The Urbane Ecologist

Ecuador is auctioning off over 3 million hectares of Amazonian rainforest

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Ecuador is planning to auction off over 3 million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies.

The bidding process, which has taken lace in Quito (Ecuador’s capital), Houston, Paris, and Beijing, has been met with protests by indigenous groups. NGO Amazon Watch noted that seven indigenous groups who inhabit the land to be auctioned off claim that they have not consented to the oil projects. The oil projects are expected to devastate the area’s environment and thus threaten these indigenous groups’ way of life and means of supporting themselves. Andrés Donoso Fabara, Ecuador’s secretary of hydrocarbons, has accused indigenous leaders of misrepresenting their communities to achieve political goals, and of not thinking of development or about fighting against poverty.

Fabara has further claimed to be unaware of China’s investment guidelines, which would be violated when the bidding process is complete. Specifically, a clause of these guidelines states that Chinese enterprises should “promote harmonious development of local economy, environment and community” while operating internationally.

National debt may be a significant factor in Ecuador’s decision to auction off pristine Amazonian rainforest. It owes China what is roughly over a tenth of its GDP.

 

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