The Peruvian system of protected areas, developed recently, is still in the process of consolidation.
Forty-eight years after the designation of the first national park in Peru, there are now 63 protected
areas at the national level and 20 regional or private protected areas. However, sustainable and efficient
management is still far from being achieved. At the institutional level, progress is very recent. It was
only in 2008 that protected areas, formerly part of the agriculture ministry portfolio, were placed under
the authority of a newly created ministry in charge of the environment. Within this ministry, the National
Service for Natural Protected Areas has been established. This is a major opportunity to strengthen at
long last a system which has always faced a number of threats: illegal logging and mining; land use
conversion for agricultural, livestock and forestry purposes; and constant encroachment by human
settlements. These threats constitute a major challenge for the Protected Areas Service. It is at the
same time faced with the challenge of building and implementing an efficient management model
that is consistent with national development strategies and helps to ensure a paradigm shift so that
protected areas are not perceived as a liability or a burden in the political and economic decisionmaking
process. Public budgets for protected areas remain low and inadequate, and as long as these
areas are not perceived as assets, budgets are not likely to increase.
The decentralization and governance process in Peru is another new development, and one that is
also relevant for protected areas. Sub-national, private and community-based protected areas have
been established only recently. Marine, coastal and transboundary protected areas are still pending
business; while some interesting initiatives have been launched, binding political decisions and further
regulatory measures are required.