PNG turns a blind eye to illegal deforestation while hosting APEC summit on… illegal logging

28.02.2018

New roads and logging in the PNG licenses in 2017. Photo: Global Witness

The government of Papua New Guinea has failed to stop forest destruction and logging in an operation declared illegal by the country’s Supreme Court, according to analysis of satellite imagery by the NGO Global Witness.

The court ruled in August 2016 that a land lease used as a pretext to clear forest in East Sepik Province was invalid, and that any associated logging and oil palm development was illegal.

It found that the logging operation violated the legal rights of indigenous communities to their land and forests by failing to gain their consent.

However, the PNG government failed to stop the logging, and in February 2017 its National Forest Board quietly granted a new forest clearance permit to the Malaysian loggers responsible, allowing them to continue cutting down the same forests.

Global Witness’ findings indicate that by the time the new permit was issued around 930 kilometres of logging roads had been built and logs valued at some $65million exported under the illegal operation.

In 2017, more than 70 kilometre of new roads were added and at least $5m of timber exported under the new permit.

Global Witness released its findings this week, to coincide with a meeting in Port Moresby, the capital of PNG, between APEC countries, to discuss efforts to tackle illegal logging.

The management of PNG’s forests is in a bizarre and chaotic state of limbo, after a government inquiry found that 50,000 square kilometres of land had been allocated to private interests through a process riddled with fraud and illegalities.

Since the finding, in 2013, the government has repeatedly promised yet failed to cancel the licenses.

More from Blog

There Will Be Blood / Four key takeaways from our latest report

Continue reading
UK Environment Act / Analyses show exemptions would create dangerous loopholes

Continue reading

Leather / BMW fails to substantiate allegations against Earthsight’s research


Continue reading
It is essential that a mandatory public list of non-compliant businesses is included in the final regulation to curb EU-driven deforestation and forest degradation

Continue reading
Brazil / World’s largest sovereign wealth fund finds beef giant guilty of driving illegal deforestation

Continue reading
Grand Theft Chaco II / Paraguay Senate seeks accountability from government following Earthsight illegal deforestation exposé

Continue reading
EU anti-deforestation law / Suspect timber firms lobby for certified wood ‘green lane’ in draft proposal

Continue reading
Open letter / Paraguay must halt invasions, deforestation of indigenous Ayoreo lands

Continue reading
FSC hall of shame / The ethical wood label’s long line of scandals

Continue reading
Open letter / Ethical wood label FSC is no longer fit for purpose and must urgently reform

Continue reading

Stay up to date with all Earthsight news & updates

Receive email updates for the latest news and insights from Earthsight and be among the first to read our new investigations.

We keep your data secure and don’t share anything with third parties. Read full terms.