Photo exhibit on the "Sustainable Development on the Rio Santiago" Project
Inaugural meeting reports progress on work in the zone
Lima, April 2008 - At a ceremony with the participation of Vice Minister of Foreign Relations Gonzalo Gutiérrez, Ambassador of Finland Pekka Orpana, Bi-National Plan Ambassador and Executive Director, José Antonio Arróspide and UNICEF Representative for Peru Guido Cornale, the first photographic exhibit on the Sustainable Human Development Project on the Rio Santiago was inaugurated.
Finnish Ambassador Orpana stated that the government of his country has been firmly supporting the project’s work in Peru’s Province of Condorcanqui, Amazonas, “because improving the level of development of these populations living on the Peru-Ecuador border guarantees a lasting peace. Thanks to joint efforts with UNICEF, the project provides support in themes of health, education and human rights, and strengthens local institutions for guaranteeing their sustainability.”
In turn, UNICEF’s Cornale pointed out that it is important to publicize the progress being made in a zone that is “so isolated, with dispersed populations living under very difficult conditions and without rapid access to the most basic services. That’s why working with organizations from the region has been the key to moving forward and achieving results.”
Since 2002, the Peruvian chapter of the Bi-National Plan for the Development of the Peru-Ecuador Border Region, the Republic of Finland and UNICEF have been executing this project in the Santiago River Basin, where 56 Aguaruna and Huambisa communities live in conditions of extreme poverty and exclusion. The achievements made up to the present are encouraging, and include an increase in prenatal controls from 56% in 2002 to 80.8% in 2006 (in Peru the national average is 91%); achievement of 100% coverage of vaccination against tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus and hepatitis B; and a decline in school grade repetition, from 26% in 2002 to 7% in 2007.
Vice-Minister Gutiérrez stressed that the photographic exhibit’s images succeed effectively link the theme of peace with human development, and offer “a tangible example of how relations between Peru and Ecuador have become closer in recent years”. For his part the Bi-National Plan’s Ambassador and Executive Director Arróspide affirmed that this work, begun in 2002, “has been performed from an inter-cultural and gender perspective, with emphasis on promoting rights, with the central purpose of improving the quality of life of human beings living in the border areas.”