Speakers at the AIDESEP press conference in Lima, Peru on March 24. Left to right: EO Co-Founder Manuel Pallares, AIDESEP President Henderson Rengifo, and member of AIDESEP Board of Directors Sedequias Ancon. (Photo: AIDESEP)
Following its official request to Peruvian government agencies in December of last year, the indigenous group AIDESEP called a press conference to publicly advocate for the creation of an oil development policy based on the provisions of the EO100™ Standard. Held at AIDESEP (Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon) headquarters in Lima on March 24, the press conference included presentations and announcements from the organization's president Hernderson Rengifo, Coordinator General of allied indigenous group COICA (Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin), and EO Co-Founder Manuel Pallares.
In addition to requirements for oil and gas developers operating in indigenous territories to employ best practices as defined by the EO100™ Standard, the AIDESEP proposal calls for operators to respect indigenous rights, restore damaged ecosystems, share the benefits of development with indigenous communities, and use third-party mechanisms to minimize deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.
The press conference marks the next step in a broad effort by AIDESEP, EO, and other stakeholder groups to ensure that forthcoming oil and gas development in southern Peru, for which the government has already granted rights to several companies, is undertaken in the most responsible way possible. Responsible development of oil and gas resources through the cooperation of numerous international groups, with the consultation of indigenous communities in development areas, could go a long way toward reversing Peru's history of social conflict brought on by development projects.
The press conference lays the ground work for a major event to be organized by AIDESEP this summer. The event will bring together government representatives, indigenous leaders, international aid organizations, and development companies for a productive dialogue on how to manage development operations to maximize cultural and environmental preservation.