Sustainable Infrastructure in the Amazon: Peru Country Case Study

Peru is often referred to as an Andean country, but 60 percent of its territory is in the Amazon rainforest. The Peruvian Amazon holds a wealth of resources: forest cover, waterways and biodiversity, minerals and agricultural products, and ecosystem services, among others. However, a host of governance, security, and infrastructure challenges have created strains on the forest. Sadly, since 1990, the Peruvian Amazon has been steadily deforested by licit and illicit enterprises like agriculture, cattle ranching, coca cultivation, gold mining, infrastructure projects, and logging. However, deforestation cannot be confined to an environmental lens, since it is also emblematic of broader vulnerabilities in Peru’s rule of law, security, and governance. Introducing infrastructure development into this already complex picture also increases those risks. The best way for infrastructure to serve the Amazon would be to first craft a sustainable development plan for the region and then to embed infrastructure projects into this plan. This plan should target economic activities that can provide meaningful alternatives to informality and illegality and should address the conditions needed to enable development, such as rule of law and effective governance. Infrastructure plans will need to be redesigned and embedded in this vision in order to avoid exacerbating existing challenges.

This project was made possible by generous support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Romina Bandura
Senior Fellow, Project on Prosperity and Development, Project on U.S. Leadership in Development

Owen Murphy