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Talamanca as a territory free of oil and gas exploration and exploitation


Special Session No. 97 on April 12, 2002

Municipal Council of Talamanca, declares:


1. Since the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century a series of petroleum explorations were carried out in the upper and lower Talamancan region without effective results. All of these projects were done without State vigilance, control or their employing sufficient preventive measures of the damaging social, cultural, physical and biological effects; it has always been the local people and their natural resources which have suffered the prejudicial consequences of these failed attempts.

2. In 1999, the people of Talamanca learned of the existence of new oil and gas concessions granted within their region, without any prior consultation with the local inhabitants nor with the municipal government.

3. Immediately there began a process of regional organization and mobilization of communities and organizations to become informed and to oppose the intended oil and gas extraction, which causes serious consequences to the population.

4. The Municipality of Talamanca gave it’s full support to the aforementioned process of community participation and activism and during Regular Session No. 82, on the 16th of December, 1999, adopted a strong declaration expressing their adamant opposition to the decision to undergo oil exploration and exploitation within their territory and declared the area free of oil explorations and exploitations.

5. The local inhabitants, the community organizations, and the Municipality of Talamanca, have continuously participated to date in the entire process of questioning and opposing the oil development project, in honor and remembrance of an illustrious indigenous Talamancan woman, Adela Pita.

6. The Municipality of Talamanca tried unsuccessfully to obtain a public EIS hearing in Talamanca, in accordance with the environmental laws, so that the National Technical Secretariate would be informed firsthand, directly from the inhabitants of the region, of the negative impacts that the oil exploration has caused in Talamanca, and to understand the ill affects that will be caused by the continuation of these contracts.

7. In light of the failure of the these efforts to hold a public EIS hearing, the Municipal Council of Talamanca agreed to hold a Special Session, widely publicized throughout the Talamancan region in order to inform and communicate with the inhabitants the far reaching impacts of the oil concessions and the present situation of the project.

8. In this session, technical opinions regarding the proposal and its evaluation process where heard, as well as opinions from the general public.

9. It is the local government’s role to promote the interests of their inhabitants and to assure that decisions are made by the national public institutions with an active, conscious and democratic participation of the population.

Hereby agrees:

1. To reiterate the declaration of Talamanca as a territory free of oil and gas exploration and exploitation. This implies a total moratorium on all activities related to petroleum exploration and exploitation within the Talamancan territory.

2 . To request that the corresponding national authorities review extensively and thoroughly the petroleum concession contract granted for the four blocks in the Caribbean region to assess whether they comply with the laws, and to take necessary measures to assure compliance.

3. To request that the Minister of Environment, Elizabeth Odio or her successor, reject the appeal against SETENA’s finding declaring the oil exploration project non-viable environmentally, which, in addition to many other reasons, is based upon having ignored the impacts and ill affects to be caused upon the Talamancan people and their natural resources.

4. To request that the corresponding national authorities proceed to derrogate the Hydrocarbon Law immediately.

5. To widely publicize this agreement and to communicate it to other municipalities nationally.

Final and unanimous decision.