by Theckla Gunga – EM TV, Port Moresby
The O’Neill Dion Government should not pass the new Climate Change Management Bill as a Law in Parliament; this was the view presented by the PNG Eco-Forestry Forum; partner NGOs, and civil society organisations in Port Moresby.
It follows the argument that the drafted bill lacked proper consultation between concerned governments, private bodies and local communities.
PNG Eco-Forestry Forum and other partners now want the prime minister to delay the passing of the bill, until proper consultations are effected.
The call to delay the bill, was this afternoon justified by members of PNG Eco-Forestry Forum and partner NGOs, that it does not promote good governance, operates in isolation, and does not complement the existing laws and policies that relate to the management of environment, forests and other natural resources.
They argued that the Bill gives “no Prominence to the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD)”, a policy on carbon trade. They want the state to give them more time to properly conduct surveys and consult relevant stakeholders, before a proper bill can be drafted.
Manager for Government Policy and Research, Mary Boni, described the Climate Change Bill as “unfriendly” and explained that it does not clearly state who is on the board, and who the appointing committee is.
A letter stating concerns highlighting the holes in the Bill was flagged to the Environment and Conservation Minister, John Pundari, on the 8th of this month.
The same letter was copied to the executive director for the office of climate change and development, and the secretary for justice and attorney general, but the Eco-Forestry Forum says, they are yet to receive a response.
By 3 o’clock this afternoon, a media statement was released from OCCD’s Executive Director, Varagini Badira, supporting the passing of the bill.
The statement argues that if the bill is passed, the government will finally have a legal instrument in place to adequately address climate change for the benefit of our people.
However, PNG Eco-Forestry Forum debates that landowners will be the most affected if the bill is passed in parliament in the May sitting.
They want more time, because the findings that were collected during the two weeks, does not capture a fair representation of the environmental discussions from all provinces.