HKND Group Launches the “Educational Reforestation Program in Rivas Department” with Support of Nicaraguan Government
On 21 July 2016, HKND Group celebrated the Reforestation Training Conference for teachers in Rivas, Nicaragua. With this event, HKND officially launches the “Educational Reforestation Program in Rivas Department”. About 160 principals and teachers from around 80 primary and secondary schools in municipalities of Rivas, San Jorge and Tola have participated in this training.
Wilfredo Lopez, Mayor of Rivas, said during the training conference: “We government institutions are coordinating and cooperating together to work with HKND to promote the Environmental Management Plan and realize the reforestation program. We hope that these actions can help raise the awareness of every individual and family towards the protection of our mother land. Today is a very good starting point.”
Pang Kwok Wai, Executive Vice President of HKND Group has sent the blessings from Hong Kong to express the determination of HKND to firmly support the Reforestation Program. He expressed through a video: “This is not only the responsibility of the Government or any particular private company. This should be a commitment of every Nicaraguan, you, people who are working and living on this lovely land. This is the reason why we are carrying out this School Reforestation Program. We want to educate the kids, the future hope of Nicaragua, to understand the importance of forest and start being responsible and taking their role in protecting the environment. HKND Group, as the concessionaire of the Canal Project, always complies the best international practice and tries to build the Canal to international standard. We are committed to protecting the environment of Nicaragua and with our effort today, we are expecting a greener, stronger and happier Nicaragua.”
After that, three experts from Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA) and National Forestry Institute (INAFOR) gave lectures to the faculty attended, explaining in details on tree plantation and maintenance, as well as on how to help teachers and students to establish awareness of protecting trees and environment, etc.
The training was conducted in a very active and vivid atmosphere. The teachers presented asked the experts many questions, which demonstrate the concern and interest about tree planting and environmental issues among these faculty members.
During the training, principals and teachers from Rivas, San Jorge and Tola held a lively discussion on "Forestation Education Program in Rivas Department". Representatives from these three municipalities issued three joint statements respectively, declaring their will to not only shoulder the responsibility of forestation and ecological protection as citizens and educators, but also offer their full support to this educational forestation campaign of HKND Group.
The "Educational Reforestation Program in Rivas Department" is initiated and sponsored by HKND Group. It also received support from Nicaraguan Ministry of Education, MARENA, INAFOR and Nicaragua National Agricultural University. With the slogan of "My trees, my school, my community, my Canal", the program is designed to improve the environmental awareness among teachers and students of primary and secondary schools through theoretical training and practical plantation, and deepen their understanding of the importance of trees and forests in the hope of protecting the environment of Nicaragua.
Yolanda Zúniga, Director of San Rafael Arcángel Eucation Center, says “I think this program is important for our municipality and schools because the Earth is important for our lives and because of this, we should take care of it and be aware of the importance of planting trees, which generate oxygen and life for us.”
Edwin Castillo, Director of Humberto Amado López School, stated that “the reforestation of our cities and the construction of the Interoceanic Grand Canal waken our consciousness to protect the natural resources. In this program, the students participating are playing very important role and let's reforest our schools together.”
Carlos Ramírez Mejía, Director of Biodiversity of MARENA, explained during the training that “the results of the reforestation are not of short period and it depends a lot on the value of human beings and the love that we have for the trees, because if there is no love, the people are going to cut the trees. Therefore, we want to plant little trees and the love towards Mother Earth in the heart of our young people”.
Besides the training for the teachers, HKND Group, together with UNA, is going to carry out Educational Reforestation Program in primary and secondary schools of Rivas Department, which will take approximately one week. HKND Group will organize students and teachers of UNA to visit about 80 primary and secondary schools of Rivas Department to train the students of reforestation and teach them knowledge about it. After that they will take these students to plant trees in their own school and make their school greener. The program is going to provide all the requested number of trees to these schools. Parents and teachers will also be invited to participate in the reforestation activity.
To guarantee the fluid implementation of the Educational Reforestation Program, HKND Group has worked closely with the Ministry of Education and INAFOR to elaborate training materials for the primary and secondary students and teachers respectively, to provide long-term technical support for the teachers and students, and even for their parents.
On November 5, 2015, the Government of Nicaragua approved the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Nicaragua Canal Project, and granted the “Environmental Permit” to the project. The ESIA was conducted by British consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM), who organized hundreds of world-class scientists and environmentalists conducting extensive field studies and investigations, which lasted more than two years.
As set out in the 2.7 million-word ESIA report, the ecological environment in Nicaragua has been deteriorating in recent years. Pristine forests are destroyed at an alarming speed as a result of slash-and-burn farming. Without proper measures, most of the existing forests in the country will disappear within 10 to 15 years.
In terms of ecological environment assessment of Nicaragua, ERM shared similar views with HKND Group who considered Canal construction as the only viable means for vegetation protection and ecosystem restoration of Nicaragua. HKND Group will also put forward reforestation plans on both sides of the Canal to prevent further soil erosion.