Indigenous Social and Environmental Monitoring in a Gasfield Project in Bolivia

Indigenous monitors were used during the Incahuasi field-development project.

Indigenous social and environmental monitoring was established in the Bolivian legal framework in 2007; however, it has not been operationally regulated because no institutional structure exists for its implementation.

Indigenous socio-environmental monitoring aims to evaluate the possible socio-economic effects produced at local and community land-of-origin levels where a hydrocarbon company operates and to implement actions that enhance the positive effects and mitigate the negative effects of hydrocarbon activity.

The exploration and production company initiated an indigenous socio-environmental monitoring program in 2008 under different modalities according to previous projects and agreements with indigenous organizations. The local team analyzed the lessons learned from these modalities to strengthen the indigenous monitoring program approach, considering the launch of the Incahuasi field-development project that began in 2014. This project involved the construction of a gas-processing plant in the Incahuasi mountain foothills inside the Guaraní indigenous territory Alto Parapeti and the installation of 150 km of pipelines for gas and condensate evacuation, which partially crossed three other Guarani indigenous territories (Iupaguasu, Kaami, and Boyuibe).

Because of its geographic extension and the four indigenous territories involved, 11 monitors had been assigned to the project, in contrast with an average of two monitors for previous exploration projects in the area. The objective of the improvement since 2014 was to make the monitoring process more transparent and effective with regard to compliance with environmental regulations and social actions, while benefiting the local population. 

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