The management of social impacts seeks to manage the social impacts of corporate activities promptly and in accordance with legal and voluntary standards adopted by the company.
Process of community participation in identifying and managing impacts
The process of community participation in the identification and management of impacts is carried out within the constitutional framework promoting the right of Colombians to exercise their civic participation: "The law will ensure community participation in the decisions that may affect it" (National Constitution, Article 79).
Moreover, Article 15 of Decree 2820 states that communities should participate in the scoping of projects, with particular emphasis on impacts and management measures, and that the company should incorporate the management proposals that are deemed appropriate, and which citizens have contributed within this process.
Based on this framework, after consultation on the date, time and place, the process starts with an open call to the communities through legitimate community organizations such as Community Action Boards and Boards Associations in some cases. The meeting aims to inform the affected communities by the project, and develop a participatory workshop to identify the social, environmental, and physical impacts and their respective management measures. In addition, to memos, the necessary informational mechanisms are used to achieve the greatest convocation and the widest possible participation in accordance with the conditions of each specific region.
During the workshop, different methodologies are used to identify the impacts that currently occur in the area before the arrival of the project (impacts without the project), seeking to identify the current state of the affected area in each of the components (biotic, abiotic, socio-economic and cultural). Likewise, different activities are carried out that make it possible to identify the impacts that may be generated by the arrival of the project (impacts with the project) as well as the management measures, with the premise that a detailed and clear description should be made of the activities and stages foreseen for the project, to enable participants to understand and analyze the impacts that may be generated, as well to propose measures for their management.
After analyzing the results of the first workshop, the communities are again convened in order to disseminate the final results of the study, where the communities are presented with the specific elements that will be required for licensing before the relevant environmental authorities, including technical aspects such as the use and exploitation of resources, management measures, etc., as well as the information collected to characterize the communities and regions that may be of value and interest to the inhabitants.
The process described above is formally recorded within the environmental assessment, providing clarity on the contributions of the community and the methodologies implemented within the process.
During the implementation phase of projects, an impacts update is conducted, and if new impacts are identified that were not previously taken into account, the appropriate management measures are defined and implemented.
In the case of projects or business activities to be undertaken in the territories of ethnic groups, citizen participation is carried out in the context of prior consultation in accordance with the provisions of Article 330 of Constitution, Law 21 of 1991, Decree 320 of 1998 and ILO Convention 169.
Main social impacts generated by the Company and measures adopted for their management
Ecopetrol carries out its activities under a standard of prevention and responsible management of all social impacts it generates. First, the Company ensures compliance with the social and legal obligations committed to with the environmental authority, and secondly, it manages other unforeseen impacts identified during the undertaking of activities. An impact is defined as anything that generates changes or alterations, directly or indirectly caused by a project or business activity, on the environment , and the social and economic context of a given territory.
Within the main social impacts generated by the company in its various activities, the following are highlighted:
|MAIN SOCIAL IMPACTS GENERATED|
|1||Disincentivation of the region´s production vocation and petrolization of the regional economy, and change to the employment dynamic.|
|2||Migration caused by the search for employment opportunities and income generation due to the company´s projects.|
|3||Alteration of the archaeological context.|
|4||Involuntary displacement of housing and infrastructure|
|5||Changes in cultural identities|
|6||Deterioration of road infrastructure|
|7||Changes in the Environment|
|8||Generation or increase in particulate matter|
|9||Changes in the management and organization of communities|
|10||Affection of the landscape, disturbances and other impacts that cannot be prevented, mitigated or corrected|
Main measures adopted to manage social impacts:
In response to the social impacts generated by corporate activities, mainly stemming from the projects, work is constantly being done on improving the management measures that have been in execution, seeking that these effectively fulfill the management of the impact and that their execution be efficient and measurable. The main management measures implemented under the social component of the environmental management plans, in accordance with the characteristics of each project and each community, are as follows:
- Information and communication program: Establishment and strengthening of information and participation channels between the company and the communities affected by corporate activities, ensuring timeliness and clarity.
- Program for the hiring of local labor: Hiring of local personnel, primarily unskilled, for the undertaking of project activities. This program, together with the training of personnel related to the project, seeks to control the impact of changes in cultural practices associated with migration and the change in the social environment, by preventing the mass influx of foreign personnel through giving priority to the hiring of personnel from the project area.
- Savannah control program: Seeks to prevent and control the impact generated by the vehicle transit made by project personnel over savannas, outside of defined routes for transit. Transiting over savannas may affect improved pastures or increase the chances of accidents. This measure has been implemented mainly in Llanos Orientales Region.
- Transit program: Actions to minimize the impacts generated by the transit of project equipment. On one hand, timely information is given to communities on the dates and times for the transit of equipment and its implications, in order to define actions to ensure the communities? ability to travel on the roads. On the other hand, the roads are watered in order to minimize the particulate material that results from the passage of vehicles. The latter is carried out during civil works and transit activities, with coverage for the populations nearby to the roads.
- Definitive relocation program: It is put together according to each specific case. The actions are conducted under the criteria of ensuing that involuntary displacement becomes an opportunity to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants, and that the negative impact is compensated and reduced.
All relocation processes take into account the characterization of families, the diagnostic made, consultation meetings with the community and local authorities, appraisals and partial payments to ensure that people at the end of the process have a better home than they initially had, and preferably within the same village. The process begins with preparation and awareness raising for managing the change and ensures key success factors such as negotiation, consultation, decision-making, building bridges of trust, the creation of channels of communication, support in the relocation process and monitoring the improvement in the living conditions of families. Special attention is given to aspects such as the choice of destination sites, the timeliness of payments or partial and controlled payments, locating the new building in safe areas, and organizing the construction and move.