Lima, Sep 14 (EFE).- Environmental organizations and indigenous leaders have warned about the risk to biodiversity and native communities if oil exploration and extraction begins in the site known as MD-XP-001, located in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon.
The site, according to the organization Rights, Environment and Natural Resources (DAR), is among 31 areas that Perupetro, the Peruvian agency in charge of promoting investment in the hydrocarbon sector, has included “among the hydrocarbon exploration opportunities.”
MD-XP-001 overlaps with the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve and the buffer zone of the Manu and Bahuaja Sonene National Parks.
As a result, DAR has warned “about the risks involved in exploring for and extracting hydrocarbons at the site.”
The organization says “The areas are home to endemic species and are therefore internationally recognized for their contribution to the conservation of the planet’s biodiversity and the livelihoods of the indigenous peoples who depend on them.”
CONCERN FOR THE AMAZON
The coordinator of DAR’s sustainability program, Vanessa Cueto, told EFE that the site is currently part of the “publicized areas” and is in a “promotional stage.”
“What concerns us is the whole process of developing these new areas in Peru, especially the Amazonian areas,” she said.
Regarding the MD-XP-001 site, she explained that it is located in a very important communal reserve in Peru, the Amarakaeri, created in 2003 and is more than 400,000 hectares.
This area was created as a reserve with “the objective of conserving a center of major biological diversity,” as it is “a refuge for many species of flora and fauna and has very important cultural values for the indigenous communities of this region.”
NEW IDEAS BUT NO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
For Julio Cusurichi, a member of the Board of Directors of the Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (Aidesep), the most serious issue is that “the government always comes with new ideas,” but does not give priority to community development.
His great fear is that this exploration opportunity will mean destruction, “deprivation” and contamination without any opportunity for the communities.
In his opinion, to put the site out to bid shows that the authorities “respond to economic interests” and not to those who should be taken care of in a case of this magnitude.
If the project finally goes ahead, he warns that “a community without territory” or with “a contaminated river, is “on the way to gradually disappearing.”
Cusurichi says that water is “part of the cosmovision” of Peru’s indigenous communities and their spirituality.
Concerning the environment, he fears that something similar to “what is going to happen to humans, an impact,” could happen.
However, he concludes that they are not “against development,” but they consider that it must go hand in hand with “strengthening the initiative of the indigenous peoples.”
For this reason, he proposes projects related to “tourism, ecotourism and fish farms,” that give “added value to the natural resources of the forests.” EFE