Performance highlight

Building agreements for long-term Good Neighborliness in Putumayo, southern Colombia

The acquisition of Amerisur and its assets in Putumayo in 2020 gave us the opportunity to continue offering our proposal for Good Neighborliness.

Successful experiences in other regions of Colombia have shown us that the starting point in securing a solid social license lies in listening, understanding and discussing neighbors’ concerns and expectations about our arrival and development of operational projects in their territories.

In agreement with the neighbors of the Platanillo block in Puerto Asis, Putumayo, and despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, in 2020 we started direct conversations, in person rather than online, on each of the issues that they consider important for a good and harmonious relationship in the territory.

We call these conversations Acuerdos por la Buena Vecindad (Good Neighborliness Agreements), and they foster agreement and understanding with our neighbors, create trust, increase the feasibility of operations in the territory and help reduce social conflict.

Acuerdos por la Buena Vecindad have important benefits in the relationship between communities and our Company: they bring clarity to the expectations of the communities and GeoPark; we identify opportunities to improve and innovate in socio-environmental management; we have clear and open dialogue; we share objective, quality information that reduces tensions in the relationship; and, above all, these agreements guarantee a long-term sustainable relationship based on trust, transparency and the generation of trust in the territory.

Through developing Acuerdos por la Buena Vecindad we have also:

Agreed on clear and transparent rules of the game that represent and make legitimate community expectations regards the Company’s operational presence in their territories.

Identified situations that cause social conflict and recognized which ones are the responsibility of the Company and depend on its management, which correspond to the community, and which must be resolved by government institutions.

Defined a route map for each issue identified, with concrete and measurable actions in the short, medium and long term.

Made realistic and achievable agreements make coexistence, benefits and long-term synergies possible for both GeoPark and the communities.

Defined scenarios and methodologies to monitor and ensure compliance of the agreements between the communities and our Company.

Included the clear and specific definition of rules for the resolution of possible conflicts.

Involved institutions as guarantors to accompany agreements and resolve situations can help reconcile differences.

Built in trust and discipline to dialogue and agreements made

In carrying out the Acuerdos de Buena Vecindad process in Putumayo we defined eight main issues with community representatives in the Platanillo block area of influence. At the publication of this report and after several months’ work, we have defined four agreements that are important for building peace, harmony and trust with the communities. Highlights of these agreements are:

Agreeing GeoPark biosecurity protocols to care for all employees, neighbors and their families. We also agreed on the support that we could give regional authorities on the same matter.

Increasing local participation in our hiring: we increased our 57% local hiring at the beginning of 2020 to 75% by year-end. We also made salary adjustments, homologated positions in accordance with Resolution 2616 (2016) and launched and implemented spaces for the Juntos Sumamos program.

Advancing the Ponernos al Día (Catching Up) initiative by carrying out 33 social projects the previous operator had committed to, and which benefit nearly 300 families through installing solar power systems in homes, developing productive projects in rural areas, providing access to water and improving rural road connectivity.

By creating processes to inform local suppliers and contractors about billing, sign-up and registration processes on the GeoPark platform, we stimulated and encouraged local participation in the acquisition of goods and services. We also defined the process to support strengthening local businesses and developing territorial capacities.

Our Good Neighborliness work continues with upcoming meetings to carry on important conversations on matters such as environmental management, information and participation processes, and expectations regarding high-impact projects with social benefits. We firmly believe that the best way to achieve Good Neighborliness is holding good dialogue.


What the Acuerdos por la Buena Vecindad have taught us

  1. When we fulfil what we have agreed to, we transform skepticism into trust and open effective routes towards opportunities for dialogue, knowledge and improvement.
  2. We show that we want long-term relationships, that we care about the lives of our neighbors and that in return for our growth and success we give back by creating shared value in well-being and social and economic development in the territories we operate in.
  3. Good Neighborliness is built when we put effort and passion into achieving the objectives of social progress in the community and when we go to remote places to listen and understand our neighbors’ concerns, without ever taking a backward step when contributing to their well-being.
  4. Acuerdos por la Buena Vecindad generate benefits for everyone: we know and better understand our neighbors’ expectations and concerns, allowing us to balance the feasibility of operations with an environment of trust and territorial peace. Communities feel respect and recognition and work together to contribute to shared objectives for sustainable development.

The process of dialogue with neighbors in Putumayo and progress in fulfilling the agreements made was reflected in zero roadblocks since June 2020 resulting from disagreement with our operations in Putumayo. We have held over 100 meetings with neighbors of the Platanillo and PUT 8 blocks, which were essential to reach mutual understanding and strengthen dialogue and citizen participation in the territory.