HOUSTON, July, 13, 2023 – The Unifor Social Justice Fund recently awarded a significant grant to Equitable Origin (EO) for the creation of a Center of Indigenous Governance and Territorial Management of the Shuar and Siekopai Indigenous nationalities. Amongst the Indigenous Peoples’ that have inhabited and maintain a unique relationship with the Amazon and its resources for millennia, The Provincial Federation of the Shuar Nationality of Zamora Chinchipe (FEPNASH-ZCH) represents 28 Shuar communities of the Zamora Chinchipe province in Southern Ecuador.
Globalization and current economic systems have placed the Amazon at the center of the debate on the exploitation and use of natural resources – specifically areas rich in areas abundant in oil, forestry and mineral resources. As an outcome of this, Indigenous Peoples in the region find themselves in a situation of vulnerability given the challenges they face when trying to exercise their rights. Both the Shuar and the Siekopai are indigenous communities under pressure from the palm oil and mining industry to concede large portions of their territories for development.
The grant awarded by the Unifor Social Justice Fund will help Equitable Origin address these challenges through the supported development of a Center of Indigenous Governance and Territorial Management of the Shuar and Siekopai indigenous nationalities of Ecuador. The project will aim to strengthen democracy, promote equitable development and social justice in Ecuador´s Indigenous communities through the creation of the Center.
Equitable Origin’s CEO, Soledad Mills, further expanded, “By educating the next generation of Indigenous leaders, the Center can strengthen the capacity of the Shuar and Siekopai communities to defend their rights, preserve and promote their cultural heritage, effectively govern and manage their ancestral territories, strengthen their Indigenous rights to self-determination, and support sustainable development.”
The Center’s courses and training programs will focus on Indigenous governance and territorial management, national and international human rights legal frameworks, traditional knowledge, and other issues related to sustainable development. The realization of this project by Equitable Origin, with the provided grant by Unifor Social Fund, helps ensure the further depth of expansion in consultation and engagement activities with affected Indigenous communities throughout the Amazon Basin. Furthermore, it ensures that the voices of these communities increasingly contribute to the continuous improvement and structure of the EO100™ Standard for Responsible Energy Development.
About Equitable Origin
Equitable Origin is a 501c3 non-profit organization that supports companies, communities, and Indigenous Peoples in ensuring responsible natural resource development. Since its founding in Ecuador in 2009, EO has worked with Indigenous Peoples, the private sector, other non-governmental organizations, and governments to foster sustainable development that respects the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
About Unifor Social Justice Fund
The Unifor Social Justice Fund promotes and supports the role of trade unions and workers groups in their efforts to strengthen democracy, promote equitable development, and contribute to poverty reduction, social justice and education reform.
The Unifor Social Justice Fund is a registered charity that is governed by our Social Justice Fund Board of Directors (which includes officers of the union as well as prominent Canadians). Funds are negotiated during collective bargaining from employers, either on a cents-per-hour-per-worker basis, or as a lump sum. In this way, workers signify that social justice is a key priority and that by working collectively we can make a difference not only here in Canada but around the world.