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IDB officials exchange views with indigenous leaders on environmental and social aspects of Camisea project

Officials of the Inter-American Development Bank have met with six leaders of South American indigenous communities to exchange views on environmental and social concerns relating to the Camisea natural gas project in Peru.

“The meeting is part of the ongoing effort by the Bank to hear the views of all parties involved or affected by the Camisea Project and to guide the Bank in taking the appropriate steps to help promote environmental and social protection measures associated with the project,” commented Mirna Liévano de Marques, chief of the IDB's Office of External Relations, following the meeting.

The privately financed Camisea Project, when completed, will bring natural gas and natural gas liquids from gas production fields in the Lower Urubamba Valley to coastal cities for domestic use and for export. The project involves gas field development and processing (upstream) components, a transportation (downstream) component, and gas distribution. The IDB is now conducting a due diligence process to determine if the Bank may finance part of the pipeline component of the project.

In the meeting with the indigenous leaders, Liévano de Marques was accompanied by Robert E. Montgomery, head of the Environmental and Social Unit of the Bank's Private Sector Department, and Anne Deruyttere, chief of the IDB's Indigenous Peoples and Community Development Unit.

The indigenous leaders were Roger Rivas Korinti, chief of Consejo Machiguenga del Rio Urubamba; Lelis Rivera Chavez, director of the Centro para el Desarrollo del Indígena Amazónica; Harold Salazar Rossi, vice president, Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana; Johnson Cerda, co-director of Alianza Amazónica; Elias Piyuahuaje, leader of the Secoya community of Ecuador; and Sebastião Haji Machineri, the president of the Cordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica.

Prior to the meeting, the indigenous leaders had participated in a demonstration in front of the IDB's Washington, D.C., headquarters to express concerns about indigenous peoples rights in general and the Camisea Project in particular. They also sent a petition to IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias expressing their views. In the meeting, they contended that greater environmental and social protection measures were necessary, and they asked that the affected communities be more directly involved in the monitoring of compliance with environmental standards and in the compensation process for ecological and social disruption.

The IDB officials told the indigenous leaders that no decision has yet been made on the Bank's participation in the project, which would be contingent upon mechanisms to ensure environmental and social protection and improved participation in monitoring by the residents of the affected area. They said that it was important that the planned protective measures in fact be carried out.

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