The Ministry of Conservation, Environment and Climate Change has signed an agreement with landowner representatives from the April Salumei project area in East Sepik’s Wasara Gawi and Ambunti Dreikikir districts, to resume operation of the carbon trading project. They will do so through resolution of landowner disputes which has hindered the progress of the project for some time.
Environment Minister, Geoffrey Kama, stated that this project is a pilot and the experiences learnt will need to be replicated in other areas.
“CEPA and CCDA, we must follow procedures and abide by the law. If the law is happy with this agreement, then we can submit it. If it isn’t, we need to redo the paper work again. Now everything is in alignment, and my department is in agreement with what you have written,” said Minister Kama.
In 1996, the project area was declared a Forest Management Area, then again declared a Wildlife Management Area in 1997 and in 2009, the project area of over 570,000 hectares was recognized as a zone for carbon development.
However, continuous landowner disputes, over the correct operating umbrella landowner company, the project halted and never progressed.
“You will remove all the directors and everyone in there, and you will accommodate all these ILG chairmen, so that it will form one company that will oversee all the operations for all the ILG small groups,” Minister Kama explained.
Minister Kama told current chairman of the umbrella landowner company, Mr. Jacob Tom Yagi, to involve all other relevant ILG chairman’s to progress the project forward.
Mr. Yagi said that he is more than happy and will ensure that the project progresses.
“This is not only for the people of April Salumei, this project is for the whole of Papua New Guinea and it is also a corridor for any other projects within the country,” said Yagi.
PNG Redd+ Asset and Project Management Limited will be working alongside the landowner company, to market the carbon in the international market. REDD+ refers to conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks
“There’s a process first of all, auditing the resource and measuring it. The life of the project, at the moment, it’s been already measured at about 96 million metric tons. One metric ton being of storage in the trees, one metric ton is what is known as a carbon credit. And then, it is registered, and placed on the market,” explained PNG RAML CEO, Garrett Tory.
The signed agreement will now be submitted to the Office of the State Solicitor for legal clearance. This is required before the development of a Project Development Agreement; which will then be presented to the National Executive council for discussion.