| Act Now
PORT MORESBY - A new Timber Legality Risk Assessment published by civil society organisation Act Now concludes that there is a very high risk that almost all logging occurring in natural forest areas in Papua New Guinea is illegal.
The assessment is based on a comprehensive review of all the available literature, including reports of official government inquiries, court cases, international organisations and civil society groups.
It shows that, although most logging operations are authorised by the PNG Forest Authority, there is an almost universal failure by the Authority to follow the law in issuing timber harvesting licences.
This includes failures to ensure the informed consent of customary landowners and to follow the correct procedural steps designated in the Forest Act.
The assessment also finds a complete failure to monitor harvesting operations and ensure logging companies follow the terms and conditions of their licences.
There is no attempt in most logging projects to apply basic sustainable forest management principles or to ensure logging companies follow the logging code of practice.
The findings of widespread illegal logging are consistent with the recently released Anti-Corruption and Money Laundering Strategic Plan published by the Bank of PNG.
The plan identifies illegal logging as one of the top five money laundering risks in PNG.
Illegal logging is generating hundreds of millions of kina in revenue and is assisted by government employees. It is not hard to imagine what their motivation and rewards might be.