Gran Tierra Energy is committed to respect the rights of employees, contractors, suppliers, and communities within its area of influence in the development of all of its operations and activities.
Although the primary responsibility for the protection of human rights lies with government, GTE promotes and respects these rights through joint actions between society, business and institutions. Through a Human Rights Risk Assessment process, we evaluate how our activities may impact communities. We engage with local communities to understand their human rights concerns and address incidents through dialogue and remedial action, if appropriate. We have established a culturally appropriate, accessible, responsive and transparent grievance mechanism that enables us to identify and address human rights incidents. GTE also has an open-door policy for dialogue with communities near its operations and a well-developed process for resolving any questions or concerns.
Gran Tierra Energy’s Human Rights Policy was developed with a full commitment to respect the internationally recognized human rights incorporated in the International Bill of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization Conventions ("ILO"), including the fundamental rights principles established in the ILO Declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work. Also, with the commitment to apply relevant international standards including:
- The United Nations ("UN") Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights the United Nations ("UN")
- The UN Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights
- The OECD guidelines for multinational companies
- The due diligence guide for responsible business conduct of the OECD
- The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Gran Tierra´s Code of Business Conduct & Ethics
|What are the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights?||The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights is a multi-stakeholder initiative with government, civil society and company participants. It promotes implementation of a set of principles that guide extractive companies on how to provide security for their operations in a manner that respects human rights.|
|What are the Guiding Principles of the United Nations on Business and Human Rights?||The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are the authoritative global standard on business and human rights, unanimously endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council. The 31 principles set expectations of states and companies about how to prevent and address negative impacts on human rights by business.|
GTE continues to take actions at multiple levels to guide its human rights practices:
- Consolidates its human rights and business strategies, with the objective of securing the Company’s reputation as a leader in its approach to human rights.
- GTE also prioritizes having a proactive approach to gender equality/parity and supporting vulnerable populations, such as children, Indigenous and Afro-Communities in Colombia and Ecuador.
There are three main stakeholders when it comes to Gran Tierra’s Corporate Human Rights Policy:
- Employees, Contractors and Suppliers: All employees and contractors receive human rights training. Employees are also trained in the prevention of human rights violations inside and outside the company. Contractors will be required to train their employees to prevent such practices. Employees are supported by a full-time human rights attorney whose job is to ensure that everything the company undertakes, complies with the Voluntary Principles on Human Rights. All GTE employees, contractors and suppliers have the obligation of knowing and respecting the Human Rights policy.
- Local Communities: GTE is committed to a transparent, culturally appropriate and accessible grievance and claim mechanisms that will help facilitate an effective response to any potential incident related to Human Rights.
- State Institutions: GTE will maintain an open dialogue with the local, regional and national government regarding security and Human Rights issues related to the operation. GTE will keep track of Human Rights investigations related to Company operations, and report to the authorities as soon as it becomes aware of any incident.
Engaging Leading Human Rights Experts
GTE and renowned business and human rights experts Shift first collaborated in 2019 to identify and work to address human rights issues related to GTE’s business operations and value chain. Shift is the leading centre of expertise on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The nonprofit organization is chaired by John Ruggie who authored the Guiding Principles during his mandate as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on business & human rights.
Between February and June 2019, GTE worked with Shift to review its national and local human rights context, company policies and previous social impact evaluations. Shift introduced GTE staff to a methodology for effectively assessing human rights risks. Shift also facilitated discussions with GTE’s management, corporate responsibility personnel and other field staff at the company’s operations sites in Putumayo and the Middle Magdalena Valley, in order to build additional capacity within the company for managing human rights issues.
The partnership between Shift and GTE continues today. Gran Tierra is one of 19 companies that participate in Shift’s Business Learning program, which was designed to support companies that are committed to working to fulfill their responsibility to respect Human Rights. In order to qualify for the program, participants must meet the following criteria:
- Evidence of high-level commitment to business and Human Rights
- Demonstrated organizational capacity to drive the implementation process
- Support for the broader, mission-driven learning approach
- Coherence with Human Rights principles
Protecting Human Rights in Ecuador
As an operator in a new country, Gran Tierra must contend with industry legacy impacts that the region may have had. While it is a new company for local Ecuadorian populations in the Sucumbíos province, Gran Tierra’s international experience as a responsible business partner has prepared it well to meaningfully engage communities and manage Human Rights risks in Ecuador. Continued proactive relationship building efforts are key factors in the Company’s ability to demonstrate its respect for protecting Human Rights and its commitment to protecting health safety and the environment to its neighbours.
Prior to any exploration and development work taking place in Ecuador, a Human Rights and Environmental training session was conducted for 35 leaders in the area of influence of GTE’s operations. The session was intended to share knowledge and provide tools to better understand the international rules and regulations that exist to help protect Human Rights, the Environment, and natural resources.
Access to information is a right the Gran Tierra promotes in the regions where it operates. In Ecuador, the Company has implemented a Transparency Committee as an innovative way to facilitate trust and relationship building between communities, local authorities, and GTE. The Committee guarantees a space for dialogue, transparency and community participation to validate regulations, agreements and commitments.
Supporting Colombia’s Reintegration and Reincorporation Efforts
A number of GTE’s efforts are focused on supporting the Colombian government’s reintegration of ex-combatants back into Colombian society. The dynamics of post-conflict situations are complex, but the objective is simple: to support the country’s efforts at achieving a lasting peace. Creating economic opportunities is one of the critical issues facing the reintegration of 13,000 ex-combatants back into Colombian society.
A successful reintegration and peace process will help strengthen the civil society and the economic underpinnings of the country. GTE’s contributions to reintegration are focused on several challenges including; addressing the development of a sustainable cacao industry and protecting at-risk youth from recruitment into criminal groups.
GTE has been recognized for its commitment to multiple human rights projects supporting Colombia’s reintegration efforts by the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN).
Preventing Child Recruitment in Putumayo
Gran Tierra, the FC Barcelona Foundation and Colombia’s Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN), continued their strategic alliance to increase resilience in vulnerable children and reduce their susceptibility to two important Human Rights concerns in the area: substance abuse and militia recruitment.
In 2021, GTE’s Preventing Child Recruitment program was expanded into the municipalities of Villagarzón, Putumayo and San Martín, Cesar, based on its popularity and impact on the youth in Puerto Asís. The participants include vulnerable populations, children living in poverty and descendants of Afro-Indigenous minorities. . The Prevention Child Recruitment program will continue its efforts in 2023.
Financed by GTE, the program is implemented by the Youth Violence Prevention Program of the Barça Foundation and uses football as a unifying tool for children to learn about conflict resolution, prosocial behaviour development and other important life skills. Expected long-term outcomes include stronger, more stable communities, greater education attainment, increased employment and positive health indicators.
According to the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), the project has been effective in preventing forced recruitment of minors, having documented multiple cases of preventions in program participants. The project also helps female victims of sexual and physical violence with psychiatric, emotional and legal support.
“My husband and I both work every day, and we can’t give our boys as much attention as we would prefer. We want their minds set around something positive, to keep them away from negative influences, and we saw that this program could be that framework.”LUZ DARY LAZARO, Mother of Johan, 10, and Jeremy Hernandez, 15
Addressing Legacy Threats to Human Safety
One of the most significant Human Rights threats throughout Colombia is the prevalence of anti-personnel mines and other explosive devices that are an unfortunate legacy of the decades-long conflict in the country.
To address this risk in southern Putumayo where the Company undertakes exploration and development activities, GTE launched a Humanitarian Demining Pilot Project in 2019 with the help of an alliance made up of GTE, the Colombian Campaign Against Mines (CCCM), the Colombian High Commissioner of Peace, Ecopetrol, the United States Department of State and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This important demining project has investigated over 30,000 hectares of land that has now been cleared of anti-personnel mines and declared free of contamination in the Puerto Vega Teteyé area in Puerto Asís.
Because of this project, nearly 3,000 residents of nearby towns can now move about freely along the Puerto Vega- Teteyé corridor without the fear of legacy anti-personnel devices. To date, 285 anti-personnel mines, improvised explosive devices and unexploded munitions have been discovered and cleared with zero accidents and the full support of local communities.
To date, the alliance has demined 25% of the rural territory surrounding Puerto Asís, including 38 of the 152 townships in the municipality. In addition, new activities in the municipality of Orito are freeing new areas from antipersonnel devices which include land mines and unexploded munitions.
Supporting our Stakeholders with Human Rights Training
One of the main pillars of GTE’s Human Rights work involves integrating its policies and concepts into its business. This effort requires extensive training with internal stakeholders to ensure they understand and adhere to the Company’s policies which are designed to protect rights, including:
- Environmental management and licensing, including rights to land, water, and other natural resources.
- Health and Safety, including the right to life, physical integrity and security.
- Social freedom, including rights to protest and exercise legal rights.
Training sessions for a variety of external stakeholders focus on fundamental Human Rights concepts as well as GTE’s policies and scope of responsibility to the community. These sessions look at GTE’s Human Rights best practices and showcase the overall strategy for addressing and managing any Human Rights issues.