Peru’s role in the global arena

| September 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

 

Peru — its capital, Lima, is shown here — reduced poverty from 55 per cent to 21 per cent between 2007 and 2018 and in the past five years, seven million Peruvians have been lifted out of poverty.

Peru — its capital, Lima, is shown here — reduced poverty from 55 per cent to 21 per cent between 2007 and 2018 and in the past five years, seven million Peruvians have been lifted out of poverty.

In the past two decades, Peru has consistently been regarded as a country with great economic potential and one that has made the most progress in terms of development in South America, having overcome the years in which it was mired by recession, hyperinflation, terrorism and an inefficient bureaucracy.
With the turn of the century, thanks to successful democratic transitions of government and economic reforms that began 25 years ago, Peru has improved its economic performance by applying sound public policies. The conviction that free trade leads to positive impacts has also helped.
In 2017, Peru had a per capita gross national income of US$5,960, positioning the country in the group of upper-middle-income nations.
Successive governments have taken advantage of this continuously positive economic trend and implemented policies to tackle urgent social demands, especially targeting the population living in poverty. In fact, Peru has managed to dramatically reduce the incidence of poverty from 55 per cent to 21 per cent of its population between 2007 and 2018. Moreover, in just five years, 7 million Peruvians have been lifted out of poverty, with monetary poverty having diminished at a rate of 16.8 per cent between 2008 and 2018.
Peru has worked in line with the targets set out by the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and has shown progress in various indexes, including the reduction of chronic malnutrition in children under five years of age, from 18 per cent in 2012 to 13 per cent in 2017; increasing the rate of births attended by qualified health practitioners from 86 per cent in 2012 to 93 per cent in 2017; diminishing the rate of death in children under five years of age from 21 per 1,000 in 2009, to 15 per 1,000 in 2017 and widening the coverage of the basic level of education and of access to potable water.
Public policies have also tackled inequality and the results are clearly laid out in the last issue of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report for Latin America and the Caribbean. The document found that for the period between 2003 and 2013, the Gini coefficient [measuring income inequality, with 0 being a perfect score] had an average annual improvement of -1.67 per cent, a better rate than the Latin American average (-1.13 per cent), and that Peru’s growth in labour productivity per person employed (3.4 per cent) and per hour of work (3.7 per cent) has been one of the highest in Latin America between 2003 and 2013.
Since the 1990s, Peru has implemented significant public service programs, particularly in low-income urban areas. Examples of these programs were the expansion of access to water connections and granting property titles, as well as loans, so that informal settlements could make necessary home improvements.
Moreover, in the past 10 years, Peru has applied an inclusive approach to growth, improving the lives of those in the lowest income tier. Social programs focus on the poorest families and those families now have sufficient resources to invest in their future, assuring that their children — especially girls — go to school every day and have access to health services for vaccinations and checkups.
Still, even with those important steps to combat poverty and achieve sustainable development, there is much to improve. Approximately 70 per cent of Peruvians are employed in the informal sector (one of the highest in Latin America). The country must help them, and close the gap between urban and rural poverty. There are still insufficient investments in the health and education sectors.

Peru in the international arena
Peru has a long-standing tradition of fostering multilateralism as an effective way to deal with global challenges, such as preserving international security and peace, and promoting our cherished values of democracy and the defence of human rights.
I would like to highlight, in particular, two tangible examples of how Peru has effectively worked with international partners in the regional and global arena in the past two years: As a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (2018-2019) and as one of the countries vying to resolve Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis as part of the Lima Group of countries.
The Lima Group came to be in Peru’s capital Aug. 8, 2017, as a flexible mechanism that brought together countries of the hemisphere, including Canada. Together with regional partners, Peru has followed a consistent position in defending and supporting the only democratically elected institution in Venezuela, the National Assembly. As such, and according to Venezuela’s constitution, Peru has recognized Juan Guaidó, chairman of the National Assembly, as the acting president of Venezuela. He is leading a transitional government towards free, fair and transparent elections.
The countries of the Lima Group consider that through various diplomatic and economic measures, enough pressure can be exerted so that the popular demand for democratic change can finally arrive in Venezuela. Peru, as a responsible and empathic neighbour, has welcomed more than 750,000 Venezuelans and has received the biggest number of refugee claimants in the region (reaching 192,500 at the end of 2018, according to the United Nations). Being a first-hand witness to the Venezuelan humanitarian struggle, Peru seeks to end the crisis and allow the return of the diaspora who have been forced out of their country.
Peru has also been actively voicing its concern about the Venezuelan crisis through the Organisation of American States (OAS), and it has even referred it to the International Criminal Court, in a joint action with Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay, asking for an investigation into the alleged commission of crimes against humanity.
In the global sphere, Peruvian diplomacy has actively worked on preventing conflict and attaining sustainable peace with a holistic vision that includes targeting the structural causes of conflict and staying alert to new threats to international peace and security.
At the end of 2019, Peru will conclude its two-year tenure as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council;, the fifth time it has assumed such responsibility since the creation of the United Nations in 1945. During this latest stint, Peru has tried to highlight the close linkage between conflict resolution and economic and social development, and to intensify the debate on the connections between international terrorism and organized crime.
Peru has participated in 22 United Nations missions since 1958 and is the fifth largest provider of troops working on peacekeeping operations in the Americas. Peru has been involved in six peacekeeping missions in recent years, including Haiti (MINUSTAH), which concluded in April 2017, and the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
It has also emphasized the role of youth and women as positive agents of change in all phases of conflict. With 12 per cent of its forces consisting of female peacekeepers, Peru is bound to reach the recommended UN target — 15 per cent — for the deployment of female officers in 2020.
As Peru continues its path to development, new roles are emerging in the international arena. Collaboration with strong and reliable countries, such as Canada, will have a key role, as has been shown in the Venezuelan crisis. However, there are further examples to work on, such as partnering in the provision of co-operation with third countries or what is known as “triangular co-operation,” or joining efforts in the fight to combat and adapt to climate change.
In 2019, as Peru and Canada celebrate the 75th anniversary of having established diplomatic relations, both countries are committed to working closely towards a new and modern vision of our bilateral relations that builds upon the solid and reliable ties that we have achieved to this point.

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