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7694 - Prior Consultations in the Andes: A Step Towards the Protection of Human and Environmental Rights?

Despite considerable ideological differences and discourses of a new “buen vivir” development regime in Bolivia and Ecuador, Andean countries further enhanced the dependence of their economies on non-renewable resource extraction in the past few years. Mining and hydrocarbon activities in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador stand in the center of contentious politics, in particular between the states and the affected indigenous and peasant communities. These communities frequently refer to their right to prior consultation and to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) when claiming that they should have a voice in state decisions that directly affect them. Nevertheless, prior consultations generally are characterized by great power asymmetries, which considerably reduce the decision-making power of local communities in resource governance. After giving a general overview on prior consultations in the Andes, the paper will present findings from the investigation into the role of prior consultations in Bolivia and Peru for protecting human and environmental rights in the hydrocarbon sector.

Keywords: Andes, community participation, resource governance, human and environmental rights

Author: Schilling-Vacaflor, Almut (GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies; Research Fellow, Germany / Deutschland)

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