Community Environmental Monitoring


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One of the most important aspects of ISIS's collaboration with the Secoya is the ongoing monitoring of oil work in their territory. Since 2000, ISIS and the Secoya have monitored Occidental Petroleum Company's construction of two platforms and drilling of two wells, the reforestation of one platform, and seismic exploration. The monitoring has demonstrated to the oil company and to the government that community-based monitoring can effectively contribute knowledge of what is happening in the field. It has also shown the community the value of having their own eyes on the company. Problems ranging from illegally cut trees to improper contact with community members have been highlighted and addressed in the process. As we monitor oil exploration, we are developing systems of community monitoring that can be applied to environmental threats elsewhere in Amazonia.


On March 13, 2000, the Secoya signed an agreement with Occidental Petroleum Company (OXY) allowing the oil company to carry out oil exploration in Secoya territory. OXY was given permission to drill and do "3D" seismic testing in return for compensation, environmental protections, and the right of the Secoya monitors to keep a watchful eye on the company.

Negotiated under a Code of Conduct designed to protect the Secoya right to participation in matters affecting their territory, the agreement called for the establishment of a Secoya Monitoring Team. Formed, trained and financed independently, this team's role is to oversee all oil-related activities in Secoya territory to ensure compliance with the environmental management plan and with all other agreements, including the Code. ISIS-having provided technical and legal support throughout negotiations of the Code and the subsequent agreement-has provided technical support for the establishment, training, and on-goingwork of this team.

Check out our photo essay on the monitoring work.