News / 7 October 2014

FARN’s hard work results in round table meeting

Whenever deforestation is mentioned, most people will automatically think of the Amazon rainforest. In Argentina, however, the disappearance of its forests has also become a pressing problem. In the province of Salta, for example, the deforestation level is the highest. Between 1998 and 2006, the amount of lost hectares of forests has doubled there. The culprit to this problem is the country’s agricultural activities.

Affected local communities

The clearing of forests has had negative effects on Argentina’s local and indigenous communities. Illegal deforestation has also become a problem. In 2007, the Native Forests Act was supposed to be the solution. Of course, this is what should be expected of a bill backed by civil society and one and a half million signatures! The Native Forests Act included measures to protect forests inhabitated by indigenous people and small-scale farmers, like public hearings and environmental impact studies. However, to this day, local communities have not yet seen any visible positive effects of this bill. Because of a lack of effective controls and penalties, illegal land-clearing and logging, forest fires and property recategorising have been taking place as well. In other words, there are no benefits to be reaped by the local population.


FARN: bringing together civil society and government

The Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN), one of our Argentinian partnerorganisations, is fighting against illegal deforestation in Argentina. It has recently organised a multi-sectoral round table with civil society organisations and government officials to discuss the issue.  Fortunately, FARN does not stand alone in its fight against deforestation. The Ecosystem Alliance, of which Both ENDS is partner, has helped FARN with two reports on the situation in the province Salta: Territorial planning of Native Forests in Salta and Native Forests in Salta are not in order. These have been submitted to national and provincial authorities during formal meetings, and have contributed to FARN’s advocacy power. Though the roundtable meeting was definitely a success, FARN still feels that the government has not done enough, and will therefore continue to lobby for its cause.


What does Both ENDS do?

Of course, Both ENDS will not stand on the sidelines. Leonie Wezendonk: “Both ENDS wants to continue supporting FARN in its struggle against deforestation, by using Participatory Land Use Planning (PLUP). We hope to use this approach in other areas as well. With PLUP, community maps are made together with local people, showing which land belongs to them. By having extensive talks with investors and local authorities, Both ENDS and the communities can push for better rules to protect their rights. PLUP empowers local communities so that they have a rightful say in the decision-making process over their land and resources.”

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