HKND Engaged Nicaraguan Environmental NGO FUNDAR to Develop the First Biodiversity Management Plans for the Nicaragua Grand Canal
On 17 June 2016, HKND Group, the concessionaire of the Nicaragua Grand Canal Project, has entered into an agreement with Friends of the San Juan River Foundation (FUNDAR), a Nicaraguan environmental NGO, for the development of the first Biodiversity Management Plans for the Canal Project, including Riverine and Terrestrial Biodiversity Management Plans, Environmental Offset Plans along the Canal route, as well as Freshwater and Terrestrial Biodiversity Action Plans for Brito area in Rivas.
HKND Group has committed to achieving a Net Positive Environmental Impact, which means in essence that in the Canal Project, the negative impacts to the environment that is unavoidable will be more than balanced by the positive environmental benefits. This commitment, in conformity with international best practices, is set out in the Environmental Permit granted by Government of Nicaragua, and also required by international organizations such as the World Bank for projects of this kind.
To honour its commitment, HKND will, in strict accordance with the recommendations made in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) undertaken by the British company Environmental Resources Management (ERM), develop a complete set of environmental management plans for the Canal route, among which, the Biodiversity Management Plans are crucial elements.
HKND Group and FUNDAR signing contract for the first Biodiversity Management Plans
(From left to right: Norving Torres, Bill Wild and Manuel Coronel Kautz, President of the Nicaragua Canal Commission)
Photograph: HKND Group
As part of the environmental plan for the Canal Project, the Biodiversity Management Plans that FUNDAR will develop will be focusing on providing biodiversity protection procedures and measures for the terrestrial and riverine ecosystems to be impacted by the construction and operation of the Nicaragua Grand Canal, as well as the freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems in Brito area in Rivas, so as to ensure that the Project will have a Net Positive Impact on forests and the wildlife along the Canal route.
Norving Torres, Director of FUNDAR, said at the signing ceremony: “I would like to express our gratitude to HKND for allowing our organization to contribute directly to the Nicaragua Grand Canal Project. We have chosen as part of the FUNDAR team the best national and international specialists in fields such as biodiversity in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, reserves, biodiversity planning, ecosystem restoration and Geographic Information System (GIS). They have experience of working on large projects in Nicaragua and in the region, including the environmental studies for the Panama Canal and the ESIA of Nicaragua Grand Canal.”
Bill Wild, Chief Project Advisor of HKND Group, indicated that “Environmental protection is one of the most important aspects of the Canal Project. Completion of the biodiversity management plans will be another important milestone in the development of the Canal. We are delighted to work with FUNDAR, who has a reputation for professionalism and knowledge of local ecosystems.”
FUNDAR has extensive experience in environmental management throughout Nicaragua, including flora and fauna inventories, protected area management, and environmental impact evaluation. FUNDAR served as the national counterpart to ERM during the development of the ESIA, and mobilized over 80 Nicaraguan specialists from relevant fields to work for the program.
At the Signing Ceremony
(From left to right: Bill Wild, Manuel Coronel Kautz, Laureano Ortega, member of the Canal Commission
and Telémaco Talavera, Spokesperson of the Commission)
Photograph: HKND Group
Laureano Ortega, advisor of PRONicaragua and member of the Canal Commission commented, “The agreement reached today is one important step of the construction of the Grand Canal. In strict compliance with Government’s requirement on environmental protection, HKND Group is endeavouring to guarantee that the environment of the country, together with the social welfare of our people, is well taken care of.”
Others present at the signing ceremony were Manuel Coronel Kautz, President of the Nicaragua Canal Commission, Telémaco Talavera, Spokesperson of the Commission, and experts of FUNDAR, among others.