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''ACT NOW PNG' on Forest & Unsustainable Logging

A lot of reforms aimed at stopping unsustainable logging and corruption which was exposed by the Barnett Commission of Inquiry have not been implemented after more than 30 years.

Community Advocacy Organisation 'ACT NOW PNG' campaign Manager, Eddie Tanago, says that these are some of the important issues, for the new Forest Minister, Salio Waipo, to address.

Mr. Tanago in a statement, says that it is shameful that nothing much has happened to stop the rampant illegal and unsustainable logging, despite the reforms to the Forestry Act in 1991.

He says that the Forestry Act was supposed to mark the end of the Colonial era Timber Rights Purchase (TRP) Agreements, which were found to be full of abuses, the majority of log exports are still from TRP areas. 

Mr. Tanago says, another permit that has been abused is the Forest Clearance Authority (FCA's), which sees logging companies harvesting large forest areas, and not small and discreet areas for agricultural crops or roads. 

He adds that government figures show that 28% of all log exports in 2021, came from FCA permits, and this is equivalent to 2. 7 million cubic meters of logs, which were exported. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Tanago is also alleging that the Marape-led government is still issuing new log export permits to foreign companies since taking office.

He says that despite an announcement that his Government is committed to ending round log exports by 2025, and going into downstream processing, they have identified 20 new log export operations, that have commenced in the last two years.

Mr. Tanago also says that ACT NOW wants the government to immediately halt the issuance of new FCA's, and the extension or renewal of all logging permits granted under TRP agreements if the government is serious about meeting its 2025 target.

He is also calling on the government to conduct an independent audit, to determine the legality of the existing operations.

Prime Minister James Marape when visiting the PNG Forest Authority this week, announced that the Government will be carrying out an audit into the 205 logging licenses issued so far.

Marape also advised the PNG Forest Authority to cease the issuance of new forest licenses. 

ACT NOW PNG is a community advocacy organisation that assists people to make their voices heard in relation to matters of national importance.

NBC / PNG Today

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