January 21, 2010
and Deterioration of Natural Attractions Cancel the
10th Annual Napo River Festival
The Ecuadorian Rivers Institute would like to
thank all of our sponsors, volunteers, and everyone who has participated
in the Napo River Festival over the past nine years.
The Napo River Festival has taken place every January since 2001.
The Festival was an international event which celebrated and promoted
Ecuador's main tributary of the Amazon River.
The Napo River still flows freely without dams, contamination or human
development in its headwaters. It is a living watershed that sustains
an enormous biological and cultural diversity.
The Napo River Festival was initiated to promote the Napo watershed
as a tourist destination . . . as a way to increase local unity and
awareness of the importance and value of the water resources . . . to
highlight cultural traditions . . . and as an educational form for the
promotion of the concepts of sustainable development and conservation.
Regrettably, in the past year we have witnessed the loss and deterioration
of many of the natural attractions that form the cornerstone of the
tourist industry in the region. The current situation is so extreme
that it has compelled our team of organizers to cancel the 10th Annual
Napo River Festival.
The embarrassment caused by the destructive manner in which mining and
development projects have been carried out, the level of impact to local
attractions and the failure of local authorities to control or even
respond to the situation have made it impossible to hold a "Celebration
of the Napo Watershed and Its Importance to Everyone."
The current status of this unique resource to Ecuador and the world
is cause for alarm rather than celebration.
The Ecuadorian Rivers Institute strongly urges the region's authorities
to adopt a plan for economic development and environmental management
that is compatible with the designation of the region as the UNESCO
Sumaco Biosphere Reserve.
The Napo River Festival could one day resume if there is effective
action by the government and local stakeholders to control the inappropriate
activities and begin restoration of the impacted sites, and de-contamination
of the rivers affected, as guaranteed by the Derechos de la Naturaleza
or "Environmental Rights" of the Constitution of the Republic
With great hope for positive response towards a new direction in the
responsible management of the country's natural resources, on behalf
of the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute, I wish to thank all of our
supporters and send out my best regards until our next opportunity to
Ecuadorian Rivers Institute