Addressing Cultural Heritage and Human Rights: Integration of Archaeological Impact Management in Sensitive O&G Operations Bolivia
- Irene B. Roca Ortiz (Total E&P Bolivie)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE International Conference and Exhibition on Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility, 16-18 April, Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2018. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1 Processing Systems and Design, 7.2 Risk Management and Decision-Making, 7 Management and Information, 4 Facilities Design, Construction and Operation, 7.2.1 Risk, Uncertainty and Risk Assessment
- Archaeological Impact Manegement, Cultural Heritage
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- 50 since 2007
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The aim of this article is to share the experience of Total E&P Bolivie (hereinafter referred as "TEPBO" or "the Company") on the implementation of an Archaeological management Plan (AMP), which ensured a proper archaeological impact management on the Ipati-Aquio blocks operations. These operations are located whitin the Alto Parepeti Indigenous territory in the Bolivian lowlands region.
We base our analysis on field experiences and lessons learned after an incidental archaeological discovery of a pre-Hispanic Cementery during the construction works of the Incahuasi Gas Processing Facility (CPF) located within a Guarani Indigenous Territory.
This incidental archaeological discovery triggered public controversies pointing archaeological, social and human rights impacts; with important consequences for the Company, in terms of reputation, relationship with stakeholders and also financial consequences due to the relocation of the planned facility on the archaeological site. In order to ensure the non recurrence of this impact, solve the public controversies and tackle societal risks for future operations, TEPBO implemented an integral strategy leaded by the Social Team and accompanied by Archaeology specialists. It implied, in first order, a set of mitigation measures based on agreements with the Guarani community to address the direct impact on Cultural heritage, ritual and symbolic place of ancestral human burials. On the other hand, in order to address the risks of archaeological impact on future operations, TEPBO designed and implemented an AMP.
The AMP is based on preventive measures: i) previous participative social and archaeological assessments; ii) monitoring during the construction phases, in order to identify possible archaeological material; and, if it where the case, ensure the application of the Archaeological finding procedure. This procedure requires going beyond legal and technical archaeological works by ensuring a proper communication, consultation and dialogue.
Through close collaboration, the implementation of the Plan helped to rebuild a trusting relationship with the Guarani Community at different levels and with regional authorities. To date, it also helped to prevent recurrence of impacts on Cultural heritage and Indigenous rights, by the non repetition of archaeological impact.
Over the last 2 years, the Company and contractors actively integrated archaeological risk management from the early stages of any new project and on during the execution.
The AMP thought the Guaraní community about their ancesters and also helped the community to increase- awareness about their cultural heritage. In their Strategic Planning (called Life's Plan) they included Archaeology within its Cultural Heritage Program. As well in latest consultation process during the Envionmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the Guarani community insisted to include not only prevention and mitigation measures for archaeological impact, but also the diffusion in community schools.
TEPBO archeological experience thought us that compliance with regulations is necessary, but not sufficient to manage risks adequately. Achieve a proper engagement, consultation and dialogue with communities is crucial in impact management, especially in regard of Cultural Heritage in Indigenous Territories. Archeological findings, especially human burials, are not just a technical issue: it is overall a symbolic, cultural and therefore human rights issue.
Mitigation of archaeological impact by granting non recurrence of an impact may allow positive effects on cultural empowerment in communities. The conflict became an opportunity to raise cultural heritage awareness among operational staff, and the guarani embraced their heritage in their Life's Plan.
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