The International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) has allocated US$473,000 (K1.2 million) to enhance forest law enforcement in Papua New Guinea.
This will be done by addressing recommendations from the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) seminar held in Port Moresby in October last year.
The US$473,000 was part of US$10.1 million (K29.53 million) which the ITTO governing body, the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC) committed for new projects and activities for the conservation, sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources at the 43rd ITTC session held in Yokohama, Japan last Nov 5 to 10.
Apart from the FLEG project funding, other projects also approved and funded by ITTO for implementation in 2008 are US$105,000 (K276, 534) to assist PNG to undertake forest inventory, US$79, 920 (K210,482) for reforestation of tropical savannah grassland with high value teak in PNG and US$54, 450 (K143, 403) for training to promote the adoption of reduced impact logging.
Dike Kari, director of policy at the National Forest Service (NFS), said the funding by ITTO was the first time for an international organisation to assist PNG to address alleged illegal activities in the forestry sector. PNG's forestry sector was often controversial with allegations of illegal logging levelled against the Government which regulates the country's forestry sector.
Facts from this study would help the Government correct where necessary and for all stakeholders to resolve issues.
'With the funding from ITTO, we can now clear allegations of poor monitoring, logging companies failure to abide by set terms and conditions, and other allegations made against the government on illegal logging activities.
'The project will also trace PNG logs exported overseas,' Mr Kari said. He explained that Swiss company Societe de Generale Surveillance (SGS) currently monitors the PNG forestry exports from PNG shores to the ships only.
With the K1.2 million funding, logs will be traced from the ship to the destination of export and onto sawmills or plywood mills.
Mr Kari added that overseas main buyers are developing their own procurement policies and are banning the import of tropical wood they claim are from illegal sources. This affects PNG so it needed to trace its logs to be able to defend itself that its exported logs are from legal concession areas.
PNG was being by some countries as a high-risk country making it difficult to sell forest produce.
Â© The National (Papua New Guinea) -- 2007-11-30
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