Forestry Act Reviewed

By: Paul Oeka December 05, 2022

Photo credit: Papua New Guinea Forest Industry Association

The Forestry Act 1991 (amended) is under legislative review after 30 years to accommodate the government agendas for the forestry sector, taking into account new and emerging issues in-country as well as globally.

Papua New Guinea Forest Authority (PNGFA) in collaboration with the Constitutional & Law Reform Commission (CLRC) held a lockdown workshop in Port Moresby and went through the draft of the legislative bills on the revised Forestry Act.

Participants at the workshop included directors, managers and legal officers of PNGFA and representatives from CLRC, Office of Legislative Council, Public Solicitor’s Office (PSO) and Department of Treasury.

PNGFA and CLRC will submit the draft bill to PSO through the Department of Justice and Attorney General for them to check and later submit to the Office of the Legislative Council of the Department of Prime Minister and the National Executive Council for endorsement.

The legislative bills drafted were collective views from the different stakeholder workshops that were conducted by PNGFA in 2020.  

The initial Forestry Act 1991 is more focused on logging, therefore in the revised Act new provisions were added to implement government policies such as downstream processing of logs, reforestation and afforestation, carbon trade and establishment of the State Marketing Agency and State Purchase Option for revenue generation, among others.

Managing Director of the National Forest Service Mr. John Mosoro in his opening remarks said that the lockdown workshop to review the Forestry Act is important for PNGFA.

“I was given a task to reform the forestry sector, and the first task of all is to review the Forestry Act 1991 to enable looking into issues of concern and other options for forest management in the country.

“The enactment of the Forestry Act was one of the recommendations of the (Barnett Commission of Enquiry into the forestry sector in the late 1980s and was drafted and approved by Parliament and came into force in 1992 and has been in force for the last 30 years.

“Although there have been a number of amendments made to facilitate implementation of government policies, the review of the Forestry Act has become necessary to accommodate for developmental trends and priorities of the government,” Mr Mosoro said.

He stated that some reasons why the Forestry Act needs to be reviewed include:

Forestry has a strong linkage with other sectors, hence developmental changes in other sectors need to be provided for in the forestry legislation to allow for complimentary and ease of implementing government policies. Climate change initiatives such as Reduced Emissions through Deforestation & Forest Degradation (REDD+) need to be provided for in the forestry legislation as it is an initiative that came about after the current Forestry Act came into being.

Forest resource replacement programs through reforestation and afforestation will be among the major activities to reach 800,000 hectares of planted trees by 2050 as the target set by the government. This program will assist in releasing the current pressure on natural forest harvesting in the country. It is also a tool in addressing issues of climate change both in-country and globally.

Through downstream processing of the country’s forest resources, the government is adamant to realise its full potential benefits. The processed and value-added forest products when exported can bring in increased revenue to the country as well as technological transfer and employment creation.

Mr. Mosoro added that the Forestry sector has the support of the Marape-Rosso Government to re-model it to realize its full potential, hence reviewing the Act is on the right track.

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