September 27, 2017

Quito, Ecuador — We, an informal coalition made up of people who care about the future of Ecuador, including many Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as the highly respected CEDHU (Human Rights), Accíon Ecologica, Ecuador’s umbrella environmental NGO CEDENMA, other organizations like the OMASNE (Mining, Environmental and Social Observatory of Northern Ecuador), ALTROPICO and DECOIN, and the urban coalition that goes by the name of Minka Urbana, representing various rural indigenous territories, afro and montubios, all the campesinos of the country, present the following question to Lenín Moreno, President of Ecuador, to be included in the Popular Consultation:  

Do you agree that IN ORDER TO GUARANTEE THE RIGHT TO WATER, industrial metal mining should be prohibited in: water sources and water recharge areas, in the national system of protected areas, in special areas for conservation, in protective forests, in fragile ecosystems, and in “no-go” zones?

Those who subscribe to this request recognize that mining activity contaminates water and nature, be it small, medium, or large scale mining; for several years we have been opposed to it being carried out in our territories. However, the present initiative is aimed at stopping the MINERAL GIVEAWAY FEAST of concessions granted by the previous government throughout the territory of Ecuador destined for INDUSTRIAL METAL MINING (gold, silver, copper, among others) within our communities, water sources, forests, moors, wetlands, mangroves, and other fragile ecosystems. The holders of most of these concessions are transnational corporations, many with links to tax havens.

Map showing concessions: in Red approved; Green being processed.

In the period from 2016 to January 2017, 1,867,306 hectares of our territory were earmarked for mining. In April 2016, 3% of the country was under concessions; and by January 2017, 11% of the national territory was given over to mining companies [1]. Our right to be consulted prior to implementing mining activities “in all its phases” (that is to say, from the granting of concessions, to exploration and exploitation) is violated without there being a process of prior consultation and free and informed consent as provided by national and international jurisprudence and the Judgment of Conditional Constitutionality issued by the Constitutional Court on March 18, 2010 [2].

A fundamental human right of the inhabitants of Ecuador is the direct political participation in public policies that affect our territories, where we live and raise our families, including the public policy of extraction of metals in Ecuador.

According to the mining cadastre drawn up by the Mining Regulation and Control Agency, millions of hectares have been given to transnational corporations in the last 18 months. These concessions affect water sources and water recharge areas as well as a diversity of ecosystems that enjoy special legal categories of state protection for the environmental services they provide and their biological wealth; these include fragile ecosystems, protected areas, protective forests, special conservation areas, and other “no-go” zones. In addition, the concessions granted in these ecosystems also imply a direct threat to our territories and communities mainly dedicated to agricultural activities, tourism, and environmental conservation. We denounce the potential social impacts, such as forced displacement, and the numerous environmental impacts that industrial metal mining generates.

Consequently, we remind the State that the inhabitants of Ecuador have the right to voice our concern for the future of the country in relation to the exploitation of metallic minerals within the country, not only because it directly impacts our lives, territories, and nature, but because it is our constitutional right to decide as constituents in the face of any state decision that may affect our rights.

We ask President Lenín Moreno to include in the next popular referendum, which has been announced, the question we have formulated. As rural territories affected by mining activities, we denounce the violations of our rights and the rights of nature that transnational mining companies have historically perpetuated; likewise, we denounce the previous government for its responsibility in these matter through deregulation of these activities.  

Signatories:

Territories, communities, NGOs, organizations, and churches:
AACRI – Asociación Artesanal de Caficultores Río Intag [Artisan Association of Intag River Coffee Growers]
ACAI – Asociación de Campesinos Agroecológicos de Intag [Association of Rural Agroecologicists of Intag]
Acción Ecológica [Ecological Action]
ALTROPICO
Asamblea de Unidad Cantonal de Cotacachi [Assembly of United Cantons of Cotacachi]

Asociación Palo Quemado [Palo Quemado Association]

Aves y Conservación [Birds and Conservation]

Caminando Con Las Estrellas [Walking With The Stars]
CEA – Coordinadora Ecuatoriana de Agroecología [Ecuadorian Coordinator of Agroecology]
CEDENMA – Coordinadora Ecuatoriana de Organizaciones para la Defensa del Ambiente y Naturaleza [Ecuadorian Coordinator of Organizations for the Defense of the Environment and Nature]
CEDHU – Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos [Ecumenical Commission on Human Rights]
Centro Shuar Churuwia [Shuar Churuwia Center]
Centro Shuar Numpaim [Shuar Numpaim Center]
Centro Shuar Yanua Kim [Shuar Yanua Kim Center]
CASCOMI – Comité para la protección y cuidado de la naturaleza de Palo Quemado y Las Pampas Comunidad Amazónica de Acción Social [Committee for the protection and care of nature of Palo Quemado and Las Pampas Amazonian Community of Social Action]
Comunidad Siervas de la Caridad [Community Servants of Charity]
Consejo de gestión ambiental y manejo de recursos naturales de Cotacachi [Council on environmental management and natural resources management of Cotacachi]
Coordinadora de Mujeres de Intag [Organization of Intag Women]
Corporacion de Produccion Agricola Intag Sustentable [Sustainable Agricultural Production Corporation]
Corporacion de Produccion Vida Nueva y Progreso [Corporation of Production of New Life and Progress]
Corporación Toisan [Toisan Corporation]
DECOIN – Defensa y Conservación Ecológica de Intag [Defense and Ecological Conservation of Intag]
Diocesis de Latacunga [Dioceses of Latacunga]
Grupo Mujer y Medio Ambiente [Women and Environment Group]
Grupo de Guardabosques Flor de Mayo [Rangers of Flor de Mayo]
Luna Creciente [Crescent Moon]
Mancomunidad del Chocó Andino (reúne a 74 parroquias de noroccidente de Quito) [Commonwealth of Chocó Andino (gathers 74 parishes of northwestern Quito)]
OMASNE – Observatorio Minero, Ambiental y Social del Norte del Ecuador [Mining, Environmental and Social Observatory of Northern Ecuador]
Nacionalidad Awa de la parroquia El Chical [Nationality Awa of the parish El Chical]
Red Coordinadora del norte de Esmeraldas [Northern Coordinating Network of Esmeraldas]
Red Ecoturistica de Intag [Intag Ecotourism Network]
REDCONE – Red Coordinadora de Organizaciones Sociales del Norte de Esmeraldas Vicariato de Esmeraldas [Coordinating Network of Social Organizations of the North of Esmeraldas Vicariate of Esmeraldas]

Local and regional governments:
Decentralized Autonomous Government of Cotacachi
Parish Government of Gualea
Parish Government of Las Pampas
Parish Government of Pacto
Parish Government of Palo Quemado
Parish Government of Nanegal
Parish Government of Nanegalito
Parish Government of Nono
Parish Government of Tundayme

Endnotes:

[1] Minka Urbana. (2017). Festín Minero – Un regalo a los capitales megamineros: Estado de Situación de la Megaminería en el Ecuador. [Trans: “Festín Minero – A gift of capital for megaminers: Status of Megamining in Ecuador”]. http://www.entrepueblos.org/files/analisis_megamineria_minka.pdf

[2] Sentence No. 001-10-SIN-CC, cases N. 0008-09-IN and 0011-09-IN (accumulated).