“We need an answer now. Will an independent report on the contamination and necessary remediation of our territories be guaranteed or not?“ insisted Aurelio Chino Dahua, President of the indigenous federation FEDIQUEP last Sunday night during the latest session of the Committee for Development of the Corrientes, Pastaza, Tiger and Maranon river basins.
Independent Study for the Remediation
For months now the Committee will not consider the demand of the four indigenous federations that the state guarantees an independent study on the environmental impacts of the oil exploitation in the four river basins. The government representatives are referring now to a study recently released by OEFA, the Peruvian environmental control body. The indigenous federations consider that this study does not convene all the aspects of the damages caused by the contamination. Instead they presented the recommendations of an independent experienced group of scientists that include prevention, remediation and other measures.
The atmosphere heated up more at the end of an insupportable hot Amazonian day, and the arguments of the technicians of the Commission could not hold any longer.
A Matter of Trust
Vladimir Huaroc, direct representative of Prime Minister, surprisingly attended the Commission’s session. He stepped in to alleviate the growing tension: “The indigenous federations are right, this is neither a technical nor a legal debate, and it is a matter of trust and finding ways to restore the confidence between the Peruvian state and the indigenous communities. Therefore this demand requires a political decision that this Commission is not entitled to make“. Huaroc proposed a meeting between the prime minister and the federations at the end of November in Lima.
The meeting is scheduled few days before Peru will be dressing up for the highly significant international conference on climate change, the United Nations COP20 starting on December 1st in Lima. Will this meeting mean a breakthrough or will it be just a media stunt?
PeruPetro’s announcement that the new bid on oil block 192 (ex-1AB) will be launched around the 15th of December (El Comercio, 7/11/2014) almost provoked the suspension of the meeting. The indigenous federations are concerned that PeruPetro might break the agreement signed in 2013 stating that no new bidding would be launched before the solutions are found for the 43 years of oil contamination. So far the federations only received an oral clarification that the new bid is not on the agenda, and are still waiting for a public rectification from PeruPetro.
Thursday, 13 November 2014