To download the bulletin in word format click
For free subscription
LOCAL STRUGGLES AND NEWS
Three years ago a deal between the authorities of Gabon and a French logging company traded away 10,352 hectares of the Lope Reserve in return for 5,200 hectares of a previously not protected area of remote upland primary forests being added to the reserve (see WRM Bulletin Nº 38). The highly controversial deal was arranged by officials of the US-based organization Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
In 2001, the stage moved to Congo Brazzaville. Wildlife Conservation Society announced a deal involving the Goualogo triangle, bordering the Nouabale Ndoki Park, but this time the only reference to compensation for the involved CIB logging company (Congolaise Industrielle des Bois) was in form of strong statements to the effect that there was NO trade off involved (maybe they have learnt).
There have been a lot of public relations around that. Dr. Stoll, the Chief Executive Officer of CIB, stated the following: "CIB has shelved its plans for exploitation of the Goualogo Triangle. There can be no question regarding as this having been some kind of commercial transaction/trade off!"
On August 27th 2002, John Robinson, Vice President at WCS, responded to an inquiry regarding the triangle compensation by stating in an e-mail to Dale Peterson, author of the book "Eating Apes": "The questions that you pass along from Karl reflect his lack of understanding. … this is the first time I have heard any discussion of 'compensation' between CIB and WCS on the Goualogo (the idea is in itself insulting)."
When questioning the then ITTO (International Tropical Timber Organization) president in a telephone conversation on the deal in 2002, Karl Ammann was told: "The original proposal to cede the southern corner of the park, so that CIB would not have to build expensive roads through swamp, was rejected in a meeting in January 2002, and it was agreed to compensate CIB with a piece of forest along the Central African Republic border."
In December 2002, one of the few tourist visitors which managed to get uninvited through to the concession and the WCS headquarters in Kabo told that the new concession that was given lately in compensation of the triangle is called Pikounda. The information that CIB received sixty thousand hectares towards Pikounda was confirmed by the National Reforestation Service (SNR).
The final conclusion is that a compensation deal has been completed and that, as in the Lope transaction, the loggers won in terms of area gained.
As Karl Ammann incisively puts it: “It is clear that a wide range of players, having in one way or the other been sucked into this 'success' story, had to now evaluate any response to any of the above questions and had to do so within the context of a range of conflicting interests. Deciding on how ecologically or economically important these areas are or were and then to compare them, would most likely end in a never ending and inconclusive debate. The question which arises is: Can conservationists and NGOs afford to be painted with the same brush when it comes to basic transparency? Are there any established policies and procedures in place when negotiating such partnership deals. If not, why not? If there are, what are they? Are we walking into a situation where, while logging is green-washed, the timber industry successfully manages to further "black-wash" the conservation establishment?”
All readers, listeners, watchers and consumers of mass media, all the paid journalists and Public Relation companies should have some dignity left and say: Enough is enough!
Adapted from: “Compensation or no compensation? – That seems to be the question”, by Karl Ammann, 14 Oct. 2003 (full text at: http://www.wrm.org.uy/countries/Congo/question.html ), sent by ECOTERRA International, e-mail: NATURAL_FORESTS@ecoterra.net
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) --which was responsible for the crude oil leaking from June to December 1998 of a pipeline into the Oyara mangrove forests and its dispersion into surrounding water streams, farms and sacred sites of the Otuegwe community-- is now implementing the SPDC-E major oil Trunkline Replacement project. Major operations involved are land take, route clearing, trenching/excavation, stringing, welding, radiograph, back filling, hydro-testing and re-instatement.
Major rural communities and areas in the Niger Delta such as Diebu Creek, Nun River, Rumuekpe, Nkpolu, Ogale, Bomu, Soku, Buguma, Oribiri, Alakiri, Nembe-Tie, Nembe main, Tora, San Barth, Krakama, Cawthorne and Bonny would be adversely affected during project execution and implementation. SPDC will wreck the ecology at both ends, thereby throwing creek dwelling families, ecology, rural people and the mangrove forests and other resources of the Niger Delta into massive disequilibrium.
In the months of March, May and June, 2003, SPDC in collaboration with the Nigerian authorities organized Public Hearings, as requested by Nigerian Law’s Oil Pipeline Act Cap 338. Concerned environmental groups working in the area flayed the processes, and asked the Nigerian government not to give license to Shell because they have demonstrated their inability to operate the pipelines and reduce negative impacts on the environment and peoples of the area. However, the project is about to commence without regard for the people and their environment.
Niger Delta Project for Environment, Human Rights and Development (NDPEHRD) is concerned about the devastation that Shell is about to unleash on the tall and abundant mangrove species in the area. The cutting of trees will lead to loss of mangrove vegetation of different types, sizes, classes and shapes that will run into several hectares.
When SPDC eventually carries out their project, the decaying mangrove plant material will eventually foul the surrounding environment, particularly areas with limited capacity to flush. Generally, in mangrove environment and related human communities, associated attributes such as environmentally reserved areas, sanctuaries, shrine and archaeological sites are numerous. The negative impacts of the pipeline project will be enormous on the people and their environment.
During the replacement exercise, the pipelines containing crude oil will inevitably spill a huge quantity on the environment. At Peterside community in Bonny, members of the Bonny indigenous fishing co-operatives told NDPEHRD officials that they have protested against the project, but SPDC ignored them. They said they are more concerned about the impacts the project will pose to their activities.
NDPEHRD has launched a campaign and invites to write letters to SPDC asking them to obey Nigerian Environmental Laws and be mindful of the impacts of their activities on the peoples' environment ( http://www.wrm.org.uy/alerts/october03.html#4 ).
Extracted and adapted from: “SPDC
Commences Destruction of Hundreds of
South Africa: Renewed call for a moratorium on timber plantations
And the rule is that, failing to the promises, as timber plantations expand, rural people are impoverished, and are forced to leave their traditional homes in search of underpaid work in cities, or settle in sensitive natural areas such as the Dukuduku forest near Lake St Lucia.
Timberwatch denounces that the timber
industry in South Africa is viable only because it fails to take
responsibility for all the costs and impacts that arise from its
activities. The Coalition demands a full investigation of the industry
to show how it is artificially subsidised at the expense of other
far less harmful, established and sustainable traditional land uses.
The cost borne by society of controlling the invasion of alien trees
from plantations, in particular species such as Wattle is one example
of how the timber industry is subsidised.
Article based on information from: “Renewal of NGO Call for a Moratorium on New Timber Plantations”, October 15, 2003, issued on behalf of the Timberwatch coalition by Wally Menne, e-mail: email@example.com , http://www.timberwatch.org.za
In August 2003, US-based power producer AES Corp pulled out of the World Bank sponsored dam project in Uganda, based on economic reasons. The decision --which implied that the company wrote off $75m it had invested in the project-- has raised questions about the future of the controversial dam.
The $580 million project at Bujagali on the Nile river encounters strong opposition from concerned organizations and individuals because it would flood the Nile all the way to the base of the Owens Falls Dam, destroying the living space of thousands of local dwellers --a gorgeous landscape which is also a site of special spiritual significance to the local population. Critics of the dam point at serious economic, social, health impacts on the population, which have not been adequately taken into account when considering the project (see WRM Bulletin Nº 42).
The US envoy to Uganda Jimmy Kolker tried recently to reassure that the US government considered Bujagali was a viable project and AES's withdrawal "has nothing to do with environmental concerns".
The World Bank has also stepped in to help fund the hydropower project, though it has put it on hold until investigation on corruption carried out in US courts is over. The bank's private lending arm, the International Finance Corporation, said in mid-October that the government of Uganda and the AES were establishing a working group to ensure the smooth transition in the development of the $520m project. The government of Uganda fears "a panic" following the pullout by AES.
The proponents of the "costly white elephant", as many label the hydropower dam project, argue that it is aimed at providing Uganda with a cheaper source of power.
Opponents to the project have long been urging the government to look for alternative energy sources, and promoting a wise use of river-based environmental goods and services. As the "Save Bujagali" Campaign says, "the real issue in Uganda is not electricity but poverty”.
Article based on information from: “World
Bank Steps in to Save Hydropower Project”, by Ronald Muwanga,
Business Day, October 15, 2003, http://allafrica.com/stories/200310150307.html
, sent by Pambazuka News 128, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
; “AES pulls out of $580 million Uganda dam project”,
Reuters, August 13, 2003, published by Probe International, http://www.probeinternational.org/pi/wb/index.cfm?DSP=content&ContentID=8315
; National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE),
Go to Home page - Recommend this page
World Rainforest Movement
Maldonado 1858 - 11200 Montevideo - Uruguay
tel: 598 2 413 2989 / fax: 598 2 410 0985