Thursday, March 31, 2016

MAP Issue 387, April 2, 2016

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The MAP News
387th Edition                               April 2, 2016

FEATURE STORY

Protecting the Sundarbans is our national duty
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BANGLADESH - The Sundarbans, the last reserve forest in the country and a world heritage site, is again under attack. On March 19, 2016, a cargo vessel carrying 1,300 tonnes of coal sank in Shela River of the Sundarbans. This incident, along with other similar cases of oil and cement-laden cargo sinking since 2014, clearly illustrates the enormity of the threat of carrying coal through the forest and of coal-related pollution in the power generation process of the Rampal coal-fired power plant. Earlier in the oil spillage disaster on December 2014, the government was hopelessly ill-prepared to control the damage. The local population came forward with whatever knowledge they had to clean up the oil from the river, risking their lives and health. We did not see any effective action from the government except a flurry of rhetoric. In the last one year, the government has repeatedly promised to stop the plying of vehicles through this route within the Sundarbans. These words have proved to be hollow and that's why we have seen another disaster in the Sundarbans. We can only conclude from the government's lacklustre attitude that they are not sincere about protecting the mangrove forest. READ MORE

AFRICA

Time to End “Blood Oil” Disaster in the Niger Delta
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NIGERIA - The Niger Delta’s legendary “blood oil” disaster has persisted for decades, and is now deepening. Oil in the Delta fuels a dangerous mix of environmental devastation, a violent militancy that has killed thousands, human rights abuses, corporate greed and exploitation, epidemic corruption, massive oil theft, sabotage, repression, poverty, anger and despair. It is time to put an end to this ongoing atrocity, once and for all. The 30,000 square mile Niger Delta — including rich coastal waters, islands, mangroves swamps, and rainforests — was once one of the most productive and diverse ecological habitats on Earth. But today, after 60 years of oil extraction, the region’s environment and society are devastated — a textbook example of the “oil curse.“ The Delta is arguably the most severely oil-damaged environment anywhere in the world. READ MORE

Turtles Key as Kenya Balances Ecology, Development
KENYA - Kenya is striving to strike a balance between developing its 330 miles (530 kilometers) of coastline for a billion-dollar tourism industry that employs a half-million people and preserving the environment that attracts those visitors. As the East African nation does so, some experts say that turtles are key, because they are so picky when it comes to laying eggs that if the right environment is maintained for them, then things are going well. Kenya's record is mixed in protecting endangered turtles, but is going pretty well, a top wildlife official says. One of several sore spots for conservationists and locals — and not least of all, the turtles — is a hotel of former Renault F1 tycoon Flavio Briatore, 25 kilometers (16 miles) north of here. READ MORE

ASIA

Synchronicity Earth Keen to Learn from Local Communities
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By Manon Whittaker, MAP Asia Intern
THAILAND - From March 29th to 31st MAP Asia had the great pleasure to receive Jim Pettiward, communications strategist, at Synchronicity Earth a funder and collaborator of MAP since 2014. This is the first time MAP Asia has received a visitor from Synchronicity Earth.  “It’s much more interesting and valuable to see and experience projects on the ground rather than just read reports, if you want to really understand the issues” stated Jim. MAP Asia staff had the occasion to show Jim Pettiward around six mangrove restoration sites utilizing the Community-based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) method within the provinces of Krabi and Phang Nga, Southern Thailand. The local community representatives at different sites were available allowing us to exchange information and ask questions directly to the villagers concerned with the mangrove restoration projects. READ MORE
 
SAM calls for shrimp farms to be closed
MALAYSIA - The Penang state government has been urged to shut down aquaculture farms in Balik Pulau and repossess mangrove forests which had been given to the Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda). The environmental group Sahabat Alam Malaysia said shrimp farms in the area were a threat to the environment and to the livelihood of more than 1,000 coastal fishermen. SAM president SM Mohamed Idris alleged that the environmental problem began more than 10 years ago after Perda obtained ownership of the mangroves at Lot 802, covering an area of 93 hectares or 230 acres, and leased the land for aquaculture. He urged the state government to repossess the land and the area to be gazetted a permanent reserve forest, with rehabilitation of the mangroves and replanting with suitable species. Idris said the problems had worsened after shrimp farmers expanded their project areas, destroying vast areas of mangrove forests and discharging poisonous waste into the waterways. READ MORE
 
Protesters call for an independent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of Rampal coal plants
BANGLADESH - The Sundarbans, as the world’s largest mangrove forest, is home to more than 300 species of plants, 200 species of fish, 315 species of birds and 49 species of mammals. And soon, the World Heritage site will sit just over eight miles south from two huge coal plants — planned developments that many worry will damage the air and water quality of the forest and destroy the livelihoods of the thousands in Bangladesh and India. Since the Rampal plant is a joint project of India’s state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation and Bangladesh’s Power Development Board, getting a government agency to conduct the EIA “raises questions on the objectivity of the report,” a study on the coal plants by South Asians for Human Rights states. READ MORE

AMERICAS

Hidden Gems: A Visit to Birch State Park
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by Liz Cunningham | Mar 10, 2016
USA - Hugh Taylor Birch had a memory of the wild coast he discovered, where marlin and swordfish weighing hundreds of pounds filled the waters and thousands of turtles laid their eggs on the beach. Without his wise action, Birch State Park wouldn’t exist, nor the three miles of public beach which gives Fort Lauderdale a beautiful waterfront and for many people, their livelihood. Preserving mangroves is no peripheral exercise. There are two main pathways to dealing with climate change. One: stop pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The other? Get carbon out of the atmosphere. Mangroves store fifty times more carbon in their soil per square meter than the same amount of Amazon rainforest. To restore our earth we not only need to protect and restore remote places, but the small gems of nature in some of the most densely-populated parts of the world. And the people who do that—park rangers, volunteers, board members, donors—they too are the hidden gems of the world. READ MORE

Stress in mangrove forests: Early detection and preemptive rehabilitation
By Robin Lewis
USA - Mangrove forest rehabilitation should begin much sooner than at the point of catastrophic loss. We describe the need for “mangrove forest heart attack prevention”, and how that might be accomplished in a general sense by embedding plot and remote sensing monitoring within coastal management plans. The major cause of mangrove stress at many sites globally is often linked to reduced tidal flows and exchanges. Blocked water flows can reduce flushing not only from the seaward side, but also result in higher salinity and reduced sediments when flows are blocked landward. Long-term degradation of function leads to acute mortality prompted by acute events, but created by a systematic propensity for long-term neglect of mangroves. Often, mangroves are lost within a few years; however, vulnerability is re-set decades earlier when seemingly innocuous hydrological modifications are made (e.g., road construction, blocked tidal channels), but which remain undetected without reasonable large-scale monitoring. Download #100

Baja's desert mangroves suck up carbon dioxide
USA - As climate change has heightened concerns about the global decline of mangroves, a new study found that such ecosystems along the desert coast of Baja California may be more important than previously thought for keeping heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.Researchers at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography discovered that despite their short and stunted appearance, mangroves in these desert locations had surprisingly high rates of sequestering carbon underground. In some cases, the ability was several times greater than that of lush mangroves in tropical locations.“Desert mangroves specifically in Mexico, which are much smaller and cover a very small total land area, sequester comparable amounts of carbon to tropical mangroves in tropical rainforests,” said Paula Ezcurra, a scientist at Scripps and lead author of the new report. READ MORE

LAST WORD(S)

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A monitor lizard looks for food in trash-filled Phra Khanong canal, Bangkok. International World Water Day is marked annually on March 22 to focus global attention on the importance of water and advocate sustainable water resource management.PHOTO BY PATIPAT JANTHONG



Dt : Jan 4, 2016

SHRI PRAKASH JAVADEKAR
Hon’ble Minister (E, F& CC)(I/C)
Government of India
6 Kushak Road, New Delhi 110 001
Ph 011 24695127 Fax 011 23011317
Mail: vinay.s@gov.in

Sub: Save Sundarban to protect existence of homosapien on earth

Dear Sir

Human race could have lasted on earth for 60,000 years if we have not damaged the environment which brought it down to few hundred years only. The most important single factor responsible is increase of carbon dioxide in the air which is increasing at an alarming rate after 1850. Now only one third of the carbon dioxide we are releasing to atmosphere is getting converted back to carbon by the woods and two third is increasing its concentration in atmosphere with predicted global warming, damage to water cycle on which human race fully depends.

We are going to face this dooms day in a short time unless we try to reduce the CO2 in air. Forests transforms CO2 back to carbon but worldwide denuding of forest has brought us to this stage of self-destruction. For our existence on earth we have to develop and avoid damage to the existing forest to protect the water cycle on which our agriculture fully depend .

Importance of Sundarban is multifarious including saving environment and biodiversity in this zone, on which life of man and animals, fish etc, fully depends. Sundarban and tiger is two side of same coin as one can’t be saved without the other. To survive tiger needs forest and for protecting Sundarban we need tigers. One tiger can protect 10kmx10km very easily which can’t be done by hundreds of guards who can be bribed easily. Huge pressure from human has reduced sundarban to its present size which is less than one third of the original size. Human pressure is so much that if tiger is not in Sundarban the forest will become human habitat in no time

Damage to the Sundarban and biodiversity by human encroachment is more than 10% as predicted in many research papers. Over the years there is population explosion is the Sundarban biosphere by natural growth and migration form Bangladesh & other part of India. Most of them depend on collection of minor forest produce as they have no other means of living. More than 33,000 families in the Sundarban fringe community, venture more than two times per month in the forest of duration 3- 10 days for collection of minor forest produce; resulting enormous damage to the forest. In the process they also get killed by tiger and crocodile but it has not stopped their encroachment. Fear of heavy punishment ie 3-7 years in jail and fine of IRS 2,00,000 failed to stop encroachment which is increasing day by day. There are hundreds of families who lost more than 4-5 members over three generations in fishing in Sundarban but are still going to forest as there is no other means of living.

There are many other causes of damage to the Sundarban which can’t be controlled due to politics & Govt policies like the Rampal Episode which alone will destroy Sundarban. But we should try to remove the causes which can be controlled by national & international community like human encroachment to forest

With Best Regards

Nakul Jana - President
Sunderban TigerWidow Welfare Society
51A, Lake Place
Kolkata- 700 029,India
Ph- +91 98364 77465
www.tigerwidows.in

CC to

1) Director World Heritage Centre UNESCO
7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07 SP, France
Tel.: +33 (0)1 45 68 24 96
Fax: +33 (0)1 45 68 55 70
E-mail: wh-info@unesco.org

2) India Country Director, World Bank,
70 Lodi Estate , New Delhi 110003
Tel: +91-11-41479301 / 49247000
Mail: indiaexperts@worldbank.org, president@worldbank.org

3) Dr Donald Macintosh MFF Senior Advisor
MFF Regional Secretariat
63, Soi Prompong Sukhumvit Soi 39, Wattana
10110 Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66 2 662 4029
Mail: donald@mangrovesforthefuture.org

4) The Director General The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Rue Mauverney 28, 1196 Gland, Switzerland
Ph +41 22 9990000 Fax +41 22 9990002
mail: mail@iucn.org

5) John Seed, Director - Save mangroves
The Rainforest Information Centre
Box 20681, Nimbin, NSW 2480 Australia
email rainforestinfo@ozemail.com.au, johnseed1@ozemail.com.au

 6) The Director General WWF-International
1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 364 9111
Direct: +41 22 364 9292 Fax: +41 22 364 5468
E-mail: ndesantignac@wwfint.org

7) The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
 62-63 Upper Street, London, N1 0NY.
Ph +44 (0) 207 3547960
Email: ukinfo@eia-international.org

8) Global Nature Fund (GNF)
Fritz-Reichle-Ring 4
78315 Radolfzell, Germany
Phone +49 7732 9995-0
Fax +49 7732 9995-88
E-Mail info@globalnature.org
Website www.globalnature.org
 

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Petition for Shrimper's Rights
The benefit for those who harvest wild shrimp in the state of Louisiana and possible health issues involved with consuming possibly diseased imports outweigh the savings to the consumer. Please sign this petition to insure imported shrimp stay off market and help insure the future of Louisiana's fishing families

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Tell Dam Builders to Pull Out of Agua Zarca Dam! For years, critics of the Agua Zarca dam project in Honduras have been targeted by a campaign of violence, intimidation and outright murder. Then, on March 2, Berta C├íceres – vocal critic of the Agua Zarca Dam, Goldman Prize winner and mother of four – was brutally murdered in her home. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH Sign out Petition

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Protesters call for an independent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of Rampal coal plants

    The Sundarbans, as the world’s largest mangrove forest, is home to more than 300 species of plants, 200 species of fish, 315 species of birds and 49 species of mammals. And soon, the World Heritage site will sit just over eight miles south from two huge coal plants — planned developments that many worry will damage the air and water quality of the forest and destroy the livelihoods of the thousands in Bangladesh and India.
If environmental and human rights protesters have anything to do with it, however, that won’t happen. Last week, hundreds of activists marched more than 150 miles from the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka to the southwestern Bagerhat District, a four-day protest that ended over the weekend. The protesters called on the government to halt plans for the 1,320-megawatt Rampal coal plant and the 565-megawatt Orion coal plant, both planned for Bangladesh. The larger Rampal plant, which would take up more than 1,800 acres of land, is scheduled to go online in 2021.
 
    The protesters were also calling on the government to conduct an independent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the coal plants, said Sharif Jamil, coordinator of Waterkeepers Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi government did conduct an EIA on the Rampal power plant, but it used the Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services, a government-run agency, to do so. Since the Rampal plant is a joint project of India’s state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation and Bangladesh’s Power Development Board, getting a government agency to conduct the EIA “raises questions on the objectivity of the report,” a study on the coal plants by South Asians for Human Rights states.
 
    “We hope the governments will understand the importance of the Sundarbans and will cancel the permits, and we demand [the] government to ensure independent investigation by the EIA before any such plant be declared,” Jamil said.
 
    Environmentalists’ worries about the power plants are multi-faceted. They’re concerned about the construction phase of the plants, which could lead to “severe damages to the ecosystem…due to excessive carriers on the rivers, clearing of forests, leaked oil, sound and light pollution, [and] disposal of waste and for dredging of the rivers,” as outlined in the report by South Asians for Human Rights. Once the plants are completed, the government’s Environmental Impact Assessment estimates they will put out 142 metric tons of sulfur dioxide and 85 metric tons of nitrogen dioxide per day — pollution that would damage the air of the Sundarbans, Jamil said. The coal plants “have a huge potential to do harm to the wildlife and unique biodiversity of the Sundarbans,” he said.
 
    We hope the governments will understand the importance of the Sundarbans and will cancel the permits Water pollution is also a major concern. The Rampal power plant would take 219,600 cubic meters of water from the Passur River,upstream from the Sundarbans, every day for its operations. The coal plant’s activities could end up changing the river’s salinity and temperature, said Neha Mathew, associate campaign representative with the Sierra Club. That change in salinity and temperature could be dangerous for the mangroves that depend on the river. In addition, the area’s rivers will be used to ship coal to the plant, causing concerns of a spill. Environmentalists are acutely aware of the potential of a fossil fuel spill in the Sundarbans: in December 2014, an oil tanker spilled92,000 gallons of oil into the Sundarbans’ Shela River.
    
    The Sundarbans support the livelihoods of several million people. The mangrove forest serves as a nursery for baby fish, mollusks, and crustaceans, who hide out and feed among the trees’ branching roots. They also effectively protect Bangladesh and India’s shorelines from storm surges and flooding: two things that could get worse as climate change progresses. Even without the threat of the coal plant — whose emissions will contribute to climate change — sea level rise isthreatening to submerge the Sundarbans.
 
Fish swim among mangrove roots.
CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK
    The Indian and Bangledeshi governments maintain that the project wouldn’t harm the region.
“We see no reason why this project would destroy the Sundarbans, as alleged,” Ujjwal Bhattacharya, managing director of the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (BIFPC), told the Guardian.
 
    The BIFPC, the joint company in charge of the project, also says the “coal would be covered while transporting to the plant. So water or air will not be polluted. The water will be processed through improved technology. No polluted or hot water will be discharged to the river,” and that “a small portion of the river Pashur will be used, which in no way will affect the river.”
But besides public opposition, the proposed coal plants have faced some setbacks. Last year, three French banks announced that they wouldn’t be investing in the Rampal plant. Global NGO network Bank Track said in a June 2015 report that the power plant had “deficiencies in project design, planning, implementation and due diligence obligations render the project
non-compliant with the minimum social and environmental standards established by the Equator Principles.”
 
    Environmentalists are hoping to capitalize on these setbacks and convince the two governments to abandon the plan.
 
 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

WHEN THE STUDENTS BECOME THE TEACHERS: Sweet golden honey helps communities and mangroves!

By Manon Whittaker, MAP Asia Intern


The successful honey project which started in Nai Nang, in Krabi province in Thailand has now expanded to Ta-Sanook, Phang-Nga province. 
Read this inspiring story about mangrove restoration, livelihoods and knowledge transfer between communities!

MAP meeting with Ta-Sanook villagers to kick off the DAIMLER project


How it started

The project started several years ago in Nai Nang when MAP implemented a mangrove restoration site with the support of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) funding and through Global Nature Fund’s administered project entitled “Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Protect Climate change, Forest and Biodiversity”. In order to secure the long-term protection of the restoration efforts MAP decided to help the  community develop their apiculture activity as an alternative livelihood.  The wonderful part is that honey is partly produced from mangrove flowers . Nai Nang villagers had already been involved in apiculture for some time but MAP helped provide material, technical training, develop labels, marketing and equipment support to take this project to the next level. Today, the village has more than 200 beehives and produced 270 kilos of honey last year.


Honey partly produced from mangrove flowers by Nai-Nang village


Passing on the torch

At the beginning of this year, another MAP restoration site, funded by DAIMLER AG’s, the “Mangrove Conservation in Asia” project also managed by GNF in Ta-Sanook village in Phang-Nga showed keen interest to develop apiculture as an alternative livelihood. Ta-Sanook village is a relatively close to Nai-Nang village, hence it became evident that something exciting could begin here. The knowledge gathered by locals from Nai-Nang village from several years of producing honey products could be shared directly to Ta-Sanook villagers. And this is what is currently taking place.

Early March 2016, 16 villagers from Ta-Sanook undertook a day long training under the supervision of the experienced leaders from Nai-Nang village. They demonstrated bee-keeping technics, shared beehive construction methods and gave important recommendations for producing honey. In addition, a second training session has been planned for the women of Nai Nang to teach their sisters at Ta Sanook the craft of making value added products such as shampoo, conditioner and hand soap.  

This form of knowledge transfer is extremely thrilling and promising for community empowerment in the future.

Knowledge transfer between Nai-Nang and Ta-Sanook villagers


What’s next?

The story doesn’t end here. Ta-Sanook is only at the beginning of the journey. The next step is building the wooden bee-boxes so that wild bees (Apis Cerena) can colonize. The wood working tools, will be provided by MAP throughout the project, however, the community has been encouraged to use recycled wood for the construction of the hives because the bees only require a dry clean home, nothing fancy.  The aim is that the twinned communities are able to support each other in their apiculture  enterprise.

As part of the project, the village is also constructing a 70 m Mangrove Interpretative Nature Trail which  will be a great asset for the Environmental Education program which will take place in the local school.

So these projects are allowing the transfer of local knowledge between communities but also to future generations, not bad yeah?!

Make sure you follow each stage of the project on the MAP Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MangroveAction/?fref=ts

MAP News issue 386, March 20, 2016

VerticalResponse

The MAP News
386th Edition                               March 19, 2016


FEATURE STORY

Berta Cáceres, Honduran human rights and environment activist, murdered
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HONDURAS - Berta Cáceres, the Honduran indigenous and environmental rights campaigner, has been murdered, barely a week after she was threatened for opposing a hydroelectric project. Her death prompted international outrage at the murderous treatment of campaigners in Honduras, as well as a flood of tributes to a prominent and courageous defender of the natural world. The co-founder of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras (Copinh) was shot dead by gunmen who entered her home in La Esperanza at around 1am on Thursday. Some reports say there were two killers; others suggest 11. They escaped without being identified, after also wounding the Mexican activist Gustavo Castro Soto. Police told local media the killings occurred during an attempted robbery, but the family said they had no doubt it was an assassination prompted by Cáceres’s high-profile campaigns against dams, illegal loggers and plantation owners. “I have no doubt that she has been killed because of her struggle and that soldiers and people from the dam are responsible, I am sure of that. I hold the government responsible,” her 84-year-old mother said on radio Globo READ MORE
 
AFRICA
 
U.S. Forest Service Scientist Helps Establish First Mangrove Experimental Forest in Africa
03.15.USE_.SunriseORIG.
TANZANIA - On December 23, 2015, Tanzania Forestry Services formally designated the Rufiji Mangrove Research and Training Forest and signed a memorandum of agreement with the University of Dar es Salaam Institute of Marine Studies to manage the forest and associated programs. The U.S. Forest Service, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), provided technical support for the establishment of the mangrove research and training forest (MRTF), the first of two planned for East Africa. “The new MRTF provides a focal point for long-term monitoring and research,” says Carl Trettin, Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientist who coordinates the Rufiji project with Mwita Mangora from the University of Dar es Salaam. “The aim is to provide the scientific foundation needed to address pressing coastal zone management issues, especially where mangroves occur.” Though making up less than one percent of the world’s tropical forests, mangroves store up to five times the carbon per area of upland tropical forests. Mangroves also have the highest carbon density among coastal and marine ecosystems, which collectively constitute the global Blue Carbon pool.  READ MORE
 
ASIA
 
Sweet golden honey helps communities and mangroves!
12525368_1229918790357131_344941273566275237_o
THAILAND -  The successful honey project which started in Nai Nang, in Krabi province in Thailand has now expanded to Ta-Sanook, Phang-Nga province. The project started several years ago in Nai Nang when MAP implemented a mangrove restoration site with the support of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) funding and through Global Nature Fund’s administered project entitled “Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Protect Climate change, Forest and Biodiversity”. In order to secure the long-term protection of the restoration efforts MAP decided to help the  community develop their apiculture activity as an alternative livelihood.  The wonderful part is that honey is partly produced from mangrove flowers . Nai Nang villagers had already been involved in apiculture for some time but MAP helped provide material, technical training, develop labels, marketing and equipment support to take this project to the next level. Today, the village has more than 200 beehives and produced 270 kilos of honey last year. READ MORE


SAVE SEA – TURTLE! BAN FISHNET AS BANNED!! PLEA TO BOTH GOVERNMENTS OF INDIA!!!
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INDIA - Aalamaram, one of the Non Governmental Organizations in India based Cuddalore District at Thiyagavalli Village of Tamilnadu has made a plea to the both governments of Tamilnadu and India that in the months of November, December and January of every year, sea turtle nesting be protected.The Sea-Turtle usually will start its journey towards Indian ocean and will come across thousands and thousands of miles far from various oceans to fertile and cultivate its hatchery and promoting its generation. The family of Sea–Turtle will also choose or prefer particularly the sea shore side of Indian Ocean. In Cuddalore District, Tamilnadu, India, they are often destroyed before its cultivation because the fishermen use particular fishnet, having small holes. By utilizing such kind of small holes of Fishnets, which are banned but still spread over the sea by the fishermen, many turtles are destroyed. Though the See-Turtle is a fond of and a friend of Fishermen. it is very sad that they are so impacted while Fishermen hunt different kinds of Fishes for Trade motivation. The culture and fertility of sea-turtle eggs are being excavated and buried. A plea is put forth and brought notice to the both governments of Tamilnadu and India. that they take necessary steps to control the fishermen from using such kind of Fishnets. READ MORE
 
‘The Sundarbans Declaration 2016’ by the National Committee of Bangladesh
BANGLADESH - Folloiwing a three-day nationwide long march towards the Sundarbans, held between 10th to 13th March, 2016 by demanding a capping of all breeds of devastating mischeivious activities surrounding the Sundarbans, including the Rampal and Orion coal-based power projects, the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral resources, Port and Power Bangladesh has declated the following ‘Sundarbans Declaration 2016’. The declaration is a demand for the enactment of 7-points in order to resolve the country’s power crisis. The declaration was agreed by the protesters and marchers who joined the three-day long march to protest the coal based Rampal power plant. It was read out at Kantakhali on 13th March, 2016. “We, the people, have reached Katakhali, adjacent to Sundarban on 13th March noon crossing 400 kilometers in 4 days after we had started on 10th March from the Press Club in Dhaka and via Manikganj, Rajbari, Faridpur, Magura and Jhinaidaha, Kaliganj, Jessore, Nowapara, Fultola, Doulatpur, Khulna and Bagherhat. Hundreds of thousands of folks have expressed their solidarity with us in course of progression of this long march or during the time of preparation focusing the 7-point demands and also protect the Sundarbans. People of Bangladesh from all walks of life have participated here.” READ MORE
 
Building with Nature Program Recognized for Innovative Engineering Solutions
INDONESIA - The program in Northern Java to stop coastal erosion through Building with Nature has won the annual award for innovative engineering solutions (Vernufteling) in the Netherlands. On behalf of the project, Rob Nieuwkamer from Witteveen+Bos, received the award on Wednesday 16 March 2016 in the presence of many prominent people from the engineering world. The award gives a great boost to the Building with Nature Indonesia consortium, which is currently carrying out this pilot project in the Demak district in Northern Java. The Building with Nature initiative in Indonesia enhances coastal resilience for residents by avoiding further coastal flooding and erosion. The solution is low-tech, but high concept: in the most heavily eroded parts of the Demak coastline, this program is building permeable dams to attenuate the waves and trap the sediment. This brings the massive coastal erosion to a halt and stimulates the natural re-growth of the mangrove greenbelt. The mangrove forest should take over the role of the dams and attenuate the waves and keep the sediment in place. READ MORE

AMERICAS
 
End the violence, stop the Agua Zarca dam
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HONDURAS - Berta Cáceres took a courageous stand to protect the land and natural resources her community depend on. As a result, she was brutally murdered. Take action to support Berta’s work, and stop the violence. Join the fight and call on all investors and companies involved in the Agua Zarca dam project to withdraw their funding and involvement now. The project, which is not yet built, is strongly but peacefully opposed by the Lenca people. They face losing their access to the river Gualcarque, an important sacred site and a major source of water and food. Standing up against powerful interests is dangerous and Ms Cáceres’ is the latest murder of land activists – both in Honduras and world-wide – and it must be the last. READ MORE


LAST WORD(S)

Dear Alfredo Quarto,
 
Thank you for your e-mail on the Agua Zarca Hydro-electricity Generating Project.
 
First allow me to share with you that Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) deeply regrets the violent death of Berta Cáceres, and also insists that the investigation into her murder is done in a thorough manner. We have shared our concerns with the government of Honduras. We reject any form of violence. We strongly believe that our projects are best served when all voices are heard and understood, and these voices should be protected.
 
In your mail, you ask FMO to pull out of the project. Your question is a legitimate question to ask, and one that we ask ourselves as well. Allow me to share with you my considerations and questions. From our own regular site-visits and through our own independent advisors we continuously learn that the hydropower project has the ability to, and is welcomed to bring positive development impacts to the region, and that all human-rights related impacts as signaled by COPINH and international NGOs have been fully mitigated through a complete redesign of the project. For more information on what this redesign has entailed, I refer you to a FAQ that we have published on our website. We continuously are advised that there is broad support in the affected community for this project.
 
However, we also note that protests against the project continue, which we are aiming to understand. As such, a high level delegation of FMO, including myself, together with external independent parties, aim to visit the project-site and the affected communities to hear what their concerns are. We will do so, as soon as the security situation allows for it. On the basis of our visit, we will be able to provide an answer to your question. I trust you understand that these types of decisions need thorough consideration.
 
Thank you for your mail which we truly do appreciate.
 
Sincerely,
Nanno Kleiterp
Chief Executive Officer
Netherlands Development Finance Company
T: +31 (0)70 314 96 72 I M: +31 (0)6 51 55 99 06 I F: +31 (0)70 314 97 67 I E-mail: n.kleiterp@fmo.nl
Anna van Saksenlaan 71 I P.O. Box 93060 I 2509 AB I The Hague I The Netherlands I www.fmo.nl
 
FMO’s legal name is ‘Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V.’ and is also known as the Netherlands Development Finance Company
 

Dear Alfredo,
 
We have big news to share. After the murder of a second COPINH activist this month, FMO and Finnfund have suspended their support for the Agua Zarca dam project.
 
It is tragic and wrong that it took two murders to convince FMO and Finnfund to pull out of this terrible project. But your voices made the difference.
 
Thousands of you demanded justice for Berta and put FMO and Finnfund in the spotlight. The international pressure we created made this success possible, and ensures that Berta's death was not in vain. Thank you for standing with us.
 
Yet, despite international pressure, powerful circles in Honduras continue to disregard the lives of people who stand in the way of their economic interests. On March 15, Nelson Garcia, an activist of COPINH, the Honduran organization Berta Cáceres had co-founded, was shot and killed when he helped a group of poor families resist a land grab in the small town of Rio Lindo.
 
READ MORE
 
In solidarity,
 
International Rivers
 

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Tell Dam Builders to Pull Out of Agua Zarca Dam! For years, critics of the Agua Zarca dam project in Honduras have been targeted by a campaign of violence, intimidation and outright murder. Then, on March 2, Berta Cáceres – vocal critic of the Agua Zarca Dam, Goldman Prize winner and mother of four – was brutally murdered in her home. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH Sign out Petition

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