Two Logging Companies In PNG Ordered To Stop Work

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Loggers alleged to have breached Environment Act

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 11, 2015) – Two major logging companies operating at the border of Northern and Morobe provinces have been issued stop work notices for breaching the Environment Act.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced yesterday that the Environment and Conservation Authority had issued the orders for loggers Yema Gaiapa Developers Limited and Viva Success Limited.

The two operators have been the target of Oro Governor Gary Juffa’s unrelenting push for the Government to take positive steps into investigating their activities there.

Mr Juffa on hearing of the announcement was quick to say: "Justice prevails finally and I now have faith in the Dept of Environment and thank the Minister for his actions.

"We now wish to pursue a civil case to recover damages. The firms have been trespassing and unlawfully logging for decades and I have been adamant that they must stop.

"In fact, if they were not dealt with by the National Government we had earmarked them for removal early next year by force.

"I thank the various agencies involved in particular Environment, Customs, Police and Prime Minister’s Department as well the Oro administration," Mr Juffa said.

Meanwhile, in a statement yesterday Mr O’Neill said: "No ifs, and buts, if there are valid claims that a company is involved in illegal logging, we will shut down their operation and investigate.

"While the Government is doing all it can to improve governance within the forestry sector, there are others who have no respect for the laws of this country, or for the rights of the resource owners."

Mr O’Neill said the Government was determined and will continue to provide leadership to nurture better and improved governance in all resource sectors, including forestry, which has been mismanaged over many years.

"Our Government has placed a moratorium on new licences for round log exports.

"We are also working with key stakeholders and development partners to improve the capacity, operations and effectiveness of the National Forest Authority.

"The NFA is mandated with the responsibility of ensuring effective governance of our forestry sector," he said.

Mr O’Neill said the country had some of the most significant forest coverage in the world and PNG was working closely with developmental partners and international organisations to enhance forestry management.

"We recently hosted the APEC forestry ministers’ meeting in Port Moresby that advanced mechanisms for regional leaders to work together to enhance governance within the forestry sector.

"We have furthered these initiatives at the recent Philippines APEC leaders meeting, and these issues were also discussed at the Paris Climate Change conference.

"Papua New Guinea is determined to implement good governance and sustainability in our forestry sector and move beyond the mismanagement of the past," he said.

"We need to all strive to improve governance within this very important sector, and protect the interests of our people and the country," the PM said.

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