Residents protest against park’s bid for UN listing
A PETITION from residents protesting against the expansion of Khakaborazi National Park and its application to join UNESCO’S world heritage list will be submitted to the government and UNESCO in October, residents announced.
Puta-o, Machanbaw and Nawngmun township residents protested against the proposals for the national park plans and they were also against the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), said U Phay Ram, committee member of Rawang Literature and Culture Committee.
“We signed a petition that will be sent to the Union Minister, the concerned groups and also UNESCO. Collecting signatures will take place this week,” said U Yaw Shu, chair of Rawang literature and culture committee.
Locals opposition springs from their extensive reliance on the forest for hunting and gathering plants. They worry it may impact their livelihood.
With regard to the national park extension, locals were not consulted and only a few were selected as representatives to partake in meetings, said U Zaw Yaw, a local resident and vice president of Jane Phaw Literature and Culture Association.
The announcement of Khakarborazi National Park’s extension was issued on July 28 by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation. Currently a dossier is underway to inscribe Khakarborazi region as a UNESCO World Heritage.
Khakarborazi region consists of Khakarborazi National Park and its extended southern area – where further demonstrations will take place – and Phonekanyarzi Conservation Area.
The conservation of the areas aim for locals to benefit from environmental protection, for the recognition and protection of preserved areas’ ecosystem for future generation, and to prevent from abusive exploitation of natural resources which would damage the environment.