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PEJN Coordinator Iliesa Tora (Fourth from Left) with a community representative at the proposed new port site as part of Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor project in Naklua. Photo: GEOFFREY SMITH/EJN

RAYONG, Thailand – March 31, 2018: 11.45am (EJN/Nuku’alofa Times): Pacific Environment Journalism Network Coordinator Iliesa Tora was part of a group of Asian Pacific environmental journalists who yesterday visited the proposed $US50 Billion Eastern Economic Corridor site in Naklua, Thailand.

The massive EEC project has attracted serious environmental and social concerns from communities living along the proposed site.

The multi-billion dollar project is also seen as an offshoot of the “Chinese One Belt, One Road” initiative, aimed at connecting China with Asia, Europe, and Africa through the land and sea corridor.

Mr Tora and fwllow journalists with a local tour guide. Photo: GEOFFREY SMITH/EJN

Mr Tora and fwllow journalists with a local tour guide. Photo: GEOFFREY SMITH/EJN

Mr Tora says it was an opportunity to see up close and first-hand how major economic development projects are impacting ordinary lives.

“Across the Pacific region there are critical lessons to be learnt from such major developments which are carried out in the name of economic progress. As  journalists we have an obligation to ensure that this is not at the expense of our biodiversity and environment,” says Mr Tora.

He adds while there is a lot of talk around the term “sustainable development,” the true test is how this translates into reality on the ground.

“Therefore the formation of Pacific Environment Journalism Network reflects the very real need for environmental journalism now more than ever before,” says Mr Tora.

The environmental journalists are in Thailand for a Training of Trainers workshop, funded by Internews and Earth Journalism Network.

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