Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Greetings MangroveWatch Mangrovers:
Thanks again for your enthusiastic participation in the MangroveWatch Workshop in Krabi. It was a great pleasure to meet a number of old friends again and make new contacts who are engaged in mangrove research and conservation.
As I had mentioned at the workshop closing, the workshop is not the end, but was just the seed to start MangroveWatch - Thailand hub. In our program outline we had called our gathering a "training workshop", but in reality it was more of an "Introduction to Mangrove Watch". The next step for MangroveWatch - Thailand to become functional would involve the formation of local MangroveWatch hubs, consisting of community representatives, government agencies, NGO’s and community coordinating groups and scientists from local research institutes. Additionally, local scientists would require in-depth training on data collection using videography and the analysis of data at the proposed hubs.
During the final group discussion there appeared to be a consensus and real interest in the formation of Mangrove Watch Hub, on the both the Eastern seaboard of the Gulf of Thailand, and in the South on the Andaman Sea coast. This sentiment was echoed at an IUCN BCR workshop in Chantaburi, attended by Norm and Jock following the Krabi workshop. The immediate next step would be to secure funding so that a MW Training Workshop for community members and NGOs involved in data collection and could take place in early 2012 at the earliest, with trainers from MW Australia coming to Thailand to lead this event. IUCN has committed to a follow-up workshop led by Dr Norm in Duke, for potential science hub members in conjunction with coastal week, early December 2011.
We were very pleased to observe lots of informal networking occurring amongst participants at the workshop, so we're happy to attach the workshop participant contact list so that momentum of information exchange can continue. A MW workshop report will be produced in both Thai and English and will be sent out to all of you when it's ready.
I can't get over just how lucky we were with the weather during the workshop, as it rained all day and night on the 9th, 10th & 11th. Serious flooding is now in many areas of the country at the moment.
(Mangrove Action Project)
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Jim Enright, MAP Asia Coordinator, was invited to attend an international conference “Mangroves for Coastal Area Management” during August 7-10 organized by the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), in Chennai, India. The conference was organized to commemorate the International Year of Forestry, and organized by MSSRF in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and Society for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (SICOM), Government of India.
The conference was attended by invited scientists, researchers, conservation experts and policy makers from India and abroad who deliberated on the current status of mangroves in selected countries, community and innovative initiatives in the conservation and sustainable use of mangrove wetland systems. The conference also discussed and identified future research areas and policy interventions, in the emerging scenario of climate change, sea level rise and global warming, so as to ensure saving lives and livelihoods of coastal fishing and farming communities.
Following broad areas were discussed:
• Mangrove Resources – Status, threats and opportunities
• Mangroves and Livelihood: People centric approaches in mangrove conservation, restoration and management
• Ongoing research programmes and future research needs in light of climate change and sea level rise (Systems biology, physiology, genetics, biotechnology, GIS and modelling, ICT etc)
• Coastal zone regulation and wetlands management – Issues and perspectives and policy implications
Jim made a powerpoint presentation on Ecological Mangrove Restoration (EMR) in the Mangroves and Livelihoods session which was well very received. During the field trip to Pichavaram mangroves there was an opportunity to visit a MSSRF initiated Integrated Mangrove Fishery Farming System funded through Mangroves for the Future (MFF) small grant support. The low intensity system will support fish rearing along with prawns and crabs without any artificial feeding while increasing the mangrove buffer greenbelt.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Translation of Report Posted at 11:50 on June, 2nd 2011 (jc/Recife) VIEW ORIGINAL
RIO - A new research released on Wednesday (1st) by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) reveals that the highest concentrations of soil carbon in the Amazon are in mangrove areas, currently threatened by changes of preservation rules in the Forest Code, which have already passed by the Chamber. In these locations the concentration of carbon by up to one meter depth reaches 205 tons per hectare. The average for the soil in the Amazon is of 95 t/ha.
The result surprised IBGE technicians, who predicted a higher concentration of carbon in areas covered by dense forests. "It was a surprise", said geographer Rosa Garrido. For her, the study underscores the strategic importance of mangrove conservation and its fundamental role for the climate equilibrium.
It was also found a high concentration of carbon in campinarana areas, a typical vegetation from the upper Negro River. Today, there is no legal protection for campinaranas. The mangroves are classified as Permanent Preservation Areas (PPAs), but they would be completely unprotected if the changes in the Forest Code are allowed. During the presentation of the geo-statistical publication of Natural Resources of the Amazon, the president of IBGE, Eduardo Nunes, said that this study occurred at an "appropriate time".
It is estimated that in 2002, the reference year of the study, there were approximately 48 billion tons of soil carbon and 45 billion tons of carbon in the remaining vegetation in the region. In the specific case of mangroves, which have higher concentrations of carbon, but occupy a relatively small portion of the area, the stock was of 280 million tons in the soil.
"On average, the world emits 10 billion tons of carbon derived from CO2 per year.", says forester André Almeida. One of the main merits of the study, he says, is the reconstitution of the original stocks (pre-colonization) of the Amazon natural resources. "The stock of carbon that we originally would have in vegetation, of 51 billions of tons, is equivalent to five years of what is being delivered around the world", added André. By 2002, six billions of tons of carbon were removed from that stock by deforestation. In this country, it is estimated that 75% of the CO2 emissions are derived from changes in land use. According to André, the model used in the study is consistent with the emission inventories of greenhouse gases in Brazil. "The stock of carbon can be transformed into carbon credits. Big money is traded in the international market. And a question remains. What is it worth? What do we have in terms of carbon credits in the Amazon? It is important to keep the forest standing", says Trento Natali Filho, another IBGE technician.
According to the publication, at least 2.6 billion trees have been eliminated from the beginning of the occupation of the Amazon by non-indigenous peoples until 2002. In wood volume, it means 4.7 billion cubic meters. Almost half of that loss (1.2 billion trees) occurred in Pará state, The area deforestated by man's action represents 15.3% of the original vegetation of the biome. The losses of trees are concentrated in the east (Pará, Maranhão and Tocantins) and south (Mato Grosso and Rondônia).
Livestock appears as the main responsible for the alteration of the original soil coverage, representing 51.7% of the deforested area. Secondary vegetation (which arises naturally after the abandonment of deforested areas) accounted for 32.1%, and agriculture, to 15.2%. The Amazon Forest is divided into four formation types: Tropical Rain Forests (Dense and Open), and Seasonal Forests (Deciduous and Semideciduous). The Semidecidual Forests, concentrated in the states of Maranhão and Mato Grosso, the so-called arc of deforestation, were the most proportionately affected: It had changed 27.2% of its original area, which places them in situation of high risk. They occur in only 5.4% of the region.
The IBGE adds that "any program to protect the diversity of Amazonian forests should pay particular attention to the seasonal forests, especially when they are in areas of expanding agrosilvipasture. "In absolute terms, the devastation is concentrated in the Dense Rain Forest: 60% of the removed trees in 2002, the highest concentration was in the Amazonas state (7.4 billion), followed by Pará (5.2 billion) and Mato Grosso (1.7 billion).
By Felipe Werneck (Agência Estado)
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
It appears the military in Honduras has taken over the functions and the funding for forest management and conservation from the country’s legally representative office of the Instituto Forestal Areas Protegidas y Vida Silvestre (ICF) (Created by order # 98–2007 (Diario “La Gaceta” # 31544 del 26 de febrero del 2008)) disqualifying those of the Armed Forces. Yet on April 12, 2011, the National Congress approved a measure to authorize the Executive Branch through the Secretary of State for National Defense, the creation of a Special Unit in the Area of Environment and Forestry consisting of two thousand (2,000) military soldiers, It is estimated that the budget to maintain this unit will exceed 150 million Lempiras per year. This sum apparently does not to exist in the coffers of the state and will need to be extracted from the impoverished Honduran people and from international environmental assistance sources as justified by the decree.
Please read the below sample letter and use it as a template or draft your own, expressing your concern that Honduras not make a mockery of its environmental efforts.
Send you email to
Estimada Sr. R. Sanchez at RSanchez@casapresidencial.gob.hn
Sample Letter to President Lobo Sosa below
Mr. Porfirio Lobo Sosa
President of the Republic of Honduras.
Dear Mr. President off Honduras,
I am the executive director of a global network called Mangrove Action Project based in Port Angeles, Washington. We represent over 450 NGO and 300 scientists from over 60 nations, working towards conservation and restoration of our planets mangrove forests.
I am writing you now because I have read a disturbing article concerning loss of forest protection in Honduras. It appears the military in your nation has taken over the functions and the funding for forest management and conservation from your legally representative office of the Instituto Forestal Areas Protegidas y Vida Silvestre (ICF) (Created by order # 98–2007 (Diario “La Gaceta” # 31544 del 26 de febrero del 2008)).
We at MAP are urging you to re-empower the ICF so that it can do its lawful job and fulfill its intended responsibilities in protecting your country's forests and decreasing the problems of forest fires contributing to air pollution and climate change.
Because of serious lack of funds, the ICF never had the necessary budget, and some part of that intended budget was transfered to the armed forces (FFAA) for more than three years of operation. Please use your powers to ensure that the ICF is able to satisfactorily meet with its constitutional responsibilities and retrieve the budget that they have been authorized to use by the government. Please place back in the hands of the ICF these powers that the armed forces took away.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
A fun and exciting Art Contest for children 6 to 14 years old
We invite all primary school children from tropical and sub-tropical nations, and whose schools are located near mangroves, to create art telling us "why mangroves are important to me and my community".
Selected winners will be published in a 2012 calendar to be distributed internationally to raise awareness of mangrove forest ecology. This creative contest aims to promote appreciation and awareness of mangrove forests, and to encourage and listen to creative voices of children living in mangrove areas.
Help us launch this program in your school by contacting science and art teachers in your area and encourage them to work together on this fun and innovative project.
Technique: Paint, color pencil, ink, collage, pastel, crayons, etc
Dimensions: Canvas, or paper, 45 cms x 30 cms. (18 in. x 12 in)
The Art Work should be in a format horizontal (long length across, the shorter length vertical), in order to fit on the calendar page. (We had received wonderful art work in a vertical format, but sadly were unable to use it. )
Artist Identification: On the back of each art work please write in English: the full name and age of the artist, the school name, address, city or town, country, and title of art work.
Age Limit: from 6-13 years old
Mailing instructions: The artwork has to be mailed in a small tube, such as the ones for mailing posters. Make sure the art is sent in certified or registered mail to MAP, PO Box 1854, Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279, USA.
How will entries be judged?
Each school will hold its own exhibition and select 3 or more winners in art. Winning entries will be collected in each country by a participating NGO and then mailed to MAP's office to be judged by a team of artists.
What are the prizes?
-1st Prize will receive a certificate + calendar and the recognition of being published in an International calendar with global distribution.
-2 nd Prize
-3 rd Prize
School will receive 2 Calendars
NGOs will receive10 Calendars.
When is the deadline?
Please, we must receive the artwork in MAP's office by the end of July, 2011.
Mailed to: PO Box 1854,.Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279, USA
Please mail in a tube or flat in a box, but not folded!
Who do I contact?.
Please let us know if your school plans to participate by contacting:
Calendar Project Coordinator
c/o Mangrove Action Project
PO Box 1854
Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279, USA
tel./ fax (360) 452-5866
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and
All entries selected at the national level should be submitted to the same address.
Your local NGO contact is: (Please fill this in.)
Some suggested Field Trip and Classroom Lessons
It is suggested that this contest could coincide with an Associated Mangrove Ecology Educational Project with the children. This lesson will highlight the importance of mangrove forests for the environment, for their community, for fishermen and/or for the associated mangrove forest fauna. The intent of this educational project is to help the participating children better comprehend the important role mangroves play in their lives and for their communities.
1- Information and guidance in the classroom, aided by text books, mangrove curriculum, slides and videos.
2.- Eco-Study Field trips for firsthand observation with the teacher and/ or a local resource person, where they can observe the myriad forms of life that inhabit the mangroves, such as the many colored birds, fish, crabs, mollusks, reptiles, mammals, and insects, while also learning about the unique characteristics of the associated mangrove plants and trees.
3.- During, or after, the field trips, the children can hold interviews with their parents or local fishermen about the mangroves in their region, learning more about the history of the area's mangrove forest, as well as why they are important and what the problems are when the mangroves are lost.
4 - As a result of this research, the children may wish to create artwork for the 2012 calendar art competition.
Monica Alicia Paz Gutierrez-Quarto,
Calendar Project Coordinator
Mangrove Action Project
When referencing the article regarding carbon sequestration in MAP News ISSUE #261, we want to emphasize certain salient points that reinforce MAP's position since our founding in 1992:
We at MAP would like to urge our readers to review the referenced article on the importance of mangroves in sequestering and especially in below ground storage of carbon. The following excerpted points are especially relevant to MAP's stance on mangroves since our founding in 1992:
"Tropical wetland forests (for example, peatlands) contain organic soils up to several metres deep and are among the largest organic C reserves in the terrestrial biosphere11–13. Peatlands’ disproportionate importance in the link between land use and climate change has received significant attention since 1997, when peat fires associated with land clearing in Indonesia increased atmospheric CO2 enrichment by 13–40% over global annual fossil fuel emissions11. This importance has prompted calls to specifically address tropical peatlands in international climate change mitigation strategies7,13.
Overlooked in this discussion are mangrove forests, which occur along the coasts of most major oceans in 118 countries, adding ∼30–35% to the global area of tropical wetland forest over peat swamps alone4,6,12. Renowned for an array of ecosystem services, including fisheries and fibre production, sediment regulation, and storm/tsunami protection2–4 , mangroves are nevertheles declining rapidly as a result of land clearing, aquaculture expansion, overharvesting, and development2–6. A 30–50% areal decline over the past half-century1,3 has prompted estimates that mangroves may functionally disappear in as little as 100 years (refs 1,2). Rapid twenty-first century sea-level rise has also been cited as a primary threat to mangroves14, which have responded to past sea-level changes by migrating landward or upward15 ..."
"Carbon emissions from land-use change in mangroves are not well understood. Our data suggest a potential for large emissions owing to perturbation of large C stocks. The fate of below-ground pools is particularly understudied, but available evidence suggests that clearing, drainage, and/or conversion to aquaculture—aside from affecting vegetation biomass—also decreases mangrove soil C significantly16,22,26–28. In upland forests, the top 30 cm of soil are generally considered the most susceptible to land-use change9; however in wetland forests, drainage and oxidation of formerly suboxic soils may also influence deeper layers29. .."
From this study reference is made to the following as a recent estimate of present global mangrove area:
"Coupled with published ranges of mangrove deforestation rate (1–2%; refs 1,4) and global area (13.7–15.2 million ha; refs 4,6),"
This must reflect that recent study that put present area of mangroves at 12% less than the previous accepted FAO estimates of 15 million ha. This study on Carbon footprint regarding various wetland and upland forests types provides excellent reference material for better reflection upon the truly significant role coastal wetlands, including mangroves and peatlands play in combating climate change, and how their rapid rates of loss pose grave threats to life on our planet.
A final point the study cites concerning the resilience of mangroves to adapt to rising sea levels is sobering, and this point was raised by MAP's director at the "Mangroves As Fish Habitat" conference in Miami, Florida nearly a decade ago:
"In addition to direct losses of forest cover, land-use activities will also impact mangrove responses to sea-level rise14,15. Man- groves have been remarkably persistent through rapid sea-level rises (5–15 mm yr−1 ) during the late Quaternary Period (0–18,000 yr bp) because of (1) landward migration, and (2) autogenic changes in soil-surface elevation through below-ground organic matter production and/or sedimentation15. Under current climate trends, sea level is projected to rise 18–79cm from 1999–2099 (higher if ice-sheet melting continues accelerating)8,30, implying a period- averaged rate of ∼1.8–7.9 mm yr−1 , notwithstanding local variations and temporal nonlinearities. Although this rate is not unprecedented, it is unclear yet whether mangroves are currently keeping pace with sea levels14,15. Anthropogenic influences could constrain future resilience to sea-level rise through coastal developments that impede inland migration (for example, roads, infrastructure), upland land uses that alter sediment and water inputs (for example, dams, land clearing), and mangrove degradation that reduces below-ground productivity14. This synergy of land use and climate change impacts presents additional uncertainties for the fate and management of coastal C stores... "
"...Because land use in mangroves affects not only standing stocks but also ecosystem response to sea-level rise, maintaining these C stores will require both in situ mitigation (for example, reducing conversion rates) as well as facilitating adaptation to rising seas. The latter challenge is largely unique to management of coastal forests, calling for watershed-scale approaches, such as landscape buffers for accommodating inland migration where possible, maintenance of critical upstream sediment inputs, and addressing degradation of mangrove productivity from pollution and other exogenous impacts14,15."
Saturday, April 2, 2011
A movement of local protesters has stopped the mine once before, and this week they bravely blocked major roads in a desperate bid for the government's attention. But the global consortium backing the mine has launched a massive lobbying effort to win, flying MPs to Europe for VIP coal tours. Wikileaks cables even show the US ambassador lobbying for them.
Now, the movement has appealed to our global network for solidarity -- to raise a worldwide outcry to counter the international financiers and stop this mine. Prime Minister Hasina has spoken out against the mine, but she is under enormous pressure to approve it. Let's build a massive petition urging the Prime Minister to side with her citizens and their environment by rejecting the devastating mine -- local organisations will deliver it to the Prime Minister and consortium if we reach 300,000 signatures.
Please sign the petition!
To Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina:
We call on you to listen to the people of Bangladesh and protect people and planet by rejecting Global Coal Management Resources’ proposal for open-pit coal mining in Phulbari.CLICK HERE TO SIGN!
World Bank’s forest climate fund slammed for sidelining indigenous peoples’ rights and failing to protect forests
DALAT, Vietnam (23 March 2011) – A new report launched today at the 8th meeting of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) reveals that the Bank is not fulfilling its promises to protect the rights of forest peoples. Smoke and Mirrors: a critical assessment of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility by Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and FERN exposes the World Bank’s failure to uphold its commitments on human rights and its engagement in never-ending changes to its social and environmental policies, weakening its accountability to affected communities and the public. Co-author of the report, Francesco Martone, FPP policy advisor, said:
The FCPF is backsliding on its social commitments, using a smokescreen of constantly changing standards and guidance notes that pay lip service to forest peoples’ rights, governance and benefit-sharing without clear binding rules that would hold the Bank and recipient governments accountable. The whole question of which standards apply to the FCPF has just become more complicated as the Fund now plans to use different international agencies to implement its projects...
The FCPF is administered by the World Bank. It is one of the main international climate initiatives set up to fund developing country schemes for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). The report finds serious faults in government proposals seeking FCPF funding for planning and preparation activities in support of REDD schemes. It finds that while proposals for monitoring and measuring forest carbon are well-advanced, plans for activities that could actually reduce deforestation, such as clarifying and securing land rights and dealing with corruption and weak governance in the forest sector, are poor. Kate Dooley, FERN’s policy advisor, said:
In none of the eight REDD preparation plans developed by the governments of Panama, Guyana, Peru, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Nepal and Indonesia are land rights adequately addressed or existing land conflicts acknowledged. Proposals for governance reform are often limited to setting up new institutions to oversee forest carbon trading, at the expense of legal reform, including land tenure.
Many of the governments applying for funds have laws and national policies which are contrary to their international obligations to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities. Smoke and Mirrors shows that these shortcomings are ignored in REDD “readiness” proposals and, more worryingly, indigenous peoples and local communities are often unjustly blamed for deforestation. Onel Masardule of the Foundation for the Promotion of Indigenous Knowledge in Panama said:
The FCPF must uphold indigenous peoples’ rights in line with its commitments. FCPF decisions on financing for national proposals for REDD must respect the demands of indigenous peoples without whom forest and climate schemes will not work. Full respect for our right to free, prior and informed consent is essential, yet this fundamental safeguard is missing in FCPF policies and World Bank safeguards...
In Peru the government plans for REDD have attracted heavy criticism from indigenous peoples’ organisations for failing to address land conflicts and outstanding territorial claims. Daysi Zapata, Vice President of AIDESEP in Peru said:
The FCPF says that all its activities will ensure that countries meet their obligations to respect the rights of indigenous peoples, yet state plans in Peru are not respecting our collective rights, including our rights to territories and free prior and informed consent. We have not travelled for two days to reach Vietnam for nothing: we have come here to obtain firm guarantees that our rights will be respected and that the FCPF lives up to its promises....
The authors of the report are further concerned that the FCPF intends to move ahead with plans to make agreements to pay governments from its Carbon Fund before countries have completed the preparatory work that is required to ensure that future actions to curb forest emissions are fully sustainable.
The report concludes that the FCPF Carbon Fund and finance for emission reduction agreements must not move ahead until readiness actions are completed and the social and environmental safeguards are strong enough to uphold human rights and protect the environment.
The full report is available at:
In Vietnam - Conrad Feather: 0084 1254154032 conrad@
Daysi Zapata: via 0084 1254154032
Onel Masardule: email@example.com
Note to readers:
FERN is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) created to keep track of the European Union’s involvement in forests and coordinate NGO activities at the European level. Our work centres on forests and forest peoples’ rights and the issues that affect them such as trade and investment and climate change. All of our work is done in close collaboration with social and environmental organisations and movements across the world. The name FERN was chosen because ferns are one of the few species that grow in all forests.
Forest Peoples Programme is a non-governmental human rights organisation that works in South and SE Asia, Central Africa and South and Central America and internationally to support the rights of peoples who live in forests and depend on them for their livelihoods. Our work aims to counter top-down forest, conservation and development policies and make international finance institutions accountable to affected peoples and communities.
Forest Peoples Programme
Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 9NQ
Sunday, February 20, 2011
The regional Colombian government agency, CORALINA, that established and manages the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve and Marine Protected Area (MPA), has submitted an “Accion Popular” against Colombia’s National Agency of Hydrocarbons (ANH) to halt leases to Reposol-YPF and Ecopetrol to begin oil exploration inside the borders of the Seaflower MPA.
An “Accion Popular” is a legal instrument granted to citizens by Colombia’s National Constitution (Art. 88) that allows them to seek protection of collective rights and interests related to their homelands, environment, public safety, health, etc. The legal action was presented to the High Tribunal by CORALINA’s general director, Elizabeth Taylor-Jay on Wednesday, February 16.
Seaflower -- located in the Archipelago of San Andres, Old Providence, and Santa Catalina in the Southwestern Caribbean -- has been a member of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2000 and is on the tentative list of proposed World Heritage Sites.
The largest MPA in the Caribbean and among the largest in the world, it spreads over 65,000 square kilometers (6.5 million hectares) and encompasses 76 percent of Colombia’s coral reefs and the most extensive open ocean reef systems in the Caribbean; more than 2,000 km2 of productive coral reef ecosystems with atolls, barrier reefs, fringing reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, and lagoons. All the mangroves in the Seaflower are fully protected in "no-take" zones, with the two largest forests having additional protection as a national park and community-run regional park, respectively.
The MPA is known to be exceptionally rich in marine biodiversity for the region -- to date more than 407 species of fish, 48 hard corals, 54 soft corals, 130 sponges, 157 birds, and many other significant species have been identified, along with 192 IUCN red-listed species including sea turtles, marine mammals, hydrocorals, and others. The archipelago was declared a Significant Bird Area by BirdLife International in 2004 and is part of the western Caribbean biodiversity “hotspot.”
Besides its unique environment, San Andres also has a long social history distinct from that of Colombia. The descendants of the original inhabitants, now called raizales, are recognized as an indigenous people internationally and protected as an ethnic minority nationally. The Seaflower MPA was established in 2005, with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and resulted from a uniquely participatory process between CORALINA and the local community. This innovative MPA protects the livelihoods and tenure of the indigenous people, integrating conservation with sustainable fishing, harvesting, and locally run tourism.
CORALINA’s work in establishing Seaflower was recognized in 2008 by IUCN as one of the 60 most significant approaches to conservation that will influence the environment in the coming century. Last October the Seaflower MPA took top honors as the initiative that best realized the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) in Nagoya, Japan, beating out more than 1,100 other organizations around the world, both governmental and non-governmental, for its ground-breaking efforts in sustainability.
In addition to conserving marine biodiversity and ecosystems, "the intention is to open an umbrella of possibilities of livelihoods, including low-impact aquaculture, and some alternatives on land such as iguana farming which is done by the fishers in some places, and also creating interpretation trails [for tourism]," Taylor-Jay, told the BBC at COP 10 after the award was announced.
The Popular Action claims that the oil leases violate the Convention on Biological Diversity, which the Colombian Congress ratified in the National Law 165 of 1994, as well as the rights of the indigenous people of the archipelago, whose rights are protected by the National Constitution (Art. 310) and by international instruments including ILO Convention 169 that protects tribal and indigenous people, ratified by Colombia in National Law 21 of 1991, and the recent United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, approved by Colombia in April 2009. The participatory process to establish the Seaflower MPA was presented by invitation last year at the UN Ninth Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City.
Most residents of the islands are strongly opposed to the oil exploration, along with local and national non-governmental organizations that have publicly rejected the leases, including the archipelago’s Old Providence Foundation and Colombia’s Fundacion ICRI (International Coral Reef Initiative).
To sign the Old Providence Foundation’s petition against the oil exploration, go to:
To contribute to strengthen management of the Seaflower MPA and its community-based livelihood projects, go to The Ocean Foundation, Friends of the Seaflower: