Climate change consultation discusses Manipur`s unsustainable development processes

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IMPHAL October 22: The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur, North East Dialogue Forum and Mapithel Dam Affected Villagers Organization jointly organized a consultation on `Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples Rights in Manipur`™ at Manipur Press Club today.

Jiten Yumnam, secretary, Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur, expressed concern regarding the pursuance of unsustainable development processes, mega dams, oil exploration and other extractive industries in Manipur.

It has led to destruction of forest, agriculture land and worsen the climate crisis and impacted on the indigenous peoples`™ rights, he said.

He also expressed concern with the false climate change solutions pursued in Manipur, such as the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, which strives to seek carbon credits and profits from CDM from its controversial 105 MW Loktak Hydroelectric Project in Manipur despite multiple violations.

Dr RK Ranjan, senior environmentalist shared about how climate change has led to environmental devastations and undermined food sovereignty in Manipur.

Dominic Kashung, chairman, Mapithel Dam Affected Villagers Organization shared about how the State government has made false promises to communities affected by Mapithel Dam and forced people to suffer in the name of development.

`The Mapithel dam has submerged more than 2000 acres of forest and agriculture land, led to multiple health hazards and directly threatened the livelihood of indigenous peoples`™ he said.

Oinam Rajen, secretary, All Loktak Lake Areas Fishermen Union narrates about the rapid loss of wetlands and forest in Manipur since the commissioning of 105 MW Loktak Project by the National Hydroelectric Power Project.

He blamed the State government for the destruction of forest and wetlands.

`The construction of mega dams, for instance is primarily responsible for loss of forest in Manipur. The Ithai Barrage of the 105 MW Loktak HEP should be decommissioned`™ he said.

Dr Debabrata Roy Laifungbam, president, Elders Council, Centre for Organization Research and Education (CORE) explained how infrastructure based development affects the sustainable management and use of land and resources.

Aram Pamei, ex-president, Naga Women Union, shared how indigenous peoples`™ rights continued to be infringed in the name of development.

She stated that all climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in response to climate crisis need full recognition of indigenous peoples`™ self-determination over their land and resources.

Phulindro Konsam, chairman, Committee on Human Rights shared how the upcoming negotiations of COP 21 of UNFCCC in Paris in December 2015 should recognize Indigenous Peoples right to self-determination and right to participation in determining climate change mitigation and adaptation policies.

He suggested, all States and parties to the UNFCCC, should resist from adopting false solutions to climate change that can impinge Indigenous Peoples`™ Rights.

Panti Gonmei, president, Rongmei Lu Phaum shared how Khoupum dam led to loss of agriculture land in Khoupum Tamenglong District.

Several resolutions towards safeguarding the Indigenous People Rights to resources under the framework of the UNDRIP were adopted unanimously by the participants. A documentary film titled `Wall of Injustice: Mapithel Dam`™ was also screened on the occasion.

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