Govt hosting of Forest Ministers meeting welcomed

Community advocacy group ACT NOW says it welcomes the government’s announcement to host the third APEC meeting of Forest Ministers in Port Moresby in October.

Campaign coordinator Eddie Tanago says it would be an excellent opportunity to remind the government of its record on Special Agriculture Business Lease and land grab issues.

He says many landowners whose land had been taken under the SABL system had not yet been given back their land.

“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,’’ says Tanago.

ACT NOW is hoping APEC leaders can help bring pressure on the government to honour its promises to cancel the leases and stop the illegal logging.