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INVITATION - Celebrating Conservation: "Hocicón" The First Conservation Area Run by the Ronda Campesina of Peru

Hocion from a distanceWe invite you to celebrate the launch of Hocicón, the first Ronda Campesina Conservation area worldwide, under a new model of conservation through protected areas, administered and managed by this grassroots organization. The event will be held on the 22 of November 2012, starting at 10 am, in the village of Libano, province of Rodriguez de Mendoza, Amazonas.

The Ronda Campesina (Peasant Patrol) is a network of autonomous, civil organizations, aimed at self-protection. They practice vigilance and civil justice in the rural Peruvian countryside where state control is insufficient. It is the largest and most influential grassroots movement inNortheastern Peru. In 2009 the Peruvian Supreme Court recognized the legitimacy and autonomy of the Ronda Campesina to administer justice in a parallel justice system to that administered by the state. This means that the Ronda have the legal power to convert lands in rural areas into conservation areas. The Rondas Campesinas of Amazonas and San Martin regions have demonstrated extraordinary environmental responsibility, confronting environmental issues are that are mostly ignored by the Peruvian government, such as wildlife and land trafficking.

Field trip to Hocicon

The Peruvian state presents itself as an enthusiastic promoter of conservation and public participation in environmental issues, taking pride in legislation that allows private and community conservation. However, the process of legally registering Private Conservation Areas and Conservation Concession is extremely complicated, expensive, slow and difficult, requiring teams of specialists and cost on average 20 to 30 thousand dollars. Additionally, the bureaucratic process is unnecessarily complicated and time consuming, worsened by the inexperience of the officials in charge of these procedures. After completing the arduous process, the Government does not provide any support for the conservation initiators; on the contrary, they require additional reports and economic investments. Therefore, this process is inaccessible to most of the rural population creating inequality and wasting a great opportunity to really improve the environmental situation.

The idea for these reserves was born thanks to the long and successful collaboration between the Ronda Campesina and British NGO Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC). Together we have developed a detailed Instruction Manual for the creation of these conservation areas. The project and its manual were approved in June, 2012 by the National Assembly of the Rondas Campesinas of Peru (CUNARC-P). These conservation areas will be registered with the local, regional and national Ronda bases, which will be in charge of protecting them. Meanwhile NPC will be responsible for mapping and biological inventories in these areas. These reserves have the potential to fill critical gaps in the regional and national protected area system of Peru. Hocicón is an area of 510 ha that has been protected since 2009 by the Ronda Campesina of Libano and surrounding villages. They have decided to recognize this area as the first Ronda run conservation area, aiming to set a positive example of conservation initiatives with low economic outlay and high environmental efficiency. We aim to encourage similar projects and hopefully call the governments attention to the current unnecessarily complicated legislation in the hope that they will simplify procedures as protecting the environment is everyone's responsibility.

The Ronda members of Libano choosing conservation

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