Henry Heuveling van Beek
Amsterdam, 1957. MA International Relations, 1992, University of Amsterdam. Started and managed The Rainforest Project foundation since 1993, currently chairperson. Owner and director ECOSHARE Pte Ltd. Over 25 years’ experience in nature conservation activities. Agarwood expert, project manager, ideas person.
My aim is to help create viable nature conservation. ECOSHARE is the culmination of many years of conservation study, involvement and professional participation. While providing short term Eaglewood consulting in Papua New Guinea, since 2002, mostly for the Papua New Guinea Social Development Program, PNGSDP, I was enabled to travel to remote locations and walk into forests with PNG clan members, and traveling on their rivers and seas. Most remarkable was the enormous natural wealth, and most disturbing, the deep poverty of the people who own these ecosystems.
Whenever I had the opportunity, I asked: “Don’t you want to keep your forests?”, as we often encountered logging and devastating open pit mining. (PNGSDP was financed to alleviate one of the worlds most damaging open pit mining disasters). The reply was always something like: “Yes of course, this is my ancestors land and we are born here and we live here and we love our forest”. But the only avenue open for them to escape a hard, subsistence life, was and remains agreement to logging and mining, often with extremely low returns, or even none at all. And this while mining and logging caused devastating destruction of forests, rivers, and seas, wiping out their forests, and marine based ecosystems, forever.
It therefore seems logic to pair conservation to rewards for land owners/conservationists. Papua New Guinea people have been living in environmental harmony with their ecosystems on and around their customary land for thousands of years, and their legal ownership is laid down in the PNG constitution. So, how to do achieve commercial conservation?
This is how I came up with ECOSHARE; a way to translate land and ecosystem ownership, to very long term conservation, while create sustainable income for all involved. Present urgency is highlighted by global warming concerns, coupled with fast decreasing natural forests and marine ecosystems. Pending is an enormous global environmental disaster, endangering human survival, and that requires ECOSHARE now.
Ecosystems of high quality are still available in PNG, and need to be assessed as an entity, as a commodity, like gold; now or never, and we have no time left. Logs, wildlife, carbon storage, mineral deposits, people and plants, clean air and water, and undiscovered medical applications require action starting with value allocation, profit generation, and sharing. I hope to have explained, together with my close collaborators in PNG and around the world, why and how and what we intend to accomplish, on this website, which admittedly remains an organic and work in progress.
This personal statement must end with the declaration;
I am doing this to create nature conservation which actually works. It will work, because the primary actors, the people of PNG want this, and need a chance to keep their natural wealth while improving their livelihood. Demand for ecosystem conservation is high and will increase. Value at present is based on estimates of potential commercial outputs, and expected future value as we are selling a commodity, ecosystems, which is in high demand, diminishing forever, and containing unexplored, undeveloped riches. We will set up numerous businesses, coupled with a forecasted value increase over time, good returns on capital investment can be expected.
My friends in PNG, particular Michael and Thompson, numerous friends and close relations around the globe, together with me, have invested money and time. Any returns to us personally, will be through paid positions in our management, and caps will be imposed on such salaries, based on location and position. My personal share will be reduced to 5% in the company. By April, I will transfer 90% of founding shares to TRP, our non-profit foundation. I intend to sell 5% to obtain additional startup capital for ecoshare. I remain in charge for the time being, by way of my board membership of TRP, and directorship in ECOSHARE. I intend to transfer all direct management of ECOSHARE to others, as soon as the startup phase has been concluded. In short, this is an honest, new and feasible way to change failing conservation of high value ecosystems without seeking personal wealth.
Henry Heuveling van Beek,
Ho Chi Minh City, March 2017