders.

In addition, we will produce gender and intercultural-sensitive data to elaborate specific tools that will improve the mechanisms for the protection and participation of environmental defenders in decision-making and guarantee their rights of access to information, participation and justice.

How do we support environmental defenders in Madre de Dios?

  • We analyse the access to rights of journalists, communicators and women environmental defenders. A deep understanding of their situation enables us to truly support them.
  • We strengthen the leadership skills of women and young environmental defenders and support security and other capacity issues.
  • We make their stories visible among a broader public by strengthening the Network of Indigenous Communicators in Peru. In addition, through SPDA, we develop and disseminate information materials about and for environmental defenders.
  • We present information to the Peruvian government to improve the institutional conditions for the protection of environmental defenders and guarantee their access rights.
  • We develop a roadmap based on lessons learnt from the project to serve as a tool for institutions to strengthen their policy and improve their actions in other contexts, emphasising the gender and intercultural perspective.

Working with local partners

For our project activities to have a true impact for environmental defenders in Madre de Dios, we work closely together with local organisations, groups and individuals. Through our project partner SPDA, we work with two community-based organisations: FENAMAD (Federación Nativa del Río Madre de Dios y Afluentes) and CDG (Comité de Gestión de la Reserva Nacional Tambopata).

More information?

Liliana Jauregui
Liliana Jauregui
Senior Expert Environmental Justice
Carolina Valladares
Expert Environmental Justice