80% of Papua New Guinea’s round log exports end up in China.
But in recent times, there has been concern about the origins of round logs from Papua New Guinea – much of this on the back of report by Global Witness in 2014 which claimed much of these were from illegal logging areas.
This week, a group from China is in the country to meet with different stakeholders in an effort to get a better understanding of the issues surrounding logging in the country.
The delegation was led by World Wildlife Fund (WWF)– and made up mostly of representatives from Chinese Businesses who use timber products from PNG.
Head of Market Practice at the WWF Beijing Office, Zin Zhonghao, spoke of the request for Chinese businesses to be reassured that timber they were importing from Papua New Guinea were coming from sustainable operations, in line with International Regulations.
The PNG Forest Authority is responsible for the Management, Development, and Protection of forests and forests products in the country – and is at the forefront of the industry.
Its Acting Managing Director, Dr Ruth Turia, addressed the gathering, providing an overview of the current conditions in PNG, especially at a time where there are still some concerns regarding Special Agriculture Business Leases, SABL’s.
According to Dr Turia, whilst the country has made some progress in regards to cancelling illegal SABL’s – however, challenges still remain – among these challenges, Landowner Issues, High logging Costs, High Freight costs, as well as changes in government policies.
The varying views in the one place today gave an opportunity for the Chinese delegation to get first-hand information on the complexities of the forestry sector in PNG, which will be used to determine whether their next course of action.
This will go a long way in determining the future of logging in PNG, as China receives 80% of PNG’s annual logging exports.