Local November 14, 2016 | 9:47 am

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Environmentalists look to CAFTA-DR to defend national park

Santo Domingo.- The SOS Ambiente (environment) RD environmentalistgroup works with NGOs to protect national parks and create awareness on theurgency to sustainably manage Dominican Republic’s protected areas and naturalresources.

Group activists Ariel "Chino" Singand Carlina Durán on Friday denounced before the CAFTA-RD treaty’s EnvironmentalAffairs Secretariat the deforestation of Sierra de Bahoruco National Park (southwest).

Their complaint is based on the treaty’s article17.4 of: "Any person of a Party may forward communications asserting thata Party is failing to effectively enforce its environmental legislation."

On Nov. 2015 Duran and Sing sent a letter denouncingDominican Republic’s failure to comply with national environmental legislationwithin the Park, where they affirm there’s deforestation of at least 34 squarekilometers from agriculture. To base their complaint they used geo-referencemaps, photos, videos, interviews and studies of in the area by Grupo Jaragua.

They also produced their first documentary"Parques de Papel (parks on paper): Sierra de Bahoruco", which waspart of the material submitted to CAFTA-RD.

A letter dated May 27, 2016, signed by CAFTA-DRgeneral secretariat coordinator Jorge Guzman says that the missive from by Duránand Sing, as SOS Ambiente RD representatives, meets the criteria set forth andthe Protocol requiring a response from the Dominican Government within 45 daysafter received.

The Environment Ministry has yet to makepublic whether it has or plans to issue a response.

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