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The Nicaragua Canal

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Haylee Derrickson

on 8 June 2014

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Transcript of The Nicaragua Canal

Environmental Concerns
Economic Impacts

The Nicaragua Canal
The Triple Bottom Line
*Project may fail all 3 pillars

Social Impacts

By Haylee Derrickson
Why A Canal?
Nicaragua is:
the poorest country in Central America
the second poorest in the entire Western Hemisphere

Statistics from the World Factbook
Project will cost $40 billion
Will increase economic growth rate 10.1% from the current 4.5% (2013) to 14.6% by 2016
Economic Benefits:
What Is It?
A Canal to Rival the Panama Canal
two deepwater ports
two free-trade shipping zones
international airport
oil pipeline
Benefits for HKND Company and China
Easier access to oil in Venezuela, as well as iron ore and soybeans in Brazil
Canal will be able to handle the biggest bulk carriers in the world with its increased ship capacity
Will be able to handle ships up to 1/4 of a mile long!

Who is Building It?

The HKND group, a company based in Hong Kong has 50-year concession
Renewable for an additional 50 years
HKND’s chief executive, Wang Jing, is the 1,210th richest person in the world with a net worth of $1.4 billion
"[My] biggest concern is beginning something that will not be completed, wasting resources, displacing people and wildlife, causing irreparable damage to the environment, and raising false hopes."
-Pedro Alvarez, professor of civil engineering at Rice University

400,000 hectares of rainforest and wetlands will be destroyed
Several key protected areas will face environmental degradation
Ecosystems across Central America may be impacted
Indio Maiz Biological Reserve
115 km to the South of the canal
Protects 318,000 hectares of tropical dry forest
Bosawas Biosphere Reserve

240 km North of canal
Protects 2 million hectares of tropical forest
Biosphere reserve designated by UNESCO
Protects the second largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere!
MesoAmerican Biological Corridor will be further fragmented

What is the MBC?
Transboundary protected area created in 1997 by Mexico and Central American countries to protect migratory corridor between North and South America
Many species, including Jaguar, rely on MBC
Biodiversity Hotspot
2nd largest coral reef in the world
200 distinct ecosystem classes
less than 0.5% of the world’s terrestrial surface area but 7-10% of all living organisms
MBC Already Facing Habitat Loss and Fragmentation

50% of natural habitats in Central America have been converted for agriculture or urban development
Central American Commission on Environment and Development estimates that 400,000 hectares of forest are lost each year
Degradation of Aquatic Ecosystems
Dredging & Sedimentation
1.3 billion tonnes of mud, sand, and stone will have to be dredged in Lake Nicaragua then dumped in lake or on land nearby.
Deepwater ports will also be dredged on both coasts
Dredging will destroy benthic habitats, wetlands, coral reefs, sea turtle nesting areas, and mangrove forests
Sediments suffocate fish and other aquatic organisms

Invasive Species

Transported in bilge water of ships
Salt water infiltration
Oil spills
Other various forms of pollution from ship passage
Biodiversity Loss
Endangered species impacted: Jaguar, Harpy Eagle, Sea Turtle, Spider Monkey, Baird's Tapir
Wetlands and coral reefs extremely biodiverse
Endemic fish species in Lake Nicaragua
Indigenous Peoples Relocated
Groups potentially affected: the Rama, Garifuna, Mayanga, Miskitu, and Ulwa
Tension already exists due to illegal logging by foreign invaders
The Garifuna
Loss of Fresh Drinking Water
Lake Nicaragua is the LARGEST drinking water reservoir in Central America
Contamination (oil spills, saltwater) could make water undrinkable
Lake will be a critical water source in the coming years
Population projected to grow 37% by 2050
Climate change could worsen water shortages

Dams built to regulate locks may cause flooding, especially during periods of intense rainfall.
Canal will be constructed in an area of seismic activity. An earthquake could cause the dams to collapse.
Nicaragua is Desperate for Economic Development
Project will include:
Lost Livelihoods
Several species of fish in the Lake Nicaragua that are important for fishing and tourism could be impacted, including euryhaline bull sharks sawfish, and tarpon
A Bad Deal for Nicaragua
The Nicaraguan government will only get a 1% shareholding in the canal for each year of operation
Project will be tax exempt
Nicaragua has given up its right to sue HKND for any damage done to the environment during the construction and operation of the canal
Nicaragua will have to shoulder the costs
Will It Really Boost Nicaragua's Economy?
A large percentage of the skilled labor and machinery needed for the project will need to be
Canal will be very costly to maintain
Will require constant re-dredging to combat the collection of silt
A Better Solution for Nicaragua's Economic Hardships
Profitable, Feasible, and Sustainable
Costa Rica is an example:
25% of the Costa Rica's land is protected (12% in national parks,13% more is in other types of protected reserves)
Costa Rica receives more than 1 million visitors a year
Ecotourism generates thousands of jobs and brings in > $1 billion a year to its economy

A Final Concern...
The HKND Group is going to conduct an independent environmental assessment
The Nicaraguan government plans to rely on this assessment without conducting its own
HKND is not obligated to share the results with the general public
Full transcript