Eighty-five percent of the population in Papua New Guinea, some 7 million people, live in rural communities on their own ‘customary’ land.
For these people their land is their supermarket, hardware store, pharmacy and cash machine.
The land provides food to eat from gardens and hunting, water, medicines, fuel for cooking, materials to build houses and make ropes, fences, baskets, tools and weapons.
The land also binds families, clans and communities together. It provides social cohesion, sustains cultural identity and underlies spiritual beliefs.
All of this self-sufficiency is lost when customary land is given over to corporations or governments.