Advocacy case study - cement factory_ Peru by hjkuiw354

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									                         Tearfund Advocacy case study
                  Stopping pollution by a cement factory - Peru


Background                                                         day and these pollute the air in the
Segunda Jerusalen is a town of 8,000 people                        local community and for miles around,
situated in the high jungle area near Rioja,                       threatening other communities and
northern Peru. Directly across the road from                       ecosystems as well.
the town is a cement factory. The was                         -    the community also claims that their
privatised in 1998 and the German firm that                        water is polluted and causing ill health
bought it received various incentives because the                  in the population.
government is keen to encourage investment                    -    the factory employs 300 people, few of
and development in the jungle areas.                               whom are from Segunda Jerusalen and
                                                                   most of whom come from the big
Part of the agreement in purchasing it was that                    towns of the region.
the factory could use the surrounding area as                 -    the price of the cement is the same as it
raw materials for cement production. This                          is in the rest of the country, so the local
meant dynamiting the nearby hillside to gather                     people get few tangible benefits from
rocks and also to find lime and clay, which are                    the presence of the factory, but can see
all needed for the factory.                                        the negative effects it brings.

To encourage environmental responsibility,                Coalition building and intimidation
every factory is required by law to undertake a           Confronted with this situation, in early 2000,
full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of             Tearfund Partner Peace and Hope, together
the potential environmental consequences of its           with Segunda Jerusalen, met with local
operations before starting to work, and ensure            journalists, ecological experts from the
that it has a fund available to mitigate all of the       university and local technical experts and agreed
harmful effects. They are also required to                to launch a campaign to expose the actions of
present this assessment to the community for              the factory and to try and make them abide by
agreement before proceeding with their                    the law. However, after 2 weeks of planning
operations.                                               everyone apart from Peace and Hope and those
                                                          from Segunda Jerusalen stopped coming to
Action by the factory                                     meetings. The journalists and technical experts
They paid a consultant to undertake this EIA.             had been paid by the factory to keep quiet. The
The potential damaging consequences which                 university, which receives some sponsorship
were reported included deforestation, noise,              from the factory, was threatened with
contamination of waterways (particularly by               withdrawal of funds if it was involved in the
Sulphur), and altering the aesthetics of the              campaign.
surrounding area. The report suggested ways to
test whether these things had happened (in                Working with the authorities
particular, contamination of the water supply)            Peace and Hope also spoke to the national
and plans to mitigate any negative                        government about their concerns over
consequences. However, the document was                   environmental damage and were asked to give a
presented in the capital Lima and, until now, has         demonstration of how the area is being polluted.
not been presented to the community. Nor                  However, at the moment, they have only the
have any of the plans to mitigate the damaging            community’s views to go by, and no concrete
effects been implemented, nor does the factory            scientific evidence.
have funds set aside to do so. It was therefore
breaking the law on how to treat the                      Throughout this process, Peace and Hope,
environment and local communities.                        worked specifically with the mayor of Segunda
                                                          Jerusalen and the local municipality to help them
Negative impacts of the factory                           understand what powers and rights they had.
   -   as well as the damage caused by                    (Most mayors have few resources and are largely
       blowing up parts of the hillside, the              unaware of the role expected of them and of
       factory emits fumes for much of the                powers given to them). The community and


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local authorities gradually started to run their         connected with the factory are now seen by the
own campaign. The municipality formed a desk             regional authority as the main environmental
for the environment and for advocacy work.               issue to address. They have therefore more
The mayor then approached the factory and                chance of being taken to the national level,
asked that it use its funds (which, by law, should       which is important as the national government
have been set apart) for reforestation projects in       have greater powers over the factory.
the area, to mitigate the destruction of forests
through dynamiting for raw materials. The                This success has also convinced the factory that
factory refused and said it had no funds for this,       it needs to speak with the mayor on the
and refused to speak any more to the mayor.              environmental issues.

Change of tactics                                        Ongoing plans
The local authority then altered their line of             -   the community and their partner
attack. They learned (through the help of Peace                organisations plan to strengthen their
and Hope) that all businesses in the local area                coalition and to work with the regional
are required to pay another tax - annual tax to                government to lobby the national
local government for the development of local                  government. The national government
infrastructure. The factory had only ever paid                 has the power to hold the factory to
about $600 as a one off payment. Gaining                       account for its negative environmental
confidence due to a batter understanding of the                impacts, to force the factory to change
law and of his powers, the mayor asked to see                  some of its operations and to ensure
the factory’s records to see the size of their                 that any negative consequences are
turnover. He discovered that they had been                     mitigated.
falsifying accounts (to the national government)           -   Peace and Hope also plan to bring in
and owed annually around 20 times what they                    technical experts to study the effects of
had been paying.                                               the factory on the water supply, air
                                                               quality, local ecosystems and on health,
Results                                                        so that any future actions by the
The threat of repercussions due to falsifying                  factory to mitigate its impact are based
accounts was greater that the threat of                        on good scientific evidence.
punishment for not having an EIA and the                   -   the mayor will continue to ensure that
factory agreed to pay the mayor for local                      the factory pays its local tax for
infrastructure development. In 2001 the local                  infrastructure development.
community received the money owed to it, and               -   the community also plans to lobby the
they were able to build a water purifying plant                factory to reduce the price of cement
and a pump so that they could, for the first time,             and to provide some jobs for them, as
have clean water pumped to their village. The                  a way of contributing to local
mayor now plans to ensure that this tax is paid                economic development.
each year to help with community development
projects. The publicity surrounding the factory          Key advocacy learning points
ensures that the factory cannot hide from its            - Detailed research is needed
financial responsibility any more.                       - Work with local government to help them
                                                           function properly
Building stronger alliances                              - Strong coalition mean that the issues were
However, the environmental problems have still             addressed at different levels
not been addressed. In fact, concerns have               - Good use of awareness raising to shame
grown as this new source of the water for the              companies into changing bad practice
community is very close to the area that is being        - Awareness of laws enabled campaigners to
dynamited for raw materials.                               exert appropriate pressure
                                                         - Bringing things out into the open brought
One positive result is that these actions and the          about change quickly
ongoing awareness raising in the press has raised        - Advocacy needs to happen at various levels
the profile of the problem and a number of new             and choosing the right one is essential
groups have joined the campaign, including
environmental groups and the regional                    Graham Gordon, April 2002
government. The environmental issues                     graham.gordon@tearfund.org


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