| Act Now
PORT MORESBY - The unlawful use of forest clearing authorities as a cover for illegal large-scale logging by foreign-owned companies in PNG has been further exposed in a new report from by Act Now!
The report focuses on the Mengen agriculture project in East New Britain Province and reveals how Malaysian logging company, KK Connections, committed to establish forest plantation and agriculture projects if it was given a forest clearing authority (FCA).
An FCA is allows the clearing of small, discrete areas of forest for agriculture or other land use. KK Connections was given the FCA but then proceeded to use it as cover to export thousands of cubic metres of round logs.
Satellite images analysed by Act Now reveal that KK Connections is roaming over a large area, selectively felling and extracting valuable timber with no evidence it has abided by the terms of the FCA.
An earlier case study, Ten Years Without a Crop, revealed that another Malaysian-owned logging company, Global Elite, has sold round logs valued at K115 million from the Wammy area of the West Sepik Province.
Global Elite was given an FCA but did not establish the palm oil or rubber plantations it had promised.
To make matters worse, both reports highlight how these logging operations were approved by the PNG Forest Authority without the informed consent of important customary landowners.
“Just last week, prime minister Marape again reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the protection and sustainable management of our forest resources,” says Act Now campaign manager, Eddie Tanago, “yet the PNG Forest Authority is continuing to allow illegal logging across the entire country.”
Act Now has demanded that the Forest Authority cancel the FCA’s for both the Mengen and Wammy projects and impose a moratorium on logging in all 24 FCA areas across nine provinces.
“FCAs are routinely being used as a loophole to authorise the theft of PNG’s forests,” Tanago says.
“We call on the National Forest Board and PNG Forest Authority to extend the current moratorium on new FCAs, suspend logging in all existing FCAs and conduct a comprehensive public review of the projects".
Act Now has also asked the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Police Fraud squad to open investigations into these illegal logging operations.