What does the Escazu Agreement mean for environmental defenders opposing fracking in Colombia?
Click here to join Oscar Sampayo of the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking on a webinar on Thursday April 29 that will discuss the implications of the Escazu Agreement for environmental defenders opposing fracking in Colombia.
The Escazu Agreement comes into force today, April 22.
It has been signed by 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and formally ratified by 12 of those countries.
Reuters reports: “The treaty obligates countries to ensure activists can access public information on environmental cases and issues.”
It also notes: “The treaty orders countries to set up bodies to monitor, report and ensure new rules are adhered to, and specifies the rights of environmentalists, including their right to freedom of expression, free movement and peaceful assembly.”
Escazu in Colombia
Bogota-based journalist Genevieve Glatsky has written: “In Colombia, massive protests against President Iván Duque prompted the conservative leader to sign the agreement in December 2019, becoming the last country to join Escazú. But both houses of Congress must now approve it, before it then faces a Constitutional Court review, a process that has been delayed by the pandemic.”
Yesterday, Infobae reported: “On November 5, 2020, after a week in which pressure from environmental and political sectors related to the Escazu Agreement influenced public opinion to draw the Government’s attention to the management of the initiative awaiting formality in Congress, the Chancellery and the Ministry of Environment gave the green light to discussions in the second committee to ratify one of the most relevant articulations for environmental protection in America.”
Infobae comments: “This means that, in this way, the agreement enters into force, in Colombia there will be no commitment to guarantee compliance with what has been agreed.”
Canada and fracking in Colombia
The ExxonMobil Platero fracking pilot project in the Magdalena Medio region is situated on the VMM-37 block. Toronto-based Sintana Energy holds a 30 per cent interest in that block and welcomed the news of the Platero project.
Yesterday, Calgary-based Canacol Energy Ltd. announced that it is exploring the potential to frack on the VMM-2 and VMM-3 blocks in the Magdalena Medio region that it holds with ConocoPhillips. The CEO of Canacol has also welcomed the news of the approval of the Platero and Ecopetrol Kale fracking pilot projects.
Webinar on April 29
Meanwhile, environmental defenders continue to experience death threats and danger in the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia.
On Thursday April 29, you can hear directly from four Colombian environmental defenders about the Escazu Agreement, the fracking pilot projects, and the international solidarity that is required to provide the guarantees needed for their safety.
To join us, register here.
At least three of the speakers on this webinar can be seen in this photo from this news clip.