The Asia Pacific Rainforest Summit being hosted this week by the Australian Government, must address the serious problems of land grabbing and illegal logging in Papua New Guinea and the rampant corruption that underpins them, says community activist group, ACT NOW!
The forests of Papua New Guinea form part of the third largest remaining tract of tropical rainforest left on the planet - but ACT NOW! says this forest is quickly disappearing thanks to land grabbing and illegal logging by the Malaysian dominated logging industry.
"Over 10% of our total land area has been seized by foreign companies in a huge land grab and thousands of hectares of forest are being cleared for bogus agriculture projects", says Eddie Tanago, Campaign Coordinator for ACT NOW!
"A Commission of Inquiry has found the land grab was illegal and the government has said many of the leases will be revoked, but corrupt officials backed by politicians and the logging industry are blocking any action".
The Australian Government says it is bringing together regional leaders at the Rainforest Summit to find ways to reduce rainforest loss because these forests 'support extraordinary biodiversity, provide economic opportunity and livelihoods to millions and store billions of tonnes of carbon… critical to addressing climate change'
ACT NOW! says the Australian Government needs to do far more if it is to show it is really committed to reducing forest loss and protecting the livelihoods of rural people in countries like PNG.
"Australia must stand up and denounce the land grabbing and illegal logging and start taking serious measures to stop the corruption".
ACT NOW! says the forest loss in PNG is fueled by corruption and the truth is Australia is currently the largest single beneficiary from the rainforest destruction, illegal logging and land grabbing in PNG.