The National Assembly for the Environment (ANA) organized a march to Montecristi January 23-25, 2008, to present their Environmental Proposal to the Asamblea Constituyente Nacional (“Asamblea” – National Constitutional Assembly, Ecuador’s current de facto legislative branch of government). ANA is composed of a number of national and community organizations from all over the country, concerned with environmental, human rights, and quality-of-life issues. They have been working for the past six months to forge a coherent and inclusive legal Proposal regarding environmental regulation and protection, for the Asamblea to consider including as law in the new Constitution.

Orlando Andagoya and Luis Obando, President and Treasurer of Santa Rosa de Pacto’s community Council, were commissioned to join the ANA delegation and march to Montecristi in representation of the interests of their community, which is threatened by the “E Group concessions” mining project of Avalanche Minerals of Canada. The bus from Pacto reached Montecristi after an overnight journey just in time for breakfast, after which the 500 members of the ANA delegation attended a full day of meetings, a demonstration, and cultural events. The Environmental Proposal was formally presented the last day to the President of the Asamblea Constituyente, Alberto Acosta, who promised to study it thoroughly and spoke to the delegates. Then fifteen members of the group were given the opportunity to speak in five of the Work Tables of the Asamblea about the Environmental Proposal -which rejects both large and medium-scale mining throughout the country. They proposed socio-economic alternatives which emphasize protection of the natural environment as essential for healthy and sustainable long-term national development.

The march was deemed a success, with no negative impacts.  On the contrary, Asamblea members encouraged delegates to return to dialogue with them about the issues and participate in the process from which the new Constitution will arise. —DECONO