The Ecuadorian government has signed two contracts with the China-based Andes Petroleum consortium, to work on the oil blocks known as 79 and 83; blocks that overlap with the territory of the Sápara indigenous peopleFebruary 3, 2016Mongabay
Indigenous leaders from across Ecuador have been coming together in recent years, as oil exploration has ramped up in the Amazon region where many of them live. Last week, they united once again to oppose yet another oil deal that, they say, threatens the existence of the ancestral communities living in the province of Pastaza, located in the easternmost Amazon region of Ecuador, about 300 kilometers southeast of Quito.
“We don’t want oil drilling in our lands,” said Manari Ushigua, one of the most well-known leaders of Ecuador’s tiny Zapara tribe. “Our culture is at risk of disappearing; so is our language and our way of relating to the rainforest.”
Experts say that recognizing the rights of local people and indigenous groups to their traditional forests could be one of the easiest, cheapest and most effective ways to protect standing forests from razing. Many indigenous groups still lack legal tenure to their traditional lands in tropical countries, but where they have secured their rights research often shows that forests are well protected.
They tried talks. They tried letters. They tried protests. But nothing could stop the deal. Ecuador's government sold oil exploration rights in a remote corner of the Amazon rainforest to a consortium of Chinese state-owned oil companies this week, despite dogged resistance from indigenous groups in the South American country who fear they could lose everything.
The ministry said a decision from the federal court in Brasilia lifted the earlier order blocking the beginning of power generation at Belo Monte, which had been planned for the coming weeks.
The burning of trees and animal deaths is only the first stage of a vicious cycle that marks the relationship between Belo Monte and the surrounding forest. Authorized to devastate thousands of hectares, the plant should use the timber for its own purpose or donate it for external use. The entry of large volumes of timber into the local market would help reduce the pressure on the forest. This was the plan, and one of the conditions, for the project's approval. In practice, things turned out very differently.
A Brazilian court has suspended the operating licence for the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, one of the world's largest, just weeks before its owner, Norte Energia, planned to start electricity generation.
World’s fourth largest hydropower plant’s license was suspended weeks before testing turbines because operators failed to compensate local communitiesJanuary 15, 2016The Guardian
"This case sets an important precedent for the defence of indigenous rights in the Amazon at a time when the government is set to repeat the Belo Monte disaster by building dozens of dams on the Tapajós River."
Projects' true costs are being inadequately assessed, say scientistsJanuary 7, 2016Earth Island Journal
Brazil's massive Belo Monte dam, which is due to be completed this year, "may set a record for biodiversity loss" owing to its siting at a location with an exceptional number of endemic species.
The final agreement from the Paris climate talks has been the subject of much controversy regarding the language in the document pertaining to indigenous rights. Any semblance of a legally binding measure pertaining to these rights was omitted from the final agreement that was signed by the governments of 190 countries. The agreement concluded a two-week long process that brought together some of the world's largest corporations, and environmental and human rights organizations, to agree on international energy standards, goals and applications.