April 8th 2017 , New Frontiers New Tricks : a day of discover, debate and dialogue about Biodiversity Offsetting
Hosted at Friends of the Earth and co-organised by The Andrew Lees Trust , Friends of the Earth, War on Want, London Mining Network, Re:Common, Collectif Tany and World Rainforest Movement the event set out to explore the realities of Biodiversity Offsetting projects and their impacts on local communities.
The day was well attended and discussion was lively. A range of case studies were debated, including from UK and Mongolia.
A special focus was given to the Antsotso community in Madagascar whose livelihoods and food security has been deleteriously affected by Rio Tinto’s QMM project which has imposed a ban on forest access and use of forest resources by the community.
Preventing the community from interacting with the forest in the their traditional ways has forced them to grow manioc on sandy beaches where the crop yields `are poor , leaving them unable to sustain their food supplies as before.
This community was already living on the edge, barely surviving, but able to manage with forest resources at their disposal. Now they will be criminalised for entering their own forest and face fines if they cut a tree to build a pirogue ( traditional wooden canoe used for fishing), hence their livelihoods too are affected.
The mining company is imposing these restrictions in order to claim the forest next to Antsotso as part of their Biodiversity Offsetting programme, a plan they claim will deliver a net positive impact to biodiversity in the region. The offset is meant to compensate for the loss of a 6000 hectare swathe of indigenous trees, flora and fauna along the southeast coastline of the island.
An Italian NGO, Re:Common has been investigating the impacts of the Biodiversity Offsetting on the community and produced a report with World Rainforest Movement which was distributed and discussed at the event; they have also produced a video. Giulia Franchi and Alessandro Runci from Re: Common presented to the workshop and shared their experiences of the community and the process of their research.
The Trust adopts an ethical stance towards the mine and stands in solidarity with affected communities.
Film Link : YOUR/ MINE
Collectif Tany and Re:Common on land grabbing in Madagascar
Friends of the Earth on the Madagascar mine: Development Recast