Round table talks between numerically small indigenous peoples of
Press Centre of the
Yesterday in the
The project operators where represented at the meeting by the General Director of OAO NK “Rosneft-Sakhalinmorneftegaz”, Ramil Valitov, as well as representatives of “Exxon Neftegaz ltd.” (operator of
Representatives of indigenous peoples asked the attendants to consider and eventually sign a joint memorandum. It re-emphasises the direct harmful effect of the oil industry’s activities on the environment as well as on the indigenous peoples of the area.
In order to achieve a full assessment of the scale of the impact and to develop a strategy for future activities they proposed to undertake an ethnological assessment, which would be financed by a special fund to be set up by the oil companies.
Representatives of oil companies recognised that their activity has a negative impact on the environment – just as any other industrial production. But they declared that they were acting in accordance with current Russian legislation. Furthermore all companies were lending direct assistance to the indigenous peoples. Special emphasis was put on the fact that all project operators were using loans by the World Bank, which strictly controls compliance with indigenous peoples’ rights.
No concrete decisions were taken. Oil company representatives said that they were ready for further talks and would consider the proposed document. Possibly there will be formed a special working group to formulate the memorandum. A follow-up meeting was proposed, but no specific date fixed.
After the meeting, Pavel Sulyandziga said that he was not satisfied with its outcome. “I have the impression that company representatives fail to understand how serious our concerns are. Furthermore, we insist that only an ethnological assessment will be able to identify the damage, for which oil companies will have to make compensations. We have the experience in conducting such assessments. Last year a similar approach has been tested in Salekhard. Our Association will lend all necessary assistance to the indigenous peoples of
 i.e., the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues – The Editor.