Alianza Arkana

The Arkana Alliance is committed to raising awareness about the current environmental and social crises in the Amazon; supporting the creation, connection and strengthening of strategic networks and regional and community-based alliances; and inspiring positive change at local, national and international levels to protect and preserve the people, environment, and ancient traditions of the Amazon Rainforest.
Jun 23, 2015

Launch of Pastaza FIlm

Dear Supporters

With pride we share with you that in mid-June we have been able to launch the Pastaza movie at the festival "Green Unplugged" . As you might know the Pastaza movie, a coproduction of the indigenous federation FEDIQUEP and Alianza Arkana, reveals the broken promises and empty words of the Peruvian authorities towards the environmental and human disaster left in oil lot 1AB after more than 43 years of oil production.

The festival aspires not only to witness the current state of our environment—the greater body that has been nourishing the human species—but aspires also to contemplate upon the integral spiritual values that form our relationship with Mother Earth and fellow species. It is not just a festival, but an opportunity to reflect upon our collective consciousness and the present human impulse that is participating in life's creation process. It is an event that hopes to envision what may help us harmonize our living and being - with authentic nature within and without. Check it out at: cultureunplugged.com. If you wish: watch Opening Film .

This is very important to us and the indigenous peoples of the northern Peruvian Amazon. It is a call of attention to the world about a problem that has not been solved at all and remians unsolved in the wake of a new bidding round for oil companies in the same area. Since May 14th, the Peruvian state is offering oil lot 192 on the international market to make sure the country’s most important oil production continues once the actual licence expires end of August 2015.

Business as usual it seems, but before signing a new contract, the state is obliged to respect indigenous rights and to organize a prior consent process. Currently the indigenous people of Fediquep and other indigenous organisations of the area find themselves in the midst of that important dialogue and are discussing the rights and rules for another 30 years of oil exploitation on their territories. They try to make sure the process it is not a mere formality but becomes a real dialogue where their demands for participation, transparency and guarantees are addressed before a new contract is signed. A huge challenge.

With your support we have been able to provide permanent advice and we are finishing an important article on the behaviour of the current company Pluspetrol Norte (publication for beginning of July!). We thank you strongly for that and hope we can continue supporting the indigenous people in their struggle for justice in this part of the Amazon.

Our next actions will be to:

  • Get the Pluspetrol publication printed and distributed to local communities and national and international audience.
  • Facilitate the travel of a big indigenous delegation to Iquitos for mid July when the process is in the dialogue stage.
  • Guarantee national and international lobby work during and after the consultation process.
Jun 2, 2015

Continuing work in the community of Santa Clara

Group of mothers cooking
Group of mothers cooking

The last three months have been busy for us in the Shipibo community of Santa Clara.

At the beginning of April, the children returned to school after their long summer holidays. Also our volunteer, Lucy, returned to live in the community after a short break back home in the USA.

We began once again to offer weekly lunches helping the organization of mothers in the community supplement the food they receive from the Peruvian Govenrnment with more nutritious food and also financially supporting the community by buying food such as fish and chicken from members of the community. We currently cook one meal a week for all the children and young people in the comunity. A new volunteer has recently joined us who has more specialized knowledge in nutrition and she will also be helping in this project by offering weekly classes in nutrition linked to the food the women are cooking.

Additionally, we have been making good progress on developing the permaculture site attached to the primary and kindergarten school in the community. Our Shipibo permaculture technician has been involving the children from the school in the preparation and planting of the site and at the same teaching them about sustainable agriculture. The site is now producing basic food such as yucca, bananas and sweet peppers for use in the weekly meals. Over time more healthy food will be harvested that can be used in the weekly meals.

One other important event occurred in the last three months. Our of our nine University scholarhip students, who we wrote about in the previous report, had his graduation ceremony. For indigenous students to overcome the financial and other barriers to complete a university education is a huge achievement and we would like to congratulate this student and his family for finishing his five year course of studies to be a primary intercultural education teacher, without one single failed class!

School student working on permaculture site
School student working on permaculture site
Our scholarship student receiving his degree
Our scholarship student receiving his degree
Mar 25, 2015

New agreement signed with Peruvian Government leaves room for doubt

Agreement with the government leaves room for interpretation: Is the agreement signed between indigenous leaders of the contaminated rivers in Loreto and Peruvian government a real recognition of the social and environmental damage?

Historical demonstration of indigenous capacity

After more than 3 years of dialogue in 2 multisectoral commissions, in 3 work groups and in endless sub-commissions and meetings, after countless travels forth and back from their far away communities to Iquitos and Lima, the indigenous leaders of the contaminated river basins in Loreto decided to sign the agreement on the negotiation table with the Prime Minister. Historical it is because of the enormous capacity showed by the indigenous organizations to use democratic mechanisms in order to reclaim their rights. Even though they have had enough of the government´s broken promises, the communities continued the process and stood up for their rights. At least 10 indigenous protest actions were registered on the Corrientes, Maranon and Tigre Rivers in the last 10 months. The latest actions in Andoas (Pastaza), Nuevo Remanente (Tiger) and Pampa Hermosa (Corrientes) were only ended recently (February- March 2015).

The right to have rights

The agreement includes: installation of provisional clean water systems, a toxicological and epidemiological study of the people in cooperation with the OPS (Organización Panamericana de Salud) that should be ready by next year, the implementation of an integral health plan for over 110,500 community members. Actions for intercultural education, electrification and agriculture are also on the list.

When it comes to remediation, the wording gets more generic. The state will guarantee the clean up by the responsible company within the framework of existing standards. To evaluate the company’s cleanup plan, the findings of the environmental taxation body - OEFA will be taken into account. At the same time, a 50 million soles guarantee fund will be created, for which – as says the actual law proposal - a good part will have to come from OEFA’s budget.

The same lack of specificity is kept when referring to the land titling: the Regional government - the responsible authority for the titling of indigenous communities, will (finally) start to do so.

In a nutshell: the agreement reaffirms that the state has to guarantee its’ citizens’ rights. The importance of the agreement is therefore the reaffirmation that indigenous peoples have the right to have rights in Peru.

No reason to celebrate

Although last Tuesday in Lima the official message was one of victory and joy announcing a renewed social pact between the state and the indigenous peoples, immediately after the official ceremony, the leaders themselves stated that there is no reason to celebrate. It calls the attention that no representative from the Tiger River was present.

First of all, the question is whether the state will accomplish the agreement, as there is a long list of unaccomplished acts and a much longer history of no-state presence in these remote areas.

Secondly, the wording used in the agreement leaves room for interpretation of what the next steps are. Will Pluspetrol clean up the areas already abandoned in 2011? Will the land titles include the areas where the installations were build on indigenous territory? Will the 50 million soles fund be sufficient taking into account Perupetro’s public statement that the remediation of oil lot 1AB will cost around 90 million USD? Will the old tubes and installations be replaced so that no new oil spills can occur?

Thirdly, the agreement does not address important unsolved issues as the valorization of land use and the compensation for the environmental, cultural and social damage. In that sense, an interesting precedent was created by five Achuar communities who presented last week, after years of trial, the extra judicial agreement they reached with the previous company and polluter Occidental Petrolueum.

New contract?

The present contract for the oil block 1AB (192) expires in August. The government is desperate to continue the exploitation in one of Peru´s most oil productive lands and to start the new bidding round. As the ILO-Convention 169 states, the indigenous peoples have to be consulted before signing a new contract. In this case, the government will have to ask for consent the peoplethat have suffered the consequences of oil exploitation for over 40 years. Are they satisfied with this agreement?

 

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