Firstly, we’d like to announce a learning call this Friday, November 4th at 2pm Eastern time with writer and activist Maude Barlow. Maude is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, and she has served as Senior Advisor on Water to the President of the UN General Assembly. Maude is also the co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, which works internationally for the human right to water, and is board chair of the Washington DC-based organization Food & Water Watch.
Maude Barlow will discuss the major campaign spearheaded by her organization to establish the Great Lakes as a public commons. Using this campaign as a case, Maude will discuss how using the commons framework can help to protect the rights of the local communities to their resources, what has been learned from this specific campaign, and how she views the connections between a commons framework and a rights-based approach.
There will be a phone number to call in, or for those in the DC area, she will be at the Institute for Policy Studies offices speaking. If you are interested in calling in or attending, please email Lela Singh at: email@example.com
In other news, it appears that the transparent implementation Peru’s much-lauded new Consultation Law has been called into question just two months after its passage. Survival International reported on Thursday, October 27th that the top ranking official on indigenous affairs in Peru, Raquel Yrigoyen Fajardo has been dismissed from her post at INDEPA.
She was reportedly fired without a stated reason, after upholding the new Consultation Law by blocking a Argentine Pluspetrol’s Camisea natural-gas project that would have run through Amazonian lowlands still inhabited by as-yet uncontacted indigenous groups. According to Survival International, a lawyer with experience in “business ethics” named Arturo Zambrano Gustavo Chavez will be the new head of INDEPA.
The Camisea Project is nothing new, and had been green-lighted by INDEPA before Ms. Yrigoyen Farjado entered office. The project is known for being the largest and most ambitious natural gas project in Peru’s history. For those who are interested, the Bank Information Center has a collection of documents and articles surrounding the project.
Update: Today it was reported that the same thing has happened in Brazil, as indigenous leader Megaron Txucarramãe has been sacked from a similar position, due to his campaigning against the Belo Monte Dam. This has happened just over a week after a Brazilian Federal judge ruled the dam construction illegal, due to inadequate consultation with the indigenous groups who would be affected. While the passage of the Consultation Law in Peru, and the court ruling in Brazil respecting rights to consultation are promising steps, these firings reflect a fundamental lack of commitment by these governments to real free, prior and informed consent.