Women's Earth & Climate Action Network, International
The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network is a solutions-based, multi-faceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions. For Our Earth and Future Generations A project of Women's Earth and Climate Caucus and its partner eraGlobal Alliance
« Back to News

URGENT ACTION: Women of the Ecuadorian Amazon and International Allies Reject New Oil Concessions, Stand For Rights of the Earth and Communities

February 09, 2016

Women of the Ecuadorian Amazon and International Allies Reject New Oil Concessions, Stand For Rights of the Earth and Communities

Click here to add your personal signature to the petition

Please email emily@wecaninternational.org with organizational or Executive Director sign-ons

In late January, 2016, the government of Ecuador signed a contract with Chinese corporation Andes Petroleum, handing over rights for oil exploration and extraction in two controversial Amazonian blocks which overlap the traditional territory of the Sápara and Kichwa peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon. The Sápara Indigenous people are a small, threatened group of only 300, officially recognized by UNESCO as an "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity".

Concession plans open up almost a million acres in the center of Ecuador’s road-less southeastern Amazon, where Indigenous communities have successfully prevented fossil fuel extraction for decades. The concession means large swaths of deforestation and irreversible devastation of the forest’s magnificent ecological, social and cultural diversity.

The implications of this contract for the rights and health of local communities and ecosystems, as well as for climate disruption at a global scale, cannot be overstated. Approximately 20 percent of the carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels is absorbed by tropical forests around the world, and this is just one of many critical ecologic functions. Consequently, protecting the Amazon rainforest, the largest of the world’s tropical forests, must be central to local and international environmental and economic policies.

Within this context, Indigenous peoples and their rights must be respected and protected because it is their intimate relationship with their forests and their courageous ongoing struggles to defend their territories that has and will continue to bring about the highest protection of the Amazon.

The government of Ecuador has signed this most recent oil contract just months after pledging at the UN COP21 climate negotiations in Paris to take action alongside 195 countries to keep global warming below 2.0 degree Celsius. Scientists have stated that we must keep 80% of global fossil fuel reserves in the ground to avoid climate catastrophe. Oil extraction in the Amazon will contribute to the negation of the Paris Agreement and the demands of science.

The Ecuadorian government claims to have consulted the Sápara in accordance with Article 57 of their constitution, which requires Free, Prior, and Informed Consultation (FPIC). However, rather than consult the communities, as Ecuador's constitution requires, and obtain their consent, which is required under international law, the government has wager a campaign to divide the Sápara. Despite the government's false claims of community approval and attempts to create its own Sápara federation, the only legitimate representative body of the Sápara people does not recognize any agreement for access to their territory.

The Sápara people and the Kichwa of Sarayaku have denounced the new contracts as a violation of their fundamental rights, and have made clear their intentions to keep resisting extraction and protecting their rainforest.

In solidarity, we call for cancelation of the new oil contract for Block 79 and 83 in the Ecuadorian Amazon; demand action by the government of Ecuador to heed the calls of the Sápara and Kichwa to immediately halt all further exploration and extraction in the Amazon; and call for international action to expose the rights violations occurring in Ecuador. Further, we call for alternative options to be explored by the Ecuadorian government and international community to address oil extraction in the Amazon caused by economic pressures.

Finally, we express urgent concern about the violence against Indigenous women working to protect their territories, families and cultures. We are watching, and we will not stand for abuse against our sisters and brothers.

In response to the request of Indigenous allies, the full ‘Statement of Amazonian Indigenous Women In Defense of Life, Territory and Good Living’ and ‘Statement of the Association of Sapara Women’ are presented below in Spanish and English. We stand in solidarity with these pronouncements.

Osprey-Orielle Lake (Executive Director, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, International)

Leila Salazar Lopez (Executive Director, Amazon Watch)


In the city of Puyo, we, Amazonian indigenous women, representatives of the Sapara and Shiwiar Nationalities, the Kichwa Kawsak Sacha and Sarayaku Peoples, and the communities of the Bobonaza Basin, want to express our deep concern with the contract of exploitation and exploration signed by the Ministry of Hydrocarbons with the company Andes Petroleum for Blocks 79 and 83 that directly affect the Sapara, Kichwa, Shiwiar, and Sarayaku territories.

We reject the signing of this contract which will affect our territories, the forest, the water, and the air; exactly how we have seen it occur in Block 10 in the Province of Pastaza. This is where serious social and environmental impacts have been generated, where women are the main victims and their ability to feed their families becomes impaired. There is deterioration of family health, and they suffer the division of their communities and other forms of violence.

This government policy has infringed on our rights since we have not been adequately consulted. We as women have not been considered and we have not participated in those government informational meetings. Plus, the consultations were not carried out as mandated by the ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in the 2012 case Sarayaku v. Ecuador.

Blocks 79 and 83 affect more than 40% of the Sapara Nationality’s territory which was recognized by UNESCO as a "Masterpiece of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" on May 18, 2001 because their language and culture are in danger of disappearing. This threat is increased with the development of an oil project in these territories.

Therefore, we reject this oil policy of the government and the possibility of further oil concessions in the southern Amazon; We denounce that deceptive mechanisms have been used to obtain signatures of community members in order to justify supposed prior consultation processes. We stand firm in the defense of our territories, for the defense of life and the good living of our families and communities.


Nancy Santi - President of the Association of Kawsak Sacha Women

Gloria Ushigua - President of the Association of Sapara Women

Zoila Castillo - Territory Leader Bobonaza Basin

Hilda Santi - Leader,  Kichwa People of Sarayaku

Patricia Gualinga - Leader of International Relations, Kichwa People of Sarayaku    


Puyo, 02 de febrero de 2016

En la cuidad de Puyo, las mujeres indígenas amazónicas, representantes de las Nacionalidades Sapara, Shiwiar y los Pueblos Kichwa Kawsak Sacha, Sarayaku y las comunidades del Cuenca del Bobonaza queremos expresar nuestro profunda preocupación al contrato de explotación y exploración firmado por parte del Ministerio de Hidrocarburos con la empresa Andes Petrolum de los Bloques 79 y 83 que afectan directamente los territorios de las Nacionalidad Sapara, Kichwa, Shiwiar y el Pueblo Kichwa de Sasrayaku.

Rechazamos la firma de este contrato que afectará nuestros territorios, el bosque, el agua, aire, tal como lo he visto en el bloque 10 en la provincia del Pastaza, donde se han  generado  graves impactos socio ambientales, donde las mujeres son las principales víctimas que ven afectadas sus posibilidades de alimentar a la familia, el deterioro de la salud familiar, y sufren la división de sus comunidades y otras formas de violencia.

Está política del gobierno ha vulnerado nuestros derechos ya que no hemos sido adecuadamente consultadas, las mujeres no hemos sido consideradas y no hemos participado en esos eventos de socialización, además estás consultas no fueron realizadas según lo manda la sentencia de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CorteIDH) en el caso Sarayaku v. Ecuador de 2012.

Los bloques 79 y 83 afectan más del 40% del territorio de la Nacionalidad Sapara que tiene el reconocimiento de la UNESCO, como “Obra Maestra del Patrimonio Cultural e Inmaterial de la Humanidad”; otorgado el 18 de mayo de 2001, por cuanto su lengua y su cultura se encuentran en peligro de desaparecer, amenaza que se incrementa con el desarrollo de un proyecto petrolero en estos territorios.

Por lo tano rechazamos esta política petrolera del gobierno y la posibilidad de más concesiones petroleras en el sur de la Amazonía, denunciamos que se ha utilizado mecanismos engañosos para conseguir firmas de los/as miembros de las comunidades para justificas supuestos procesos de consulta previa, nos mantendremos firmes en la defensa de nuestros territorios, por la defensa de la vida y el buen vivir de nuestras familias y comunidades.


Nancy Santi - Presidenta de la Asociacion de Mujeres Kawsak Sacha

Gloria Ushigua - Presidenta de la Asociacion de Mujeres Sapara

Zoila Castillo -  Dirigenta Territorio Cuenca del Bobonaza                 

Hilda Santi - Lidereza del Pueblo Kichwa de Sarayaku

Patricia Gualinga - Dirigenta de Relaciones Internacionales del Pueblo Sarayaku


Denounces the government of Ecuador who signed two contracts through the Ministry of Hydrocarbons, represented by the secretary of Hydrocarbons, Ivnna Fabara, and the president of Andes Petroleum Ecuador, Zhao Xinjun.

The agreement was realized with the provision of services by the companies China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec), which form part of the consortium Andes Petroleum - with a duration of four years for exploration and twenty years for the exploitation of crude oil in deposits in the south of the Amazon in the so called ‘Block 74’, ‘Block 79’ and ‘Block 83’, situated in the Amazonian province of Pastaza in the east of Ecuador, in our ancestral territory.

We demand:

  1. Respect for our rights as an Indigenous Nation
  2. Conservation of our Territory, our forests and the Ecuadorian Amazon
  3. Respect and conservation of all protected areas and the Yasuni National Park
  4. The nullification of the contract with Andes Petroleum Ecuador
  5. The immediate end of exploration in Block 74, 79 and 83
  6. No actualization of the exploitation of the oil deposits in Block 74, 79 and 83

Our territory is threatened by Chinese oil transnationals. Our nation and families are seeing our rights violated, and the loss and contamination of our territory. We are aware that investments of this magnitude bring other consequences, like an increase in emissions of greenhouse gases, illegal deforestation, loss of biodiversity, among other things.

We are ready to protect, defend and die for our forest, families, territory and nation. We ask of organizations, Indigenous Nations, civil society and all of the national and international populations –join us – support us in signing this declaration.


Denunciamos al gobierno de Ecuador que suscribió la firma de dos contratos mediante el ministerio de hidrocarburos, representada por la secretaria de Hidrocarburos, Ivonne Fabara, y el presidente de Andes Petroleum Ecuador, Zhao Xinjun.

La firma se la realiza como convenio bajo la modalidad de prestación de servicios con las empresas China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) y China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec), que forman parte del consorcio Andes Petroleum, con una duración de cuatro años para la exploración y veinte años para la explotación de crudo en yacimientos en el sur de la Amazonía, en los denominados, “Bloque 74”, "Bloque 79" y "Bloque 83", situados en la provincia amazónica de Pastaza, en el este de Ecuador, de nuestro territorio ancestral. Y a las irregularidades para conseguir las mismas

Nosotras exigimos:

  1. El Respeto a Nuestros Derechos como Nación Indígena
  2. Conservación de nuestro Territorio, nuestra selvas y la amazonia ecuatoriana
  3. El respeto y conservación del área protegida y parque nacional yasuni
  4. La nulidad de los contrato con Andes Petroleum Ecuador.
  5. Se paralice la exploración en los “Bloque 74”, "Bloque 79" y "Bloque 83”
  6. No se realice la explotación de los yacimientos de los “Bloque 74”, "Bloque 79" y "Bloque 83“

Nuestro territorio se encuentra amenazado por transnacionales petroleras chinas. Nuestras nación y familias nos vemos vulnerados en nuestros derechos, en la perdida y contaminación de nuestro territorio. Estamos conscientes que las inversiones de esta magnitud traen otras consecuencias, como el incremento de las emisiones de gases invernaderos, deforestación ilícita, perdida de biodiversidad, entre otras.

Estamos dispuestas a proteger, defender y morir por nuestra selva, familias, territorio y nación. Y solicitamos a las organizaciones, naciones indígenas, sociedad civil y toda la población nacional e internacional, ha sumarse, apoyarnos en la firma de este pronunciamiento.

Click here to add your personal signature to the petition

Please email emily@wecaninternational.org with organizational or Executive Director sign-ons