PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Outrageous Malaysian Timber Industry Conduct Continues
Rimbunan Hijau (RH) ? the notorious band of outlaw loggers decimating rainforests in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and elsewhere ? is again in the news. Rimbunan Hijau is alleged to have paid to fly PNG police in to bash up and otherwise use violence against native landowners protesting RH's razing of their rainforest heritage. This type of activity is not new. This Malaysian band of mafia like robber barons has decimated the integrity of Papua New Guinea's rainforests, cultures and political institutions for years.
Shockingly, Prime Minister Michael Somare ? the equivalent of PNG's "George Washington" ? has become an apologist for such horrendous abuses. Clearly he has been compromised, as he attacks the media for reporting the news, rather than RH for terrorizing his citizenry. Papua New Guinea is being run by, for and of brutal industrial loggers. And Rimbunan Hijau's response to this and similar allegations over the years is to threaten to sue Greenpeace.
Equally outrageous is the continued silence of the big three conservation groups ? WWF, Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy ? and the World Blank. All are too meek, unwilling to confront outrageous criminal ecological evil, and do little more than spend money on token model projects. I ask each, what is you position on Malaysian loggers in PNG and elsewhere in the World's last ancient rainforests? I know the answer for WWF ? they view some such companies as partners, negotiating to "certify" their operations as environmentally and socially acceptable. And the World Blank continues to promise a project to "reform" the industry through monitoring. Yada, yada, yada. What a bunch of clods.
All these actors continue to subsidize and provide political cover for rainforest resource grabs by the powerful, at the expense of rainforests and their indigenous peoples. Industrial forestry is the greatest threat to the World?s remaining rainforest biodiversity, ecosystems and peoples. The boom is just peaking, and unless addressed immediately, PNG's and the Earth?s rainforests will be significantly reduced, and eventually essentially lost, in the near future.
Forests provide the basis of livelihood and cultural life for most PNG landowners and other rainforest peoples around the World. The voice of rainforest dwellers working for meaningful forest conservation that includes ecologically rigorous community based forest management and protection is not being heard. Many rainforest communities are developing and implementing creative and sustainable ways of harvesting forest resources without destroying the forest. Such "eco-forestry" activities are not being adequately supported.
Conservation interests that are not taking a stand against heavy, often illegal, industrial rainforest logging; and are not supporting community based, ecologically sustainable alternatives as the only acceptable type of rainforest management, are part of the problem.
Forests.org and our 10,000+ strong network renews our calls for the PNG government and conservation community to stop trying to reform industrial forestry and instead work to shut it down, while supporting local peoples in their efforts to continue living with their rainforest habitats. This will require the following:
? Establish a timeline to permanently end industrial log exports from PNG's and the world?s rainforests, and a process to transition forest management activities to small and medium scaled, community-based, certified operations whose timbers are locally processed.
? Establish national Commissions of Inquiry in PNG, and elsewhere plagued by criminal timber interests, with broad discretionary power to investigate all aspects of the current logging industry and make necessary recommendations, including possible criminal prosecutions.
? End donor subsidies to industrial log export. Redirect donor funds to transitioning the industry to sustainability and community based production and protection, cushioning the economic impact upon the government and landowners of doing so, including establishment of national trust funds to support eco-forestry and other alternative forest conservation methods.
? Further, support the development and implementation of forest policy, legislation, regulations and guidelines to establish a timber industry based only upon ecologically sustainable, small to medium scale, community-based eco-forestry management.
? Identify culturally appropriate manners within indigenous land tenure systems to develop protected areas. This will require easy and accessible mechanisms for landowner clans to voluntarily declare their lands protected areas. Such lands must be granted protected status that excludes commercial logging, and makes landowners eligible for international trust fund financing.
These actions must occur immediately if the Earth?s ancient rainforests are to avoid being fragmented with devastating impacts upon biodiversity, ecosystems, local well-being, and global ecological sustainability. The international community must be challenged to finance preservation and conservation of the majority of the World?s vast and globally significant rainforest expanses.
A visionary and ambitious program of payments from over-developed countries to rainforest countries ? to end commercial logging and develop community based small scale eco-forestry and protected areas as an effective and comprehensive biodiversity and rainforest conservation strategy ? is required. Over-developed countries must pay for the benefits - in terms of biodiversity and global ecosystem processes - provided by intact rainforests. Anything less is unacceptable and dooms the Earth?s rainforests and peoples to oblivion.
Toktok igo long ol asples PNG: Harim, ol stilman bagarapim naispela kantri bilong yupela. Bai yu sindaun, malolo istap, o bai yu lukautim bihaintaim bilong ol pikini? Sapos bus igo pinis, em bai had long karim kaikai. Sanap strong na rausim ol, na kisim bek kantri bilong yu.
? Mangi Madang toktok olsem (inap yu salim wanpela buai ikam?)