El Salvador Government fails on environmental issues

In four years of government and only one away from ending his term, President Mauricio Funes has little to show on environmental matters. So say three experts consulted by Latinamerica Press who believe that no change has occurred compared to previous governments.

“After four years of the Funes government, the environmental situation in El Salvador literally has not changed because all the processes that generate environmental degradation continue to unfold, [they] continue working with a neoliberal economic orientation that makes nature a commodity. This government has done literally nothing worthwhile to avoid the crisis that is incubating,” said the president of the non-governmental organization Salvadoran Ecological Unit (UNES), Angel Ibarra.

Funes came to power in June 2009 with former guerrilla organization Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), defeating the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), which ruled El Salvador for 20 years.

On June 5, 2012, World Environment Day, President Funes, accompanied by his Cabinet, presented the “National Environmental Policy” which guides environmental action of the public and municipal administration and aims to reverse environmental degradation and reduce the country´s vulnerability to climate change.

A year later, in his administrative report presented last June 1 to the Legislative Assembly, Funes stated that “we have made an unprecedented investment to begin to address the serious environmental problems inherited. We strengthened the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) so it can fulfill its broad mandate.”

Funes also used the occasion to ask the legislators to approve the General Water Law which he sent to Congress over a year ago.

“It is a law that is absolutely necessary to achieve water security in our country,” said the president during the reading of his report. ?If the law is approved, water would be considered a national asset and a human right. It would also close doors to any intent to privatize water by making consumption its end use, he explained.

There was, however, no mention of issues such as genetically modified crops, mining or climate change, which according to analysts should be the backbone of the government´s environmental policy.

Source: Tomás Andréu | LA Press