By Kathia Carrillo, communications officer of the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Wampís Nation, Member of the ICCA Consortium.
The oil company Geopark withdrew from Wampis and Achuar territories in Peru after a successful international campaign. However, despite both Indigenous Nations rejecting oil exploitation, other actors are seeking approvals to pursue it. The Autonomous Territorial Government of the Wampis Nation, ICCA Consortium Member, reports on the latest developments.
In a public statement, Petroperú, a state-owned oil company under private law, announced on 16 July 2020 that its partner Geopark had decided to irrevocably withdraw from its contract for oil exploitation in Lot 64 – an area superimposed on Achuar and Wampís territory in the northern Amazon of Peru. The announcement came after the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Wampís Nation (GTANW), a Member of the ICCA Consortium, and Earthrights International jointly filed a criminal complaint against the oil company to prevent it from putting the Wampís communities of the Morona river at risk from contagion during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Petroperú has decided to accept the transfer of the 75% share of the project owned by Geopark, and it will become the sole operator of the lot, pending the approval by a Supreme Decree of the Peruvian government.
The authorities of both Indigenous Nations have repeatedly expressed their opposition to oil exploitation. They have demonstrated their profound commitment to the conservation, respect and care of their territories through territorial, legal and administrative actions against the oil lot, ever since it was carved out of their land in 1995. Beginning in 2014, the Federation of the Achuar Nationality of Peru (FENAP) has carried forward a judicial process against the Peruvian State, asking for the recognition of its integral territory and the annulment of Lot 64, as its creation was without consultation, and it therefore violates the rights of Indigenous peoples according to ILO Convention 169.
When the Wampís Nation and the Achuar del Pastaza Nation decided to coordinate their struggles in 2018, they managed to get Geopark to withdraw the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the “Morona/ Situche Central Project” and suspend the process of seeking an environmental license for its operations. Further, they persuaded the cooperation agency USAID to withdraw funding for the preparation of the Baseline Study for the development of another EIA. The fight against Geopark ended with its irrevocable withdrawal from the project, but the threat of contamination and destruction of indigenous territories continues, as Petroperú and the Peruvian State insist on the development of the oil project.
The Achuar and Wampís nations consider Geopark’s withdrawal from the area as a step forward in the defence of their ancestral territories, but they are resolved to remain vigilant in the face of the continued threat from Petroperú and will continue the fight together until the end of the lot’s very existence.
You can watch the press conference on the case below (in Spanish):
El retiro de GeoPark del Lote 64 y las implicancias para la Amazonía
🔵 EN VIVOEstamos transmitiendo en vivo junto a los líderes Achuar y Wampis y sus organizaciones aliadas, conversando sobre el retiro de GeoPark del Lote 64 y lo que significa para la Amazonía Peruana.
Posted by Gobierno Territorial Autónomo de la Nación Wampís on Wednesday, July 22, 2020
READ MORE: Alert: Oil Company GeoPark Puts Indigenous Wampis at Risk of COVID-19 Contagion and Threatens Territorial Integrity, 8 June 2020.
Featured image: © Pablo Lasansky.
Translation from Spanish: Susan Crosby.