Golden chainsaw award to PNG government

BY ILYA GRIDNEFF

AAP – GREENPEACE HAS presented the PNG government with a Golden Chainsaw award for being “greedy rather than green” when it comes to tackling climate change.

Greenpeace gave the award to PNG representative Federica Bietta during climate change talks in Nagoya, Japan, on Monday.

Greenpeace said it chose PNG for the dubious honour for continued corruption in the forestry sector, stalling UN talks on reducing climate change, disregard for indigenous people’s rights and rampant deforestation.

At the conference, Greenpeace released a 16-page report outlining its concerns that PNG is not ready for the complex UN plan known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which seeks to abate climate change through a series of donor funded schemes with forested nations such as PNG.

Greenpeace has criticised PNG for being more interested in donor money than seriously tackling climate change.

“The PNG government is hungry for international funding from REDD but has no plans to stop destroying its own rainforest or reduce its own emissions,” Greenpeace forest campaigner Sam Moko said.

Mr Moko, who is in Nagoya for the latest climate talks, said the PNG government could not be trusted to stop cutting down trees.

“How can the government be expected to enforce a sophisticated REDD program, which requires thorough monitoring of emissions from reduced deforestation, when it can not keep its own forestry sector under control?” he asked.

Earlier this month, AAP reported that PNG’s prime minister and deputy prime minister were at odds with each other over controversial carbon trade schemes that have plagued their country with scandal.

PNG, with its massive forest coverage, has been at the forefront of the REDD debate but the country has been plagued by numerous corruption allegations.

Previous winners of Greenpeace’s Golden Chainsaw include Malaysian logging giant Rimbunan Hijau and numerous logging companies in Brazil’s Amazon forest and the Congo.

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  1. Western villagers angry over alleged land-grab

    VILLAGERS in Western are angry their government has allocated more than a million hectares of pristine forest for “special agricultural leases” – which they describe as a land-grab for logging.
    At a landowner meeting in Kiunga this week, hundreds of disgruntled villagers said their land had been given away without any informed consent or notification.
    Western now has half of PNG’s allocated 4.3 million hectares of “special purpose agricultural and business leases”, after the government gazetted Tosigiba Timber group and North East Timber 1.25 million hectares on Sept 23.
    Last year, the government allocated 853,420ha to companies in the province for special leases in areas such as the contentious Kamula Doso forest that had a court order preventing any forestry activity.
    The build-up of “special leases” had enraged green groups, NGOs and numerous government officials to raise their concerns that PNG’s forests were under threat by oil palm or “logging by stealth”.
    North Fly MP Boka Kondra, who addressed the landowners on Wednesday, said it was a grave concern.
    “They are giving away the land but we do not know what the future is or the implications,” he said.
    “It is a surprise to see this, I will talk to the ministers concerned to find a possible solution because a lot of people on their land will see this as taking it away.”
    Western Province Land and Resource Owner Federation chairman, Paul Katut said landowners had been duped.
    “It is unprecedented the government gives one million hectares,” he said.
    “We have members of the companies here that all say they did not agree to the deal.”
    The Lands Department grants the “special leases” to companies to develop, for example, oil palm plantations but, in the past, unscrupulous players had used the leases to bypass laws and cut down the forest, export the logs and then leave.
    Greenpeace forest and climate campaigner Paul Winn said increasing special leases was another example of
    PNG’s disregard for its purported climate change policy and indigenous people’s rights.
    “These leases will never result in agricultural benefits to PNG. They are just a way of sidestepping the logging laws,” he said.
    Agriculture Minister John Hickey and the Lands Department could not be contacted for comments. – AAP

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