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The Republic of Peru is a large (1,285,216 km²) country located on the central western coast of South America, facing the Pacific Ocean along a 3079,5 km long coastline, and sharing borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile.

The massive Andes Mountain range runs north-south, parallel to the Pacific Ocean, dividing the country into three distinct natural regions: the coastal zone (Costa) to the west, the Andean highlands (Sierra), and the Eastern lowlands and Amazon rainforest (Selva). The Costa is a narrow, mostly arid coastal plain, occasionally interrupted by valleys created by seasonal rivers, that covers 11.7% of the territory. The Andean highlands include the Altiplano plateau as well as the country’s highest peaks (over 6,000m asl). The Eastern lowlands comprise almost 60% of the country’s area and are covered by Amazon tropical forests.

The country’s tropical latitude, its mountain ranges, and the influence of the Humboldt ocean current and El Niño Southern Oscillation create a wide diversity of climates. Broadly, the coastal region has a semi-arid, subtropical desert climate, and the northern portion has a more semi-tropical climate. Temperature and humidity in the Sierra diminish with elevation up to the frozen peaks of the Andes. The rainy season typically lasts from September to March (although it can start as late as December), with a dry, cold season from May to August. The northern Andes are subject to frosts, while the southern Andes are prone to droughts. The eastern lowlands and Amazon rainforest have a tropical climate, with high temperatures and heavy rainfall throughout the year, except for its southernmost portion, which has cold winters and seasonal rainfall.

Peru holds 4% of the world’s freshwater in its 12,201 lakes and ponds, 1,007 rivers and 3,044 glaciers. Most rivers originate in the Andes and drain into one of three major hydrographic basins. Peru's longest rivers are the Ucayali, Marañón, Putumayo, Yavarí, Huallaga, Urubamba, Mantaro, and of course, the Amazon River. Lake Titicaca, shared between Peru and Bolivia, is the largest lake in South America.

Peru is a unitary presidential republic. The country is divided into 24 departments plus the Constitutional Province of Callao and the independent Province of Lima, the country's capital city [1].

Important National Context

With an estimated total population of 33,035,304 inhabitants (49.6% men, 50.4% women) and 25.7 inhabitants per square kilometer (as of 2021), Peru is the fifth most populous country in the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region. The population is still growing but at a declining rate (1% estimated annual growth rate for the 2020–2025 period) and is projected to reach over 39 million inhabitants by 2050 [2], [3]

The spatial distribution of the population is highly uneven. About 57.7% of the country’s population live in the Costa region (30% of them in the Province of Lima), which comprises only 11.7% of the territory; 28% in the Sierra, and the remaining 14.3% in the Selva, with comprises 60% of the country’s area. Peru has been experiencing a rapid urbanization process since the last century as a result of population growth in cities and rural-to-urban migration. As of 2017, 78.8% of the population lived in urban zones and 21.2% in rural areas. Major cities include the Lima-Callao metropolitan area (home to over 10.1 million people in 2017), Piura, La Libertad, Arequipa, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Iquitos, Cusco, Chimbote, and Huancayo; all with more than 250,000 inhabitants [2], [3].

With a 2019 UNDP’s Human Development Index value of 0.777 and a Gross National Income per capita of $6,010 (as of 2020), Peru is regarded as a high human development, upper-middle income country. Peru is the world’s largest single-species fisheries producer (anchovies) and has huge reserves of ores (the LAC’s largest gold producer and the world’s third largest copper producer) and hydrocarbons.

After the political instability and economic decline of the 1980s, the economy experienced a radical transformation, showing an unprecedented expansion since the early 2000’s. The GDP grew steadily at a 5.1% average annual growth rate over the 2001–2019 period. Despite an economic slowdown since 2014, the GDP still grew by an estimated 2.2% in 2019, well above the regional average. Perú is now one of the best performing economies in LAC. As of 2019, the services sector accounted for 49% of Peru’s GDP, followed by manufacturing (12.8%), extractive industries (12.1%, including minerals, oil, and gas), trade (10.4%), construction (5.9%), and agriculture (5.4%, including crops, livestock raising, forestry, and hunting). The unemployment rate fell gradually from 4.88% of the total labour force in 2005 to 3.38% in 2019.

Thanks to the strong economic growth, poverty was dramatically reduced over the last 15 years. Monetary poverty decreased from 55.6% in 2005 to 20.9% in 2019, while extreme poverty decreased from 15.8% in 2005 to 2.9% in 2019. However, social inequality remains: poverty is still three times larger in rural (40.8% in 2019) than in urban (14.6% in 2019) zones, and extreme poverty is now a mostly rural issue (9.8% rural vs. 1.0% urban in 2019).

Unfortunately, with over 1.9 million confirmed cases and more than 67,000 deaths as of May 2021, Peru is one of the countries of the region and the world most seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the public health crisis, the pandemic has had profound socioeconomic impacts, including massive job losses due to strict confinement measures, food insecurity, and declines in access to quality education and health. The unemployment rate climbed up to 7.4%, GDP contracted by 11.1%, and poverty is estimated to have risen to 32.6% in 2020. Almost an entire decade of progress in prosperity and poverty reduction vanished [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12].

Access to electricity and telecommunication and internet services in Peru is highly determined by the availability of infrastructure and geographic characteristics, as much as by the people’s capacity to afford such services. Thanks to the vigorous economic growth of the last 15 years, access to electricity in Peru has increased to 98.3% (100% vs. 92.5% in urban vs. rural areas), the penetration of cellular phone services has increased to 131.8 subscriptions per every 100 people, and 55% of the population were using the internet by 2018.

Innovation and science and technology development in Peru are still incipient. This limited capacity for innovation seems to be due, first, to most businesses being micro and small enterprises, most of which are short-lived and have low productivity, with little incentives for innovation. Secondly, to the scarcity of highly qualified human resources in the country [6], [9], [10].

Due to its geographic location and topography, Peru is highly exposed to the occurrence of floods, droughts, and landslides. In addition, the frequency, severity, and impact of these hazards is exacerbated by El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. Moreover, Peru is located near the zone of convergence of the Nazca and the South American tectonic plates, which poses seismic and volcanic activity risks.

Thus, Peru is one of the Latin American countries most often and severely affected by natural disasters. A total of 86,122 emergencies were recorded between 2003 and 2019, including heavy rains, wildfires, extreme cold spells, strong winds, and earthquakes. These events affected 2,004,590 people and left 254,308 households destroyed and other 17,698,313 damaged, particularly in the Apurímac, Huancavelica, and Lima departments. The coastal ENSO of 2016-2017 caused torrential rains and floods that left 169 deaths, over 283,000 people displaced, and more than 1,600,000 people affected, as well as significant damages on public health, transport, and education systems, particularly in the north and central Costa region.

Estimates indicate that approximately 63% of the population are in a situation of vulnerability to natural disasters. These hazards disproportionately impact the poorest population, which often resides in areas more exposed to natural hazards, including rural populations that depend on subsistence farming and artisanal fishermen.

Perú has recently gone through a series of political conflicts. Since July 2016 when president elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski took office, there have been five presidents. After evidence surfaced of his involvement in a vote-buying scandal, President Kuczynski faced impeachment and resigned on 21 March 2018. First Vice President Martin Alberto Vizcarra Cornejo was sworn in as president immediately after and he dissolved Peru's Congress in September 2019. A new, opposition-led, congress was elected on January 2020, which impeached President Vizcarra Cornejo in November 2020 and removed him from office upon accusations of corruption and mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the President of the Peruvian Congress, Manuel Merino, took office as Peru’s new president, new massive public protests arose that led to his resignation just one week later. Francisco Sagasti took office as new President of Peru on 17 November 2020, one day after being appointed President of the Congress. Finally, Mr. Pedro Castillo won the general election of July 2021 and took office as the most current president of Peru [1], [9], [13], [14], [15], [16].

Environmental Governance

Peru’s current environmental policy and regulatory framework includes the 1993 constitution, which states that natural, renewable and non-renewable, resources belong to the nation, and obliges the State to conserve biological diversity. The 2004 National Environmental Management System Framework Law [17], is aimed to ensure the effective fulfilment of the environmental objectives of government bodies and to strengthen the environmental institutional framework. The 2005 General Environment Act [18] governs, through the National System for Environmental Management (SNGA), the environmental management regulatory framework. The National Environmental Policy [19] is the principal instrument of environmental management. There are also numerous specific regulations and laws governing biodiversity use and conservation, protected areas, noise, water, forests and wildlife, e-waste, payment for ecosystem services, land use planning, etc. all integrated into the SNGA.

The Ministry of the Environment (MINAM, for its acronym in Spanish), created in 2008, is the government institution primarily responsible for formulating and implementing the country's environmental policy. Together with the National Protected Areas Service (SERNANP) and the Agency for Environmental Assessment and Enforcement (OEFA) they form the core of Peru’s environmental sector.

Over the last decade, MINAM has been leading a decentralisation process aimed to transfer environmental management responsibilities from the national government to local authorities in order to modernise and make environmental management more effective. As part of this process, several new technical agencies were created to manage specific environmental themes; these include the National Water Authority (ANA), the Agency for Supervision of Forest Resources and Wildlife (OSINFOR), the National Forestry and Wildlife Service (SERFOR), the National Service of Environmental Certification for Sustainable Investments (SENACE), and the National Institute for Research on Glaciers and Mountain Ecosystems (INAIGEM).

The Government of Peru has also formulated and adopted national strategies and public policies including the National Climate Change Strategy, the Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement, the National Adaptation Program on Climate Change, and the National Biodiversity Strategy, among others.

Despite the comprehensive policy and regulatory framework currently in place, their implementation, enforcement, and compliance are still deficient [8], [9], [10], [19]. Main causes of this deficiency include the insufficient resources and technical capacities of local governments for performing environmental management work and overseeing and enforcing compliance with environmental regulations in their jurisdictions. Also, data and information on some critical environmental issues (e.g., hazardous waste generation and management, air quality) are scarce or inexistent, hampering their monitoring, oversight, and regulation. This is particularly critical given the recent decentralisation and the predominantly command-and-control character of Peru’s environmental regulatory framework [1], [8], [9].

National context alignement with the EU Green Deal

The EU and Peru are key partners on several global environmental and climate change commitments [20]. Most of the Priority Objectives (OP) envisioned in the latest version of Peru’s National Environmental Policy [19] are fully consistent with the aims of the EU’s focus on prioritizing climate action consistent with the Paris Accord, and with its Biodiversity and Forest Strategies. In particular: OP1 Improved conservation of species and genetic diversity; OP2 Reduced deforestation and degradation of terrestrial ecosystems; OP3 Reduced water, air, and soil pollution; OP7 Improved environmental performance of production-consumption chains with a circular economy approach; and OP8 Reduced GHG emissions.

Peru is striving to transition to an inclusive green growth model, adopting a circular approach, made evident through the development of the Ministry of Environment’s Guidelines for Green Growth (2016), the Climate Change Framework Law (2018), and the EU-supported Roadmap towards a Circular Economy in the Industry Sector (2020). The circular transition has been identified as one possible priority area for future cooperation between the EU and Peru. Partnership under this priority area will actively contribute to successful green and sustainable economic development and growth. Other priority areas for EU-Peru cooperation include human development and social inclusion, and governance and rule of law [20].

Key Environmental-Development Challenges

As recently identified by the National Environmental Policy [19], Peru’s priority environmental issues are those related to the loss of biological diversity, degradation of environmental quality, and natural and anthropogenic hazards under a changing climate.


[1] Ministerio del Ambiente 2021. Informe Nacional sobre el Estado del Ambiente 2019.

[2] Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática. Retrieved October 2021

[3] Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática. 2018. Perú: Crecimiento y distribución de la población total, 2017

[4] UNDP-Human Development Index Retrieved September 2021

[5] Perú: Sistema de monitoreo y seguimiento de los indicadores de los objetivos de desarrollo sostenible. Retrieved October 2021

[6] World Bank Data. Retrieved September 2021

[7] World Bank Poverty Data Retrieved September 2021

[8] OECD/Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean 2018. Environmental Performance Reviews: Peru 2017. OECD, Paris

[9] Naciones Unidas – Perú. 2021. Análisis Común de las Naciones Unidas en el Perú (draft).

[10] IDB Country Strategy with Peru (2017-2021)

[11] World Bank 2021. Poverty & Equity Brief – Peru, October 2021

[12] Díaz-Cassou, J.,Deza, M.C., Moreno, K. 2020. Perú: Desafíos del Desarrollo en post COVID-19. Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo.

[13] World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal

[14] Ministerio del Ambiente. 2019. SEGUNDO INFORME BIENAL DE ACTUALIZACIÓN ante la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático

[15] CIA-The World Factbook. Retrieved September 2021

[16] INDECI 2020. Compendio estadístico 2020.

[17] Ley Marco del Sistema Nacional de Gestión Ambiental 2004

[18] Ley General del Ambiente 2005

[19] Ministerio del Ambiente 2021. Política Nacional del Ambiente al 2030

[20] European Commission 2021. MULTI-ANNUAL INDICATIVE PROGRAMME (MIP) PERU 2021-2027.