11 Jul 2008

PNG Eco-Forestry Forum disputes Ministry claims downplaying illegal logging

2:29 pm on 11 July 2008

Papua New Guinea's Eco Forestry Forum has disputed claims by the Forestry Ministry that illegal logging is practically non-existent in the country.

The Ministry's first secretary, Alistair Endose, says the PNG Forest Authority has full control over logging operations and monitors them for compliance.

He says while there may be violations of certain conditions of the logging agreement, he doesn't feel it constitutes illegal logging.

The forum's executive director Thomas Paka says the Ministry seems to be downplaying non-compliance with industry regulations as minor issues.

However he says non-compliance is rife.

"We know that there is gross illegal logging taking place. We have more than five government-sanctioned reports that point to the fact that there is elements of illegal logging and in terms of definition, we are still saying that as long as somebody is not following what the law says, any operation is deemed illegal."

Thomas Paka