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PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Grand Chief “Carbon Cowboy” Off Soon to Copenhagen

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New Rimbunan Himau base camp and log gathering point

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Grand Chief “Carbon Cowboy” Off Soon in New Private Jet to Sell Landowners’ Rainforest Carbon

By ClimateArk Climate Change Portal http://www.climateark.org/ – and Rainforest Portal http://www.rainforestportal.org/ – projects of Ecological Internet

December 6, 2009

Sir Michael Somare — Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Prime Minister — jets soon to Copenhagen pledging to protect the country’s rainforests in exchange for REDD carbon money. Yet back home he has left a long list of shameful and corrupt rainforest/climate policies. As Copenhagen and REDD talks start, Somare pals Rimbunan Hijau of Malaysia continue logging in Ramu, Madang, despite a court order demanding they stop. Corruption, human rights abuses, and ecological devastation have no place in REDD or Papua New Guinea.



PNG contains the world’s third largest tracts of intact primary rainforests, almost all of which is customary clan owned land. While PNG’s Prime Minister Somare has been at the forefront of international efforts to establish carbon payments for rainforest protection, the rhetoric has made little impact upon the state of this great nation’s rainforests. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Ramu valley of Madang Province, where a massive new illegal logging operation of some 158,000 hectares has been in operation for just over a year.

Ramu logging area landowners have not provided prior and informed consent – indeed, many say they marked their name on the project papers after being told “This is Grand Chief Somare’s forest and he wants it to be logged by RH.” The list of landowners’ grievances in their petition is long and troubling including failure by Rimbunan Hijau of Malaysia to build roads, health centers and bridges as per the Project Agreement. Local landowners are furious and pursuing multiple measures to stop the logging.

Ramu and adjacent landowners have been petitioning for months to have Rimbunan Hijau of Malaysia’s timber operations, expansion and trucking on their tribal lands stopped.  This past week a Supreme Court lawsuit initially lodged by landowner groups successfully argued that the national government was in error in giving the forest management area to RH, when another company had been selected. Now is the time to ask that Mr. Somare ensure court orders are upheld against illegal logging, and to end the industrial logging of primary rainforests as part of any Copenhagen REDD deal.



TO COMMENT ON THIS ALERT:  http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/

We will keep you updated regarding the struggles for ecological sustainability and social justice here in Beautiful Madang. Asples PNG


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