Nicaraguan Government Published “White Paper on the Nicaragua Interoceanic Canal Project”
On September 5, the Government of Nicaragua officially issued the “White Paper on the Nicaragua Interoceanic Canal Project”, demonstrating its support for the Nicaragua Interoceanic Canal Project led by HKND Group.
As the first White Paper issued by the government specifically on the Canal Project, the 78-page document systematically gives a comprehensive introduction to the historical background, implementation process and the status quo of the Canal Project, including issues concerning the sovereignty of Nicaragua, as well as the legal framework, resettlement, environmental protection, social impacts, economic prospects, public support and other aspects of the Project. The White Paper indicates that the Nicaragua Interoceanic Canal Project has been incorporated into the National Human Development Plan, which is being implemented by the Nicaraguan Government with an aim to boost economic growth, education, employment and environmental protection, in order to bring well-being to the people of Nicaragua.
The publication of the White Paper not only reflects the Nicaraguan Government´s strong support towards the Nicaragua Grand Canal Project, but also manifests its solemn commitment to safeguard the rights of its people, and its scientific approach in dealing with economic development, social advancement and environmental protection.
Amid concern over the Canal’s impacts on the natural environment of Nicaragua, the White Paper points out “the ownership of natural resources belongs to the State of Nicaragua and not the concessionaire, who has only the legal authorization to carry out feasibility studies, environmental impacts, social development, and others that were required for the construction and operational development of the Project”. The White Paper also concludes that “Like any infrastructure work, the Canal will have significant environmental impacts. However, the final balance from environmental, economic and social perspectives will be ‘highly positive’. Economic and human resources will be generated for the environmental restoration and conservation throughout the route and the country”.
On the other hand, regarding the issue of resettlement, the Government of Nicaragua has also made clear in the White Paper that “the Government of Nicaragua and HKND ensure that individuals and families who are on the route where the canal will be built have better living conditions than current status (without the Canal). To this end, the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity, through the Commission of the Project, will ensure not only a fair and transparent compensation for their property through negotiations and direct agreements with each family, but also promote actions that allow them to improve their economic, health, education, housing and employment”. In fact, HKND Group has also made clear many times that although the company has been granted the concession, it does not mean that the company can expropriate lands without restraint. For each proposed land acquisition, formal application must be submitted for the Government’s approval. Besides, no acquisition of land is allowed in non-project areas. In order to further protect the farmers’ rights, the Project will also provide compensation for land acquisition at a reasonable rate and will offer a variety of compensation options. The new housing given to the farmers shall not be inferior to their original housing and will be equipped with comprehensive social amenities. In addition, the White Paper also discloses specific data and process regarding the public consultation and opinion polls on the Canal Project, as a way to vigorously refute the false statements about the Project, giving the world an opportunity to understand the actual situation of the Canal Project.
HKND Group indicated that the company has followed the principle of achieving minimum environmental and social impacts throughout the development of the Nicaragua Canal Project. At the current stage, the company is carrying out the construction design and research in strict accordance with the recommendations set out in the ESIA report, and will continue to earnestly fulfill its commitment to Nicaraguan society.
As the largest civil engineering project of the century, the Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal will, upon its completion, inject new vitality into the economy of Nicaragua and significantly enhance its international status, helping Nicaragua to achieve the goal of being a powerful and prosperous nation at an early date. HKND Group will, with the support and under the supervision of the Nicaraguan Government, continue to work with the people of Nicaragua to realize their century-old canal dream with great enthusiasm and confidence.
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