A Fight Against Mega Ski Resort in the Ukrainian Carpathians

When tourism excludes local communities and its environmental impacts, any mega project is under question. Local people and international environmental activists from 12 different countries attended the first public debate on Svydovets in one of the villages affected by a planned mega ski resort. The gigantic project threatens the primeval forests of the Ukrainian Carpathians.

International delegation visiting the primeval beech forest of Uholka-Schyrokyj Luh which belongs to the UNESCO Carpathian Biosphere Reserve in Ukraine (Photo: BMF)

(YASSINYA / UKRAINE) For the first time a public debate on Svydovets has been held on 16 March in Yassinya, one of three villages affected by a planned mega ski resort. Local people have spoken out against the gigantic project which shall be built in the heart of the Svydovets massif.

Valera Pavluk, a sawmill owner from Lopukhovo who started the local resistance, states: “With the international support of people from all over the world, the project promoters can no longer ignore our resistance.”

The public debate was attended by an international delegation of environmental activists from 12 different countries. It includes Bulgaria, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, USA, and Australia . Experience from similar projects in Bulgaria shows that local people are the last who can decide over the development of their village. Instead of mega ski resorts, the panelists promoted the development of a low-impact tourism that values nature and benefits local population.

60 people including 30 villagers from Yassinya and Tchorna Tisza participated in the public debate. Among the participants were representatives from the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the regional Association of Tourism and the university of Uzhorod. More than 70’000 people watched the public debate via Facebook livestream provided by Free Svydovets.

The plans for the Svydovets ski resort include 230km of ski slopes, 33 ski lifts and 390 apartment blocks in a practically untouched nature area. The Svydovets massif is a biodiversity hotspot in the Ukrainian Carpathians including 93 endangered species and entails one of the last remaining primeval forests of Europe.

Local people and international guests attending the public debate in Yassinya, Zakarpattia oblast about a planned mega ski resort on the Svydovets massif (Photo:BMF)

The Bruno Manser Fonds supports the Free Svydovets Group in their fight for the protection of this unique forest landscape. We demand full transparency from the project promoters including the publication of the detailed plans and a transboundary environmental impact assessment carried out by international experts.

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Penan villagers drive away logging company

The Penan community of Long Tevenga in front of their blockade on the logging road. (Photo: BMF)

Long Tevenga/Sarawak,Malaysia – Stories like this do not come too often: villagers come face to face with powerful companies to chop down trees on their forests and they drove them away.

Penan villagers from the province of Borneo demonstrated that people power has prevailed as they won their case against a logging company attempting to extract timber from their forest.

The Penans have been protesting for two years against the logging operations of Lee Ling Timber Sdn. Bhd. They have barricaded the path to the forest and in August this year, their headman Peg Megut urged to strengthen their efforts: they built a house across the road leading to the forest.

Lee Ling returned to the blockade site on October 12, along with the police and representatives of the Sarawak Forest Department. However, the Penan showed how logging activities threaten their territorial rights in the area. They presented recently- completed community maps.

Negotiations between the Penan, the logging company Lee Ling and the Sarawak authorities on October 12, 2018. (Photo: BMF)

Blocked from trespassing their ancestral territory, the Sarawak Forest Department decided to send the logging company back home and stated that Lee Ling should not proceed with further timber extraction without the consent of the Penan village.

Last year, the Penan and the Bruno Manser Fund published a set of 23 maps documenting the Penan’s traditional forest and land use.

(Source: BNF)

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