From January 13th to 15th, Equitable Origin convened a meeting in Ecuador’s coastal province of Esmeraldas with leaders and representatives of a number of indigenous groups in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The purpose of the meeting was to consult with indigenous groups of the region on the EO100™ Standard, collect input on the impacts of oil and gas industry activity in the region, and discuss the effects of low oil prices on the responsible production practices.
The meeting began with an introduction by Franco Viteri, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (known by its Spanish acronym, CONFENIAE) introducing attendees to EO. In his introduction, Viteri described the EO100™ Standard as a useful tool for indigenous groups to apply to engagement with oil and gas developers, and emphasized that the Standard had been developed in close collaboration with CONFENIAE and another indigenous umbrella organization, Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA). He also made clear that the EO100™ Standard is never applied to areas where indigenous groups are opposed to oil and/or gas development of any kind, and that indigenous groups' self-determination is a guiding principle for EO's work in the region.
EO President and Co-Founder David Poritz also provided a brief introduction, explaining how the company grew out of his experiences in the Ecuadorian Amazon and personal contact with social and environmental damage done by irresponsible oil and gas developments.
Rene Ortiz, an advisor to EO and former Secretary General of OPEC, gave the keynote presentation at the workshop, offering an analysis of low global crude oil prices. He exolained that a low price for oil should never be a pretext for oil developers to reduce their investments in environmental conservation and social support. Indigenous community representatives in attendance expressed concern that lower prices would lead national oil companies to intensify production at existing oil sites, many of which are located in indigenous territories--a concern shared by EO Co-Founder Manuel Pallares.
The workshop concluded with a close examination and discussion of the EO100™ Standard. EO staff and advisors explained the various principles and guidelines of the Standard, and CONFENIAE representatives offered their input. For information about other recent and upcoming EO100™ consultation workshops, please visit our community workshops page.