Cordillera del Condor - Negotiating a Peace Park

Mediating between Peruvian and Ecudorian leaders, Clinton Presidential Library, Little Rock, Arkansas

The first international peace park idea involving an armed conflict between neighboring countries was in the Cordillera del Condor region between Ecuador and Peru.  This case deserves special recognition as it was the first formal effort in which conservation groups were actively involved in international conflict resolution, and the resultant peace treaty included explicit mention of conservation measures. 

The territorial conflict between Ecuador and Peru stretched back several decades.  In 1995, armed conflict broke out briefly, but a peace treaty signed that year committed both countries to the withdrawal of troops "far" from the disputed zone.  This plan was overseen by four guarantor countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and the United States.  Conservation International, which had been active in biodiversity fieldwork in the region, worked with military officers to push for conservation as a component of peace.  Conservation groups called for a peace park in the disputed zone. 

In 1998, as tensions over border demarcation were threatening to boil over into renewed violence, the presidents of Ecuador and Peru, under pressure from conservation groups, met with President Bill Clinton on October 9, 1998, and asked that the guarantor nations propose a border demarcation.  With U.S. satellite mapping they were able to arrive at an agreement on the border.  As part of the peace treaty that was signed, both countries agreed that the area should be designated for conservation. 

Initially, both Ecuador and Peru established national parks on their respective sides of the new border.  However, in 2000, Conservation International and the International Tropical Timbers Organization partnered with local conservation groups in both countries and with the Chimu indigenous communities to establish a bioregional management regime.  These efforts culminated in 2004 with the creation of the Condor-Kutuku conservation corridor peace park. 

This first test case of comprehensive conflict resolution through conservation, involving a host of organizations, has significantly advanced the awareness and viability of peace park strategies around the world. 

IEDS researchers are developing a detailed case study of the negotiations which led to this agreement. The existing peace park region which is supported through programs by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) is also the subject of an evaluative report to be published in partnership with the United Nations University, Institute for Advanced Study and will be published in January 2011.