On Wednesday, October 16th, indigenous women in Ecuador representing the Shuar, Quechua, Sápara, and Huaorani arrived in Quito, Ecuador after completing a five day march that covered more than 160 miles and passed over a mountain range, to deliver a manifesto protesting mining and oil extraction operations the government is allowing on their territories to Ecuador’s President Correa.
The indigenous women are asserting the extraction operations break the government’s agreement, signified by its ratification of ILO 169, to obtain free, prior, and informed consent from indigenous peoples before making policy decisions that will affect their territories.
The manifesto outlines problems the extraction activities are causing to the women’s culture, communities, and physical environment, and offers solutions that could amend these issues. Included among the solutions, the women are asking for the following:
- That their region be declared a zone free of petroleum extraction
- They ask their region be considered sacred territory, and an official heritage and biodiversity area.
- They are asking for an annulment of previous judgments against protesting indigenous leaders
- They are requesting a policy promoting the adoption of alternative energy solutions
The women also are asking for a full investigation, with international oversight, into current companies engaged in extraction and logging operations in their region, and a full democratic process be implemented that ensures indigenous people in the region be fully involved in future decisions.
This is just one example of how women are taking the lead in tackling global environmental issues. Recently, The Pachamama Alliance hosted a live video conversation called Climate Change: What’s Gender Got to do with It? with four women taking the lead in finding solutions to climate change. They were part of the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit held in September.