Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What about Peru?

14 Sept 2011
Source: Cool Earth

Ecuador's bid to save the rainforest of Yasuni has won support from many high profile celebrities. But a recent article in the Huffington Post raises the concern that their approach is too narrow

Supporters, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Mikhail Gorbachev and Desmond Tutu have all got behind Ecuador's plan not to extract the billions of dollars worth of oil that have been discovered underneath the rainforest of Yasuni, if the rest of the world will pay for 50% of the oils value. Yasuni is one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet and also believed to be home to one of the world's 'uncontacted' tribes.

Yet a recent article in the Huffington Post asks "What about Peru?" Just over from Yasuni in the Peruvian Amazon, the Peruvian government has done the exact opposite to Ecuador, by giving the green light to an Anglo-French oil company - Perenco - to build a 200 km pipeline.

The article argues that one 'uncontacted' group is even believed to travel between the two areas, semi-nomadic and unaware of the international border. Peru and Ecuador's approach towards 'uncontacted' tribes has varied widely. Ecuador intends to protect them, whereas Peru's indigenous affairs department, INDEPI, denies that they exist.

Perenco's views mirrors that of Peru's, citing research and a report which they paid the environmental consultancy, Daimi, to carry out which claims 'No information exists that demonstrates or suggests the existence of isolated indigenous people' in this region. Yet according to the article in the Huffington Post, "evidence for an 'uncontacted' tribe was found: sightings, paths, footprints, shacks built by them, and animal bones and feathers from birds hunted by them."

Given that we are talking about "the same rainforest, after all, and even some of the same people who are involved," the article concludes that should we not be thinking of Peru too?

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