The Loss of Malagasy Heritage
Antananarivo, Madagascar – During the last 20 years,
Madagascar has undertaken significant and exemplary efforts to stop
environmental degradation, effectively manage natural resources and preserve its
unique biodiversity in the pursuit of sustainable development.
Beyond their inherent value, these natural riches – which are a source of
national pride – also guarantee the benefits and services that are essential to
the daily lives of the rural majority of the population, providing them among
other things with water, food and energy. These natural resources also guarantee
the development of the agriculture, fisheries and tourism sectors.
We, non-governmental organizations working to conserve these natural
resources for the long term well being of local communities, hereby express our
deep concern at the current devastation occurring to the country’s natural
- Open and organized plundering, sometimes using firearms, of precious wood
from several natural forests, including national parks such as Marojejy and
Masoala, which have been declared World Heritage Sites.
- Intensified smuggling of wild species, especially reptiles such as
tortoises, to the national and international markets.
- Proliferation, due to the current impunity, of destructive practices such as
illegal mining and slash-and-burn agriculture within protected areas and
environmentally sensitive areas.
These deplorable acts will only further impoverish the country and deprive
future generations of the Malagasy people from their unique natural heritage.
This situation once again compromises the efforts that have been achieved up
until now to help local communities to preserve their resources from individuals
attempting to plunder the national heritage for their own short term
We hereby call upon the competent authorities and all Malagasy citizens to
urgently take action to stop and punish such acts so that natural resources are
no longer held hostage to political crises and post-cyclone emergencies. Through
this appeal, we confirm our commitment to work for the biodiversity of
Madagascar and for the well-being of the local communities, who are the stewards
of this natural heritage. We invite each citizen to recognize that the
sustainability of the development of the country depends upon its natural
resources and we call on every individual to take responsibility.
World Wide Fund for Nature - Madagascar and the Western Indian
Conservation International - Madagascar and the Indian Ocean
Wildlife Conservation Society - Madagascar
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
Institute for the Conservation
of Tropical Environments
The Peregrine Fund
Man And The Environment
Plant Resources of Tropical Africa