By Delly Waigeno – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The third APEC Meeting of Minister’s Responsible for Forestry is currently underway in Port Moresby.
The event is a forerunner to the approximately 200 events that will be held between now and the end of 2018.
The meeting is an opportunity for Forestry Ministers from the Asia-Pacific region to reach agreement on key issues facing the global forestry sector.
The three day, high level meeting which began today will focus on key issues like increasing forest cover, stopping illegal logging and its related trade activities and promoting sustainable forestry.
Present to officially open the three-day meeting was host Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill. He told the Ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation countries, that the PNG government was now looking at effectively managing its vast forestry resource.
Peter O’Neill – Prime Minister “In PNG we have close to over 38 million hectors of forest cover which represents about 80% of our total land mass. That is why effective management of these is a significant issue for our country.”
O’Neill admitted that there had been mistakes in the past, but the government is now taking a number of steps to ensure forest sustainability in PNG. Among the steps include moving into the end of round log exports.
Douglas Tomuriesa – Minister for Forest and Climate Change: “Our forests have an important role in the economic development of our country and of course for mitigating the effects of climate change.”
The meeting was also a chance for PNG to showcase the importance of the national forestry industry, and to underline its substantial economic contribution.
With two more days to go, the meetings are a chance for the Ministers to agree on key issues facing the global forestry sector, such as best practice in responsible forest management, and the ongoing work of the APEC Expert Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade.