(cross-posted from ECO* no.3)
Dear Delegates to CBD COP11,
We welcome you to our city and look forward to a conference of sharing of information, knowledge and creating new channels of communication between people.
We, the civil society, are disturbed to learn from press reports that a two-day golf tournament has been organised by the Hyderabad Golf Association, for the CBD COP11 delegates. This tournament has been backed by the Tourism Department of the State Government stating the Golf Course as a government project. The construction and functioning of this golf course has, however, adversely affected the ecology and the local heritage site: – Naya Qila Fort.
It is important to note that since the construction of the golf course the local water bodies have shrunk in the area and the natural landscape has been completely modified by changing the contours of the area. These changes have been in violation of various laws and court orders like the AM & ASR Act 2010, and the court order of June 2010 that stated that grassing of the golf course could only take place if it did not change the contours of the area.
The construction of the golf course has also affected the structure and functioning of Naya Qila. The construction of the golf course resulted in levelling of the fortification for the use of the golfers at the expense of the structure of the heritage site. The rightful free access to the fort has been curtailed even though free access was guaranteed by the MOU of the site.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed with the Andhra Pradesh High Court challenging the location of a golf course in Naya Qila
The Heritage Conservation Committee stated that the golf course would significantly affect the site and were opposed to creating the golf course inside or within 30 metres from the boundary walls of the Golconda Fort precinct.
We hope that these facts will help you decide whether to attend this tournamient, or keeping in mind the objectives of the CBD and this conference, to decline the invitation as a mark of protest against the destruction that this golf course has created.
*The Convention on Biological Diversity Alliance (CBD Alliance) is a loose network of activists and representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), social movements and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations (IPOs) advocating for improved and informed participation in CBD processes. The Alliance does not act as a representative of civil society organizations (CSOs) around the CBD, nor does it speak for the diversity of civil society’s voices. Rather, it exists in order to facilitate more diverse, coordinated, and effective civil society input into CBD policy-making and processes. The Alliance is open to all CSOs working progressively on CBD issues and is governed by a representative board, democratically selected from the community. The CBD Alliance has as its ongoing mandate and mission: to ensure the diverse and effective participation of civil society in CBD processes – which are typically the purview of global elites, and increasingly, under the influence of powerful private sector forces.