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Green Coast Bio-rights Study Tour very successful

21-Dec-2007

The participants visited a number of re-established mangrove sites, checked the biodiversity increase in these areas and interviewed community members and village leaders about their involvement and ...

The participants visited a number of re-established mangrove sites, checked the biodiversity increase in these areas and interviewed community members and village leaders about their involvement and what it meant for their daily lives and income. During the trip, participants were asked for their feedback, comparing the restoration work to that in their own country. “This is excellent work: the extents of mangrove plantations and their high survival rates are just amazing’  said Shamen Vidanage from IUCN Sri Lanka. “The bio-rights concept has demonstrated promising results in ecosystem restoration through community participation.”

'The resilience of the people of Aceh is incredible, how they have recovered from a complete devastation into the reconstructed state they are in now. And the willingness to be wholesome in managing their environmental resources’, said Sarala Aikanathan, from WI-Malaysia.

Participants shared their experiences and lessons learned from tsunami relief and reconstruction in their various countries during meetings with the provincial government and the national reconstruction agency.

The Green Coast Study Tour also visited Pemalang, on Central Java where WI started a silvo-fishery project in 1997 in an area with devastated and abandoned shrimp farms. Now, 10 years later, this project has resulted in restored and healthy mangrove ecosystem of 550 hectares, fully managed and maintained by local communities who benefit from improved income through fish farming, seaweed farming, livestock rearing and other means of income. 

“It is amazing how the people of Pemalang realized the damage that the shrimp industry had caused to the mangrove ecosystem and find a way to restore what they have lost.”, Vimukthi Weeratunga from IUCN Sri Lanka. 

The Study Tour ended with a debriefing meeting and the international participants giving interviews to Aceh newspapers and Aceh radio. As follow up of this study tour, Green Coast partners will start pilot projects on bio-rights in their respective countries.

Bio-rights has proven to be a successful approach in the context of coastal rehabilitation in Aceh, linking ecosystem restoration to livelihood improvements of the local tsunami affected communities. Through the provision of financial incentives in the form of a loan or grant, communities commit themselves to restore and maintain coastal ecosystems such as mangrove forest. The loan is used to start a small eco-enterprise or other livelihood activity such as fish farming, handicraft or coir making. Under Green Coast, this has resulted in a high survival rate of the total 2 million planted seedlings and a tangible increase in income for more than 3.000 villagers in Aceh. For more information on bio-rights see
http://www.bio-rights.org 

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