Oilwatch Southeast Asia Regional Meeting
28 July 2010
Oilwatch, founded in 1997 in Ecuador, is a global network of NGOs, civil society organizations and community groups in tropical forest, petroleum-producing, countries who are working to resist the negative impacts of oil and gas development. The international secretariat, originally based in Quito, Ecuador, is now in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Oilwatch Southeast Asia is a regional alliance of fossil fuels-affected communities and support organizations: Arakan Oil Watch from Burma; Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM) from Indonesia; Friends of the Earth from Malaysia; Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE) and Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center Inc. (FIDEC) from Philippines, Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk); and Ecological Alert and Recovery – Thailand.
At an informal meeting on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, members of Oilwatch Southeast Asia decided to issue a statement "Go for Solution, not Delusion!" (also Bahasa Indonesia). They also decided to hold a regional meeting of the network in Timor-Leste during 2010.
During the last week of July 2010, Oilwatch representatives from five Southeast Asian countries met in Dili to exchange information, share experiences and strategize about future plans and activities. They expressed concern about Timor-Leste's planned petroleum corridor on the southwest coast, deepwater drilling, and petrochemical activities and onshore pipelines, explaining that "in our countries, such activities and policies have increased poverty, repression, suffering, injustice, displacement, disease, environmental degradation and human rights violations." At the close of their meeting, Oilwatch Southeast Asia issued a statement (also Tetum) "urging Timor-Leste not to copy the mistakes of our countries, but to move cautiously in exploiting Timor-Leste’s oil and gas fields, always remembering to put the interests of its people, especially children, first."
La'o Hamutuk's Radio Igualdade program reported on the meeting and interviewed Andrie Wijaya of JATAM from Indonesia.
They also spoke at a public meeting on the social and environmental impacts of oil and gas exploration and met with Timor-Leste officials and activists. The following are some of their presentations; click on any photo to see it larger:
We will post additional information about Oilwatch Southeast Asia and Timor-Leste in coming weeks.
The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)