Prof Colin Filer from the Australian National University has exposed how Forest Clearance Authorities have taken over the forest resource allocation process in Papua New Guinea.
According to Filer, these FCAs are now being issued without any accompanying Special Agriculture Lease since that scheme was itself exposed as a scam.
According to Filer, there have been no Forest Management Authorities issued since 2010, and the Forest Authority has shifted instead to issuing FCAs, Timber Authorities and extensions to Timber Rights Purchases and Local Forest Areas, which were meant to have been phased out after the new Forestry Act in 1991.
This indicates an apparent virtual absence of good governance and compliance with sound policy in the management of the forest sector in PNG.
The requirements of the 1990 Forest policy to require sustainable harvest management, empower customary landowners and rigorous processes for their engagement and decision-making have all been sidelined.
The whole process of sanctioning logging now seems to be determined by outside logging interests, together with some powerful local officials and their associates, without even a pretence at applying the policy objectives or checks and balances introduced in 1991, after the Barnett Forest Inquiry.
This whole rotten scenario needs to be overturned, starting with accountability, and public availability of all resource documentation, plans, agreements, and transactions etc.