Oil issue

Over the last decade, more than 75% of the Peruvian Amazon forest have been conceded to extractive industries as oil concessions, without  consulting the native communities, though, and often violating the existing nature protection legislation. The Peruvian Ombudsman's Service (Defensoría del Pueblo) claimed in 2009 that almost 50 per cent of the registered social conflicts consist of so called "natural resources conflicts", and it forecasted a steady increase in the number of this kind of conflicts. Only 10% of the Peruvian Amazon region is actually protected as nature reserve.

On May 16, 2006 - shortly after the signing of the Pantoja agreement (concerning the categorization of the Zona Reservada de Güeppí as a nature area) - PerúPetro S.A. and Petrobras Energía S.A. reached a license agreement for the Exploration and Exploitation of hydrocarbons in oil block 117. This area overlaps with the National Park and both Communal Reserves and with the territories and titled communities of the Secoya and Kichwa peoples in the Napo and Putumayo basin.

The indigenous peoples were not consulted about the concession of this area, which is an infringement of convention 169 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Moreover, after all these years of negotiations about the categorization of the National Park and the Communal Reserves, the local population felt betrayed by the Peruvian state and its contradictory policy. While the government institution for nature protection was cooperating with them towards a sustainable management of their territories, the much more powerful ministry of Energy and Mining granted a concession to an oil company in that very same area.

But in September 2013 some really good news did finally arrive: the state-owned company PerúPetro, which grants concessions for oil and gas exploitation, announced that they were going to abandon oil block 117. Apparently the prospects of future return on capital and high profits were insufficient. A victory for the native peoples who live in the area and who have been opposed to this concession for many years. However, oil exploitation is still possible in both Communal Reserves, if the local inhabitants and the nature reserve management should decide so.

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