Civil Society Presentation on the Forestry Act Review

1.  The Forestry Act 1991 is 30 years old and has been weakened by many amendments.

2.  Very limited implementation: most operations are old concession types - Timber Rights Purchase (TRP) / Local Forest Area (LFA). 

3.  Under the Act our forest resource has been depleted; unsustainable harvests + extensive forest clearance. 

4.  Act is completely outdated as the national and international context has changed: 

  • Timber and Non-Timber Forest Product markets demanding independent third party legality and sustainability certification; 
  • Management of forests for Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), including carbon sequestration and storage (REDD+); 
  • Strongly growing focus and investment world-wide in sustainable landscape management and restoration (forests + agriculture); 
  • Government focus on Taking Back PNG and growing a PNG owned sustainable forest industry. 

5.  We need a completely new Forestry Act with a focus on:

  • Responsible sustainable forest management including all forest goods and services;
Independent third party legality and sustainability certification;
Maximum involvement of landowning communities and PNG owned small and medium enterprises managing the forest;
  • Maximum downstream processing and value capture. 

6.  Before renewing the Act we need to take stock of the current situation and do independent reviews of:

  • the effectiveness of the 1991 Forestry Act in fullfilling its stated purpose;
the performance of the PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA) and how it has fullfilled its mandate;
the performance of the logging industry and its contribution to sustainable rural development; 
  • the current state of our forest resources and future potential for truly sustainable annual harvest of forest products; 
  • the aspirations of the resource owning communities, as the forests hold their life;
the opportunities for future responsible sustainable forest management and development of a long-term sustainable forest industry. 

7.  Share reviews results and use them as the basis of regional consultations to set new objectives and a new model for responsible sustainable forest management in PNG. 

8.  ITTO Community Forest Management PES/REDD project progressive outcomes should inform the new Act. 

9.  New objectives and responsible sustainable forest management model basis for new Forestry Act (to be aligned with Climate Change Management Act / National Sustainable Land Use Policy. / StaRS / Environment Act, etc.). 

10.  National Forest Service to be restructured and properly financed to allow effective implementation, enforcement & monitoring of new Forestry Act (consider Fisheries observers system).

While doing the reviews and development of a new Act, PNGFA as the Custodian of our precious forest resources, needs to stop its further depletion: 

11.  Ensure the Revised Logging Code of Practice takes immediate effect.

12.  Put a Moratorium on all new Forest Clearing Authorities (FCA), review all existing ones, and cancel FCA’s that breach conditions or were approved through incorrect process.

13.  Stop any further geographic or time extensions to old TRP agreements.

14.  Seriously improve Provincial Forest Management Committee functioning: 

  • update of membership, properly selected reps without conflict of interest; 
  • proper process for all applications to be followed; 
  • on-site check and documented confirmation of FPIC by all affected landowning communities; 
  • consultations with Local Level Governments and District Development Authorities. 

15.  PNGFA please make use of all expertise that is available within PNG; professional foresters, environmental NGO’s, traditional community resource management systems, etc. 

16.  Opportunities for financing of independent reviews & development of new Act: 

  • USAID Lukautim Graun Program
  • USAID PNG Sustainable Landscapes Program;
US Forest Service Program to promote legal timber trade;
  • UK Government & EU commitments to fund improvements in Forest Governance.