Community advocacy group ACT NOW! welcomes the government’s announcement it will be hosting the Third APEC Meeting of Forestry Ministers in Port Moresby in October.
“This is the first APEC Ministers meeting to be held in Papua New Guinea and will be an excellent opportunity to remind the region of our government’s terrible record on the SABL land grab and illegal logging” says ACT NOW! Campaign Coordinator, Eddie Tanago.
Foreign logging companies, unscrupulous public servants and small groups of greedy leaders have exploited the concept of agriculture leases to steal more than 5 million hectares of land from customary owners. It is now more than two years since a Commission of Inquiry into the land grab uncovered serious irregularities and unlawful actions in issuing the leases, which are being used as a cover for large-scale forest clearances.
The Commission of Inquiry recommended the leases be cancelled. But despite numerous promises from the Prime Minister, nothing has been done to return the land to its rightful owners or stop the illegal logging.
“We look forward to briefing the APEC Minister’s on the situation here in PNG and hope they can help bring pressure on the government to honour its promises to cancel the leases and stop the illegal logging.”