Indigenous Group Formally Requests Adoption of EO100™ Standard by Peruvian Government
The section of the Amazon Jungle in the Peruvian state of Madre de Dios has come to be a focus of international attention as sizable oil and natural gas reserves have made the region the site of likely development activity in the near future. On top of what could be the largest oil and gas reserves in Peru sit natural areas (comprising several national parks and national reserves) that are rich in biodiversity and the ancestral lands of numerous indigenous communities. Concerned about social disruption and environmental damage from oil and gas development, indigenous groups in Madre de Dios contacted EO through the Ecuador-based Indigenous group COICA and requested the company’s help in setting and communicating their expectations for responsible development activities.
The indigenous groups’ outreach led to several EO-organized workshops, at which EO representatives presented the EO100™ Standard for social and environmental performance and how it might guide oil and gas development in the Madre de Dios region. At the most recent workshop in the city of Puerto Maldonado in early November, the indigenous organization AIDESEP (Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana, the Interethnic Association of Development of the Peruvian Jungle) resolved to request that the Peruvian government only allow oil and gas development in the region that met EO100™ standards for social and environmental performance.
AIDESEP sent the request on November 17th, in the form of a letter to the Minister of Energy and Mines (with copies sent to the Minister of Environment, Ministry of Culture, and Vice Minister of Interculturalism). The Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of Environment confirmed receipt of the letter on December 4th.
This sequence of events in southern Peru represents the EO100™ Standard’s utility as an engagement tool to bring together community and government stakeholders: local communities sought information about social and environmental standards, were satisfied with the guidance provided by the EO100™ Standard, and asked their national government to use the Standard as a basis for regulating development activities. If the government honors the request, the EO100™ Standard could be applied to future oil and gas development projects, allowing for developers to integrate EO100™ provisions into their projects at the planning stage and maximize implementation efficiency. AIDESEP’s letter also demonstrates how the EO100™ Standard can be used as a tool for communities near oil and gas development to engage regulators and companies with specific expectations for how development will be conducted.
The final outcome of EO’s collaboration with AIDESEP in Madre de Dios and the group’s petition to the government remains to be seen. But it is clear that in this case, the EO100™ Standard has succeeded in giving a voice to stakeholders with which they can participate in the discussion of how oil and gas resources in their communities will be developed.
Read and download AIDESEP’s original letter here and read the full text, translated from Spanish, below:[well]
Minister of Energy and Mines of Peru
Regarding an issue of our great concern,
In light of the fact that our territories and cultures are under immediate threat from the exploitation of oil and gas resources; and of the fact that the environment that our ancestors have protected for centuries is now essential to all Peruvians; the Interethnic Association on Development of the Peruvian Jungle (AIDESEP), as an umbrella organization of the Indigenous Communities of the Peruvian Amazon, has joined a regional initiative to develop and agree upon social and environmental standards to guarantee that these operations do not leave as their legacy the environmental disasters brought on by petroleum development of the past, as in the unfortunate examples we Peruvians have seen in the areas of the Corrientes, Tigre, Pastaza, and Marañon rivers.
AIDESEP considers any exploitation of hydrocarbon resources that could affect indigenous communities contingent on the guarantee that they will be carried out under the highest existing social and environmental standards. For this reason AIDESEP, in regional coordination with COICA, have together adopted the EO100™ Standard as the norm that should govern the activities of oil and gas companies in indigenous territories.
In consideration of our expressed concerns, we propose to form a working group with you to discuss the ways in which we might implement these standards in pilot projects and verify their fulfillment and benefits.
You will find copies of the resolutions issued by our leaders following meetings to analyze the content of the EO100™ Standard in the regions of Madre de Dios and Loreto. A copy of the EO100™ Standard can be obtained on the Web: http://www.equitableorigin.com/eo100-standard/download/register/
We await your prompt response and the ability the work together to achieve the sought after objective of economic development that does not come at the expense of the lives of indigenous communities and environmental destruction, as this is a priority for all Peruvians.
Alberto Pizango Chota