STOP PAPAR DAM! Save our last UNESCO Biosphere area in Penampang, Sabah!

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Malaysia is home to one of the world's oldest and most biodiverse tropical rainforests. In turn, these rainforests are home to a myriad of indigenous communities, who for centuries have depended on these forest ecosystems for their survival. The lifelines of our rainforests and our people are none other than our majestic rivers, some of which are now under threat. Instead of protecting our natural assets in weathering the effects of a changing climate, our government has opted to develop in ways that bring further uncertainty, and potential calamity, to our rivers and those who depend on them by relying on mega-dams to meet projected demand for energy and water. Communities in Malaysia who, in the past, have been displaced by mega dams currently face poverty and, ironically, energy insecurity and water insecurity. With at least 10 more mega dams slated for construction in Sarawak for hydroelectricity and 16 more in Sabah, the negative consequences of such unhinged exploitation of our rivers will effect more than the communities who will be displaced by them.

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Existing mega-dams have dramatically increased the impact of floods, particularly in the Borneo states, where rural villagers and suburban residents are forced to evacuate their homes and belongings, which have at times have suffered irreperable damage. They have inundated hundreds of square kilometers of forest, destroying indigenous plant life and terrestrial fauna. They release tons of methane into the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas over 20 times more intense than carbon dioxide.

We believe that development does not always have to come at the expense of our Indigenous Peoples communities, at the expense of our natural heritage, nor at the expense of our climate. We believe in the idea that development can be a progressive force, aligned with a vision of conservation and resilient communities. We know that decentralized, eco-friendly alternatives, such as rainwater harvesting systems, gravity-feed pipes, and community-based micro-hydro systems are viable and exist all over the country.

In conjunction with The International Day of Action Against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life, we would like to invite you to take part in protecting our rivers. Adopt a Critical River near you today!