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Month: February 2020

Mourinho gets 1-game ban, £50K fine for misconduct

first_imgMainland China virus cases exceed 40,000; deaths rise to 908 Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports PH among economies most vulnerable to virus Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH Djokovic eases into Paris Masters last 16 BREAKING: Solicitor General asks SC to forfeit ABS CBN’s franchise The FA says Mourinho will serve an immediate one-match touchline ban after he admitted using abusive or insulting words toward referee Mark Clattenburg. The incident occurred during halftime of United’s 0-0 draw with Burnley on Saturday.Mourinho will be banned from the touchline for Sunday’s game at Swansea.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSCone plans to speak with Slaughter, agentSeparately, Mourinho was handed a 50,000-pound ($61,000) fine for comments he made about referee Anthony Taylor before United’s game at Liverpool on Oct. 17.The FA said Mourinho’s comments constituted “improper conduct” and had “brought the game into disrepute.” MOST READ Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine 30 Filipinos from Wuhan quarantined in Capas Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. EDITORS’ PICK Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND We are young (FILES) This file photo taken on October 29, 2016 shows Manchester United’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (R) gesturing and shouting in the Directors Box after being sent off to the stands during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Burnley at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England. / AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFFLONDON — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been banned for one game and fined 50,000 pounds ($61,000) on two misconduct charges.The punishments were announced Wednesday by the English Football Association.ADVERTISEMENT Brad Pitt wins his first acting Oscar as awards get underway View commentslast_img read more


Illegal loggers ‘cook the books’ to harvest Amazon’s most valuable tree

first_imgArticle published by Glenn Scherer A new study finds that illegal logging, coupled with weak state-run timber licensing systems, has led to massive timber harvesting fraud in Brazil, resulting in huge illicit harvests of Ipê trees. This process is doing major damage to the Amazon, as loggers build roads deep into forests, causing fragmentation and creating greater access.To reduce document fraud, the Brazilian federal government this month required that all states register or integrate their timber licensing systems within a national timber inventory and tracking system known as Sinaflor. While this should reduce fraudulent paperwork, onsite illicit timber harvesting practices remain a major problem.Better oversight of forest management plans and more onsite inspections of timber operations are needed to curb illegal logging practices and to prevent harvesting on public lands and in indigenous reserves. The high value of Ipê wood — selling for up to $2,500 per cubic meter at export — makes it very profitable for illegal loggers.Ipê wood is largely shipped to the U.S. and Europe. Analysts say that buyers all along the timber supply chain turn a blind eye toward fraud, with sawmills, exporters, and importers trusting the paperwork they receive, rather than questioning whether the lower prices they pay for Ipê and other timber may be due to timber laundering. ipê (Handroanthus albus) in Jalapão, Tocantins, one of the most valuable tree species in the Amazon, and a popular target of illegal loggers. Image by Hermínio Lacerda/Banco de Imagens do IBAMABrazil’s Ipê tree is one of the most valuable tree species in the world, and a chief target for illicit deforestation, with primary export markets for its illegally harvested timber especially found in the U.S. and Europe.In the past, a weak licensing system, along with continued indiscriminate, illicit logging of Ipê (formerly Tabebuia spp., but reclassified as Handroanthus spp.), has caused serious damage to the Amazon rainforest according to a Greenpeace Brazil investigation.The high value of Ipê wood — which made into flooring or decking can sell for up to US $2,500 per cubic meter at Brazilian export terminals — makes it very profitable for loggers, even though they must penetrate deep into forests to harvest the trees.The resulting environmental harm is severely impacting the Brazilian Amazon, says the report, with deep encroachment by illegal roads, increased forest degradation and fragmentation, harm to biodiversity, and intensification of violence in rural areas.A Logging Authorization (AUTEF) site with an approved Forest Management Plan (PMFS) in Rurópolis, Pará state. In October 2017, Greenpeace accompanied teams from the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) on PMFS inspections. The goal was to identify fraud in forest inventories. Nonconformities were found in every PMFS site visited. Image © Marizilda Cruppe / GreenpeaceFraud at the heart of the problemThe report, Imaginary Trees, Real Destruction reveals that “the illegal logging of Ipê trees is facilitated by weaknesses in the state-level licensing process for forest management plans,” a problem that the federal government is seeking to solve with a national inventory and tracking system.A Greenpeace field investigation conducted in Southwest Pará state found that corrupt forest engineers fake forest inventories by deliberately misidentifying undesirable trees as commercially valuable species, overestimating the volume of valuable trees, or listing non-existent specimens. State agencies, relying on these fraudulent inventories, then issue credits that allow the harvesting and shipping of non-existent timber. These wildly inflated forest credits are then used to “cook the books” at sawmills that illegally process Ipê trees cut within protected Brazilian conservation units or on indigenous reserves.The high rate of fraud and the commonplace laundering of illegally harvested Ipê trees is made easier due to an absence of government conducted field surveys in areas with approved Sustainable Forest Management Plans (PMFS), and also, until this month, by the lack of an integrated national licensing system for timber in Brazil.While some perpetrators are caught, many more escape detection.As a result,” At present, it is safe to say that it is almost impossible to guarantee if timber from the Brazilian Amazon originated from legal operations, let alone from operations that do not violate human rights or environmental laws,” says Greenpeace Brazil’s Amazon campaigner, Rômulo Batista.“Brazil urgently needs a forest governance and an enforcement system capable of ensuring that all timber logged in the Brazilian Amazon is extracted legally and with full regard to the rights of its Indigenous peoples and other traditional inhabitants,” he says.The tree cut at this location was listed in the forest inventory as Ipê, but the correct species is Jarana — evidence of fraud and an attempt to launder illegal timber. Image © Marizilda Cruppe / GreenpeaceBrazil moves toward a national timber tracking system“In order to change this scenario, Brazil needs a forestry governance, which begins with Sinaflor [the National System for the Control of the Origin of Forest Products]. This [comprehensive inventory and tracking] system… needs to be transparent and accessible to the public to be truly effective,” Batista told Mongabay.All Brazilian states had until 2 May of this year to register their forest control systems with Sinaflor, the timber inventory tracking system launched in March 2017 by IBAMA, Brazil’s federal environmental protection agency. Sinaflor is a national level digital system that allows for data cross-checking of all state and federal inventory systems. Its implementation should help overcome deficiencies in the state systems and better facilitate fraud detection at multiple points along the supply chain.According to IBAMA, 21 states were ready to utilize the new digital platform by March of this year, including Amazonas, Roraima and Tocantins. The remaining states not ready to utilize the system at that time included Bahia, Espírito Santo, São Paulo, Santa Catarina, and importantly Pará and Mato Grosso. The latter two are the largest producers of timber in Legal Amazonia.IBAMA has confirmed to Mongabay that all states have now registered or integrated their state systems with Sinaflor, meeting the 2 May deadline. Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Santa Catarina and São Paulo already had their own computerized forest control systems, which have been integrated into Sinaflor.From 2 May on, all new forestry projects in Brazil will have to be registered in the national system. Existing logging plans filed prior to that date will need to be registered by 31 December. It is hoped, say officials, that the interfacing of state and national systems will lead to less fraud and lower rates of illegal Ipê harvesting.IBAMA officers measure the volume of timber and confirm botanical identification at a sawmill suspected of receiving illegal Ipê logs in Uruará, Pará state. Experts say that fraud is occurring along the entire timber supply chain. Image © Marizilda Cruppe / GreenpeaceSearching out fraudIn their study, Greenpeace and University of São Paulo (USP) researchers analyzed 586 Logging Authorizations (AUTEF) issued by the Environment and Sustainability Secretariat of Pará (SEMAS) between 2013 and 2017. The agency lists Ipê (Handroanthus spp.) as a harvestable species, with quotas set based on ipê tree volumes on site. When a Sustainable Forest Management Plan (PMFS) is approved, the AUTEF documents must show the total number of ipê trees and volumes of logs that will be removed from the licensed site. Those numbers will subsequently generate commercial credits.The researchers compared reported forest densities of Ipê trees with those found in published scientific literature and in the inventories of five national forests in Pará. This careful analysis found that more than 77 percent of the AUTEFs had reported Ipê tree volumes up to ten times higher than the natural levels at which that species occurs, making fraud likely in more than 450 cases.Greenpeace, working with USP Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture researchers and IBAMA technicians, also conducted field surveys in six Forest Management Areas (AMF) in Pará, between October and November of last year. They found that all of these AMFs showed evidence of incorrect botanical identification, overestimation of the volume of timber declared in forest inventories, and/or a record of non-existent trees. All of these practices are commonly employed for the laundering of illegal timber.IBAMA inspectors at a Logging Authorization (AUTEF) site with an approved Forest Management Plan in Uruará, Pará state. Greenpeace and University of São Paulo researchers analyzed 586 AUTEFs and found that more than 77 percent reported Ipê tree volumes up to ten times higher than the natural levels at which that species occurs, making fraud likely in more than 450 cases. Image © Marizilda Cruppe / GreenpeaceThe Mato Grosso exampleAccording to IBAMA, the Environment Secretariat of Mato Grosso (SEMA) has completed transfer of its Sisflora system to Sinaflor, which is good news for guarding against fraud. But funding shortfalls could still seriously hinder accurate timber tracking in the state. “We are improving in environmental management, investing in technicians, equipment, and in bidding for the purchase of high-resolution satellite images. In terms of action, however, the [budget] is almost drained,” André Baby, secretary of SEMA in Mato Grosso, told Mongabay. “There is a shortage of public resources.”Of all Brazilian states, Mato Grosso has among the highest rates of deforestation due to rapidly expanding soy and beef production, with the state responsible for 20 percent of all the deforestation detected in Legal Amazonia between August 2016 and July 2017, based on data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and an analysis by the Instituto Centro de Vida (ICV), an NGO.Of great concern to environmentalists is the amount of deforestation that isn’t authorized or tracked: 90 percent of the more than 130,000 hectares (501 square miles) of forest destroyed during the 2016/2017 period in Mato Grosso was not authorized by SEMA. That result is, however, slightly better compared to 2015/2016, when the illegal unauthorized harvest accounted for 95 percent of trees cut.SEMA’s secretary, when questioned by Mongabay, chose to point out more positive Mato Grosso forestry data. While the state saw a 49 percent increase in illegal deforestation in 2014/2015, he noted, that rate fell to 16 percent in 2015/2016, and to a 10 percent increase for 2016/2017.Still, such large illegal harvests don’t bode well for the state’s future international climate commitments. Mato Grosso declared a goal of zero illegal deforestation by 2020 at the COP 21 Paris climate change summit in 2015. And during COP 23 in 2017, Mato Grosso announced the receipt of R$ 178 million (US $56 million) from Germany and the United Kingdom to expand its programs to reduce deforestation. But, as in neighboring Pará, that investment will have little value without the elimination of fraud in the field, accurate timber inventories and tracking, and much better state and federal enforcement against large-scale illegal logging operations.An ipê (Handroanthus albus) in Jalapão, Tocantins — one of the most valuable tree species in the Amazon and also a primary target of illegal loggers. Image by Hermínio Lacerda / Banco de Imagens do IBAMA.“Companies are aware”Although the Sinaflor national tracking system could be a major step forward in limiting timber harvesting fraud, that system will likely achieve only limited success because the government lacks the capacity to conduct onsite inspections in Forest Management Areas, according to Jeanicolau de Lacerda from the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture.“This gap opens the door to illegality. Monitoring [onsite] is a difficult job to tackle, and forests will only have security with frequent field surveillance,” he told Mongabay.But Brazil’s federal and state governments aren’t the only parties able to curb illegal deforestation, says Greenpeace. Their study found that buyers all along the timber supply chain turn a blind eye toward fraud.Of the 142 PMFSs analyzed, 115 moved Ipê credits into the state Sisflora system. Of these, 79 PMFSs generated credits with suspicion of illegality, with the probably illicit timber then exported by 53 companies, and brought to 30 nations by 116 importing companies, between March 2016 and September 2017.According to Greenpeace, 37 companies from the United States imported 10,171 cubic meters of Ipê over that period, making the U.S. the largest destination for this type of wood. Among the biggest buyers: Pennsylvania’s Thompson Mahogany Company (1,797 cubic meters); Florida’s International Lumber Imports IC (1,318 cubic meters); and Georgia’s UFP International LLC (834 cubic meters).The U.S., together with Europe, accounts for 97 percent of exported Brazilian Ipê. Over the 2016/2017 period, eleven European nations purchased 9,775 cubic meters, including France (3,002 cubic meters), Portugal (1,862 cubic meters), Belgium (1,754 cubic metes) and the Netherlands (1,549 cubic meters). Japan, Canada, Israel, China, Argentina and India account for much of the rest.Importantly, these countries and companies generally accept the legality of Ipê shipments, and the paperwork accompanying them, on face value. “Reluctant to adopt risk mitigation measures to avoid contamination of their chains of custody, companies rely on official documents that do not guarantee the origin and legality of the timber they receive,” Greenpeace reports.Lacerda, a forestry consultant for Precious Woods, a certified timber company in Switzerland, says that many import-export companies know when they are buying illegal timber, and they also know that purchasing it saves them money: “That [illicit] production does not pay taxes, does not bear the costs of a proper forest management [plan], so it is 30 percent to 40 percent cheaper. Our company, for instance, cannot compete with the illegal timber sold in the Brazilian market.”“The problem is that certified wood is little known, even among final consumers in rich countries,” concludes Lacerda. “As long as the [public] doesn’t know what they are buying, and do not take a stand, the situation will remain exactly the same.”Citation:“Imaginary Trees, Real Destruction (2018), Greenpeace Brazil, University of São Paulo Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture, Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), https://www.greenpeace.org.br/hubfs/Greenpeace_Report_Imaginary_Trees_Real_Destruction_March_2018.pdfFEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Logging, Corruption, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forests, Green, Illegal Logging, Illegal Timber Trade, Indigenous Rights, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Logging, Rainforests, Roads, Saving The Amazon, Threats To The Amazon, timber trade, Tropical Deforestation center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more


‘Decolonizing conservation’: Q&A with PNG marine activist John Aini

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Rebecca Kessler John Aini is a prominent indigenous leader in his native Papua New Guinea who has won multiple awards for his grassroots activism in marine conservation.One of the defining points of his activism is the push to “decolonialize” conservation by engaging local and indigenous communities to a greater degree than typically practiced by large international NGOs.This is the first of Mongabay’s two-part interview with Aini at the recent International Marine Conservation Congress in Malaysia. KUCHING, Malaysia — In 1993, fisheries scientist John Aini founded the conservation group Ailan Awareness in Papua New Guinea’s New Ireland province to help his community and others nearby reverse declines in the marine life they depend upon. The organization helps communities around the province’s islands develop marine resource management plans that are based on local customs and designed to sustainably improve their livelihoods. Aini grew up in New Ireland and is a traditional leader of the Malagan culture in the province’s northern region. He has received numerous international awards, including the Seacology Prize in 2012, for his work in marine and fisheries conservation.The Roviana Solwara Skul, or Saltwater School, is a key project that Ailan Awareness established in 2010 to teach local people about the marine environment, emphasizing both traditional knowledge and Western science. Aini co-founded the school with his brother, Miller Aini, and frequent collaborator Paige West, an anthropologist at Columbia University. Aini believes equal partnerships between indigenous people and researchers in both designing and implementing projects lead to better conservation results in local communities than do projects heavily controlled by foreign practitioners.He gave a plenary talk titled “Communities Matter: Decolonizing conservation management” on June 26 at the International Marine Conservation Congress, held in Kuching, Malaysia. Mongabay caught up with Aini after the talk.Click here to read Part 2 of Mongabay’s interview with John Aini. John Aini. Image by Basten Gokkon/Mongabay.Mongabay: Your speech highlighted this idea of “decolonizing conservation.” Can you explain what exactly that means?John Aini: Historically, we were colonized. All the ideas about what we do at home in government, [at] NGOs, is like top-down planning. Decolonizing is getting rid of that top-down planning. It is about bottom-up planning. We tell these people who want to help us about what we want, not them telling us that they are going to come and conserve a reef or look after a species or look after an ecosystem. No, they must consult with us. And this has been going on for so many years. Big [conservation] NGOs continue to come to Papua New Guinea and push or force their agendas, which a lot of times do not go in line with what we think, do not address what we need, the resources that we depend on. Because they don’t know how we live. I know how we live. I know which species we depend on. Our people know which ecosystem’s being degraded. So, when we say “colonial,” it is the ideas from out there.What inspired you to the idea of “decolonizing conservation” in Papua New Guinea?It happened when there were things that I wanted to do, that my NGO wanted to do based on the experiences that we had with our people [and] the resources that we had. And we could not do it because of the agendas of international NGOs. They wanted to [do other] things instead. And so that’s when I said, “No.” This was in 1994, but before that, between 1993-1994, we were just puppets. Being driven around at their will.How long did it take for your efforts to change the big foreign NGOs’ point of view in conservation efforts in Papua New Guinea?No, they haven’t changed their minds. They’re still doing it now. I’m lucky, and with the assistance of Columbia University from Professor Paige West, to have found an alternative donor. And that’s the Christensen Fund that have put money into our organization.How exactly is your organization decolonizing conservation? What steps are you taking?I’ve basically given up working with big NGOs, basically given up networking with them. And we are doing our own thing now with funding that’s available, and funding from people that understand that we are in touch, that we own the land, the sea, we know the problems of our people better than BINGOs [big international NGOs].Map shows New Ireland province in Papua New Guinea. Image courtesy of Google Maps.In achieving conservation results, do you see any difference between efforts led by big foreign NGOs and those led by local people in Papua New Guinea?We are all achieving the goals. But the point is the sustainability. I will continue to live with my people until I die. They are in and out of our country. We may not be achieving some goals because of the lack of availability in resources. We may not achieve our targets, and they may achieve their targets. The question is its sustainability, and are they addressing the questions or answering our people’s needs. That is the question. Also, they [have] all the money in the world to do what they’re doing, and they are producing results, yes.I’ve got a ton of people now working, but not for money, not to be paid, but interested in the work that we are doing, and assisting in their own little ways. Some of which we don’t know that they exist, but they are working, and we learn about them some time later or a couple of years later. I’m talking about local New Irelanders, local people from New Hanover.How about the big foreign NGOs, have they become more interested in the work that you do?They don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t want to know them now. I’ve given up networking with them. What do you want them to do differently?If an NGO comes and takes interest in my NGO and assists us, and they’ll be there advising and say “John, Ailan Awareness, go ahead with your work” — that is what we want them to do. When they say we become partners, we must be partners in reality, we must become partners with all honesty. Not just being partners on paper. Not being on papers to just write a proposal, to be the partner of an indigenous people’s organization in a bid to get funding. But then when the funding comes, we don’t see the funding.Can you share more how to strengthen that partnership with the NGOs?They need to understand that we are there at home, and that these are our people, it is our culture, we cry with them, we sleep in their houses, we do customs with them. We will be there forever. They need to understand this. They need to support us in all the ways of supporting us, not just paper support.Do you think that kind of partnership will achieve better conservation results?Yes. If we partner, they understand us, they know where we’re coming from, I think all of us will work in harmony … International NGOs and the little indigenous NGOs that we have back at home, we’re all working for the same goals. And the bigger picture is to improve livelihoods.Can you share an experience in which the big foreign NGOs try to do a project, but it clashes with the traditions and cultures of local people in Papua New Guinea?There is an example, not in New Ireland, but in the country, where this big NGO went in and promised our people about income and benefits from their conservation work, ecotourism projects that never panned out. It never came about, so the people got frustrated … This is the Crater Mountain Conservation project.What made the project not work out?Because there was a clash between the big NGO and the indigenous people, what the big NGO promised them, in terms of economic returns and in terms of tourism projects. And the people just heard about them. But nothing tangible, they [local people] did not witness anything about all the talk [of] them getting income from having tourism projects. Nothing.Can you share a project within your NGO that’s fully run by local people but receives support from foreign organizations?The Malagan Project is one. [Editor’s note: This project teaches about the connection between conservation and Malagan cultural ceremonies through traditional carvings.] The people are in charge of it. We only get assistance in funding [for] tools, but we do our own work. There are conservation and management areas around New Ireland, around New Hanover, and they [local people] are doing them themselves. We’ve got a site that we’re working on, people come and see, and they go back and do their own thing. That is why a lot of the conservation management areas around New Hanover … I have not worked with them to write up management plans. I don’t want to institutionalize these areas. I let them do it as long as it is … producing results. Like more fish are coming, people are not throwing rubbish in the sea. You know, we don’t talk about big things. We talk about little things, like poisoning the reefs, throwing garbage at sea. We cannot achieve anything without the help of the local people, without the understanding of the local people. Even [though] I’m a local, I still face obstacles in some of the communities. Because our people are not exposed to so many things, like they have not gone out, they have not witnessed destruction of vast mangrove forests, of vast forests, or destruction in the oceans. They’ve lived with these things for so long. And a little damage used to not matter to them. But now we talked [them] into understanding these things because the population is growing. If we continue to do the little things that we are not supposed to be doing now, for example throwing plastics at sea, it will have an impact.John Aini delivers his plenary talk on June 26 at the International Marine Conservation Congress, held in Kuching, Malaysia. Image by Basten Gokkon/Mongabay.Is there any tradition or culture that foreign NGOs often fail to understand and that hampers their conservation work?Well, they don’t understand that we have sacred places. The sacred places and spiritual places contributed to resource management and conservation. Now they go and dive in those areas. Or in the forests where some places are off limits. They don’t respect it. They are demeaning the power and value of the sacred places we have.Do you think this type of colonial conservation also happens elsewhere in the world?I think so. I’m meeting a lot of people that are talking about it. They are talking about foreign agendas driven by international governance, international scholars.What kind of agendas?Like conservation in Papua New Guinea and in New Ireland must be focused on species that support livelihoods. [A] big NGO comes to work and conserve … a butterflyfish, but how does a butterflyfish support our livelihoods? But then, understanding science, butterflyfish helps the underwater ecosystem. There are some things that these people come and try to conserve, try to create marine boundaries to save them, that do not support our livelihoods. So there’s a disconnect between what they try to do and what the local people actually need?Yes. You cannot come and do research and do conservation work on something in my area that does not support me, that I don’t eat from. If you come to help me conserve emperors [fish], trochus shells, sea cucumber, then yes, these are the resources that we benefit from, that we get money from.Marine life in Papua New Guinea. Image by martinnemo via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).Have you ever experienced a situation in which foreign conservation workers come for a short period of time and then they think that they know about Papua New Guinea?I have witnessed a lot [of] this. I can give you one example. Two scientists from Australia come to New Ireland to study sharks and they study for three days and go back and think they know all about sharks in New Ireland, and go and write about it. That is bullshit. How can you learn about sharks in three days?Do you also see a form of colonialism in the research arena?We don’t get attributions, we don’t get acknowledged. When they come, they don’t see us as guardians of these things, they don’t see us as we have been there and we know a lot more than you scientists. The cultures, we know where the species are and we know when the species are coming out to breed or where the species stays. They just think that we are stupid and common … we don’t speak the right type of English, write papers, we have not completed degrees. But we have been educated to a level where we know what is happening. We can be on the same level with them. A lot of them come, and blah blah blah, and they go and do what they want to do.However, I don’t care if they don’t acknowledge me in scientific papers. I don’t care … as long as another reef is saved, as long as the seagrass is healthy, as long as there is fish for tomorrow. As long as they help us in whatever expertise they have, we have got the local knowledge, and together we must work. They have come all the [way] from up there … and I believe they have interests in us, not just come and spend three days and tell the world that you know all about sharks. Can you tell us the story behind Saltwater School? The idea came about as [my brother Miller Aini and I] were coming back from an awareness campaign. And we ran short of fuel. I was funding it from the salary that I got from fisheries [ministry] when I was working there. And we ran short of fuel and the arguments started. Like, my brother said “John you should’ve bought more petrol to take us from this point to this point, now look at us, now we are going to paddle,” and it was a long way to paddle back home. And I was just sitting down, and then the swearing started. He was very cross, I was cross. There was nearly an exchange of punches. And then we quieted down on the boat in the ocean, and then we started talking, and I said, “In order for us not to experience this experience, drifting out at sea, let’s build a school.” So the idea came from that. Instead of us drifting out at sea, let them come to us and [we’ll] teach them scientific and cultural knowledge about the sea. And then we use the metaphor, we won’t let them drift out at sea, we won’t let our people drift out to sea. We must build this school, so that they know the importance of marine management and marine conservation. So it was a fight … that built the school. And with the assistance of these people, the anthropologists, the archaeologists, Paige, and those guys, out of our private [salaries].Is that the kind of partnership you’d like to see more of in Papua New Guinea? Local people coming up with ideas and foreigners assisting in making them happen?Yes. But I don’t want to talk yet about all of Papua New Guinea. I start worrying about my little village, and then work our way up.Do you think indigenous people can spearhead conservation work across the nation in the future?I do, but starting from your roots. That can’t be done in a place like Papua New Guinea, so many ethnic groups, 10 million languages, different cultures and customs. I think we need to start small. I go back to my province, to my village, to my island and slowly work the way up. Because if I start to worry about the country now, my God, it is just hard. I’m different [from] some guy from 20 kilometers away, and they speak a different language, and is very different from someone from the highlands of Papua New Guinea, who are so aggressive and huge and have big beards. I’m going to run away if I see them.Yes, when we move slowly all of our forests will probably be gone and our lands will be stolen from us, or our gold will be taken away. But at least we will have some of our land without being destroyed.Marine life in Papua New Guinea. Image by Anderson Smith2010 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).Editor’s note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Conservation, Coral Reefs, Environment, Environmental Law, Environmental Policy, Fisheries, Governance, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Marine Protected Areas, NGOs, Oceans, Protected Areas, Wildlife last_img read more