APEC forest ministers urged to press PNG government to act on land grabbing and illegal logging

APEC Forest Ministers are being urged to question the PNG government about widespread land grabbing and illegal and unsustainable logging and press for action when they meet in Port Moresby next week

Community advocacy group ACT NOW! has written to sixteen APEC Forest Ministers explaining the history of the SABL land grab and the continuing problems of illegal and unsustainable logging in PNG.

APEC countries have adopted a strong stand against illegal and unsustainable logging [1] and ACT NOW! says the Forest Ministers have a unique opportunity to press the PNG government to take action.

"APEC is committed to stamp out illegal logging and ensure sustainable forest management" says ACT NOW! Program Manager, Effrey Dademo.

"Numerous reports by international experts, some commissioned by the PNG government itself [2], have repeatedly highlighted the problems of extensive illegal and unsustainable logging. Yet successive governments have failed to take any action. Clearly we need international assistance if we are ever going to see any improvement".

International organisations like Forest Trends [3] and Chatham House [4] have reported at least 70% of PNG logging is illegal and the International Tropical Timber Organisation has decried the total lack of sustainable forest management [5].

These problems have been exacerbated by the SABL land grab in which more than 5 million hectares of forest has been stolen from local people. A Commission of Inquiry [6] found most of the forest has been seized by foreign logging companies who are using promised agriculture projects as a cover for clear-fell logging. Over one-third of PNG's total log exports now come from SABL areas.

In 2007 an ITTO Diagnostic Mission [5] highlighted the failures of government agencies to properly apply and enforce the law and the failure of government to properly ensure even basic standards of legality and the complete failure 'to achieve any semblance of sustainability in its forest management'.

The mission recommended a series of sensible measures to address the failures of forest governance and law enforcement, forest policy and administration and forest management but the government failed to take any follow up action.

"The PNG government, politicians and public servants, have failed to exercise any control over foreign logging companies for more than thirty years. Illegal and unsustainable logging is destroying our forests and depriving rural people of their future" says Ms Dademo.

"We are calling on APEC and the international community to act on their commitments and assist the PNG government to ensure effective reforms are implemented."


[1] See http://www.apec.org/Groups/SOM-Steering-Committee-on-Economic-and-Technical-Cooperation/Working-Groups/Illegal-Logging-and-Associated-Trade.aspx  andhttp://www.apec.org/Meeting-Papers/Ministerial-Statements/Forestry/2013_forestry.aspx
[2] Reports on illegal logging in PNG
* PNG Government review of current logging operations, 2004 -http://pngforests.com/forestry-review/current-logging-projects/   
* PNG Government review of disputed permits and extensions, 2004 -http://pngforests.com/forestry-review/disputed-permits-and-extensions/
* ITTO Diagnostic Mission Report, 2007 - http://pngforests.com/itto-2/
* Overseas Development Institute, Papua New Guinea Forest Studies, 2007 -http://pngforests.com/odi/
* Forest Trends, Logging Legality and Livelihoods, 2009 -http://pngforests.com/forest-trends-2/
* Transparency International, Forest Governance Integrity Baseline Report, 2009 -http://pngforests.com/ti-png/
* Greenpeace, The Untouchables 2004, PNG not ready for REDD 2010, Up For Grabs 2012 - http://pngforests.cohttp://pngforests.com/greenpeace
* Illegal Logging in Papua New Guinea. Sam Lawson. Chatham House, April 2014 -https://pngforests.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/illegal-logging-in-png-chatham-houseu-2014.pdf
[3] http://pngforests.com/forest-trends-2/   
[4] https://pngforests.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/illegal-logging-in-png-chatham-houseu-2014.pdf
[5]  http://pngforests.com/itto-2/
[6] http://pngforests.com/sabl/