Article by PBI-Canada
A still from this 8-minute video of David Boyd’s speech (in Spanish).
On January 29, El Tiempo reported: “United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David Boyd, mentioned that the Colombian government ‘must pass a law to prohibit fracking’.”
“In light of its obligations under constitutional, international, human rights and environmental law, fossil fuels must be replaced by renewable energies. I respectfully maintain that the government of Colombia must pass a law to prohibit fracking’, he pointed out.”
“In his speech [to a House of Representatives public hearing convened on a bill that seeks to prohibit fracking] he assured that Colombia is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change and the Paris Agreement.”
“Two agreements in which the countries commit to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and move towards clean economies, something that would go against the grain if the country developed this hydraulic fracturing technique to extract gas and oil.”
The article also notes: “[Boyd] mentioned that Costa Rica, Uruguay, France have already enacted laws prohibiting fracking. In the case of Colombia, he recommended that a low-carbon and climate-resistant future should be urgently sought.”
Boyd’s speech was also reported on in Semana and Caracol Radio.
The first licence for a fracking pilot project was awarded by the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) on November 25, 2020 to the Colombian state-owned oil company Ecopetrol for its Kalé project near Puerto Wilches, Santander.
On January 27, the Colombian Minister of Mines and Energy, Diego Mesa, said that two more contracts for fracking pilot projects will be signed in the coming weeks.
One of those contracts could go to ExxonMobil in partnership with Toronto-based Sintana Energy Inc. (and its Colombian subsidiary Patriot Energy) that would likely involve the VMM-37 block in Puerto Wilches, Santander.
Oilprice.com recently reported: “The commercial development of fracking has the potential to be a game-changer for the Andean country’s oil industry because national oil company Ecopetrol estimates that Colombia possesses up to 12 billion barrels of recoverable shale oil and 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas resources.”
In contrast, environmentalists have called for a global ban on fracking given it “torpedoes our global efforts to tackle climate change and violates basic human rights.”
Boyd was appointed as the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment for a three-year term commencing August 1, 2018. He is an associate professor of law, policy, and sustainability at the University of British Columbia.
PBI continues to follow this issue and to provide accompaniment to human rights defenders who oppose fracking in Colombia.