29 Apr 2008

Questions over benefits to locals from PNG-Australia Forest carbon partnership

10:32 am on 29 April 2008

Papua New Guinea's Eco-Forestry Forum has questioned how the new PNG-Australia Forest Carbon partnership will benefit local people.

The partnership was cemented last week during the PNG-Australia Ministerial Forum in Madang.

The stated objectives of the partnership are protection of PNG's rainforests and a reduction in emissions from deforestation.

It will create financial incentives to retain forests rather than deplete them, helping PNG prepare to enter future international carbon markets.

The Forum's executive director Thomas Paka says while it's good to see the governments promoting sustainable management of forests, a number of issues remain outstanding.

"Issues like consent from the landowners, how the benefits will be shared, what mechanisms will be available for the trickling down of any benefits from carbon trading - going down to the people. So apart from the conservation, we're now more focussed on how these benefits are going to be distributed."

Thomas Paka says given the mismanagement of large sums of money by PNG's National Fisheries and Forest Authorities, there's no guarantee that this new mechanism will benefit local people.