MARISSA GARCIA | Force Change
THE LOCAL PEOPLE living in communities all over Papua New Guinea are currently the victims of a national crime. Their land is being taken out from under them by foreign-owned companies to be deforested and logged.
A new land planning process and set of policies needs to be implemented in order to create a balance of development to benefit the country, as well as justice for the local customary-landholders.
Special Agricultural and Business Leases, or SABLs, are part of a leasing scheme that grants logging companies as well as other large corporations easy access to land that is rightfully owned by locals of PNG.
SABLs and the companies using them are not required to receive the approval of the landowner before they take his or her land. A report from Greenpeace states that 75% of the leases are foreign-owned and that log exports grew almost 20% in 2011, with that rise in percentage being overwhelmingly attributed to the logging under SABLs.
The world’s third largest tropical rainforest is located in PNG but with the logging and deforestation, half of it could be depleted by 2021.
The destruction of the rainforest isn’t the only loss the people of PNG are facing. Their land is being turned over to the hands of powerful corporations to use however they please, without taking into consideration how their greedy actions will affect the communities of PNG.