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Ecuador begins applying agreements with indigenous groups on mining

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, July 06, 2022
Ecuador begins applying agreements with indigenous groups on mining

Ecuadoran President Guillermo Lasso has begun applying the agreements reached with the country's indigenous groups to end over two weeks of sometimes violent protests that generated losses of around US$1bn.

The peace deal signed between the government and the confederation of indigenous nations of Ecuador (Conaie) on June 30 stipulates that mining and oil production activities may not be carried out in protected areas, intangible zones, ancestral territories and archaeological zones. 

However, the president retains the right to bypass this ban by using exceptional powers outlined in the constitution, as long as the legislature declares such activities to be of national interest beforehand.

Nevertheless, in an executive decree signed the same day as the protests ended, Lasso said he would not exercise this power.

The president also instructed the energy and mines ministry not to present or approve any new projects involving the extraction of non-renewable natural resources.

He also ordered the ministries of the environment, energy and mines and the legal secretariat of the presidency to prepare a draft prior consultation law and a draft amendment to the environmental regulations for the application of environmental consultations.

The president added that the activities in the aforementioned protected areas can be carried out if there are agreements prior to the issuance of the decree that respect the choice of local communities.

Photo credit: The peace agreement is signed by Lasso and Conaie president Leonidas Iza .

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