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PNG must start living within its means

Govt must act on forest clearing abuse

| Campaign Manager, Act Now!

Act Now

PORT MORESBY – The community advocacy group, Act Now, has urged the Papua New Guinea government to stop the ongoing abuse of agricultural clearing permits being used as a cover for large-scale logging.

Forest Clearing Authorities are routinely misused to facilitate large-scale illegal and unsustainable logging.

They are supposed to be used to authorise the clearing of small areas of forest for agriculture but the government’s statistics show they are now responsible for the largest share of PNG’s log exports.

A moratorium on new forest clearing projects imposed by the National Forest Board in 2022 has been ignored and a supposed audit of existing projects has been conducted behind closed doors.

The PNG Forest Authority is either incapable or unwilling to properly implement and enforce our forestry laws and the government must step in and order a full and transparent public inquiry.

Act Now’s just released third report on forest clearing concessions looks at the Wasu Cattle Farm project in Morobe Province and raises serious questions about its legality.

The report highlights allegations by customary landowners that they did not consent to the project, evidence from satellite imagery showing a logging pattern consistent with commercial selective logging not forest clearance for agriculture and no sign that the logging company has established a cattle farm in the area despite exporting logs valued at over K15 million since 2021.

This investigation into the Wasu project complements the findings of previous reports on the abuse of Forest Clearing Authorities on the Wammy Project in West Sepik and the Mengen Project in East New Britain.

Act Now is calling on the government to undertake an independent, public and transparent audit of existing Forest Clearing Authorities. Until this is done, log exports under these authorities should be suspended.

We also want to see an urgent review of the Wasu Cattle Farm project to assess whether it is operating legally.

In December, a group of donors led by France and the European Union, announced a US$100 million (K400 million) package of funding to PNG for forest protection initiatives including improving governance of the forestry sector and stopping deforestation and forest degradation.

World leaders have made bold statements about the importance of our forests for global carbon stocks and have committed millions of dollars to protect them.

Illegal and unsustainable logging is a major driver of forest loss in PNG and stopping these abuses should be at the top of the agenda for both the PNG government and its international partners.

Link here to download the Wasu Cattle Farm report

ACT NOW! is a community advocacy organisation based in Papua New Guinea. Its vision is for a just and equitable society (gutpela sindaun blong olgeta) that embraces PNG’s rich and diverse cultural and biological heritage based on the principles of sharing, communal land ownership and environmental stewardship


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