29 Jan 2010

PNG landowners wary of Australian carbon traders

2:50 pm on 29 January 2010

The chairman of a Papua New Guinea incorporated landowner group, or ILG, says his collective is considering very carefully the issues around carbon trade before entering any deal.

A recent wave of mainly Australian carbon traders coming into PNG to strike deals with local landowners has alarmed environmentalists and the forestry industry.

Reports suggest the traders are pressuring landowners into questionable deals under which they sign away the rights to develop their forests.

The chairman of PNG's biggest ILG, Andrew Oviyo, says his group in Korfena in Eastern Highlands is not rushing into any deal.

But he admits his people are interested in earning money by preserving their patch of forest of more than one hundred thousand hectares.

"But we'll never entertain the logging part of it, logging companies... you talk about mining, you talk about gas drilling or whatever it is. We have agreed, the sixteen clans, to say no to them. Because we want to preserve and conserve, that's why we're getting into this. But the big thing is that we get this carbon trading thing underway."

Andrew Oviyo