Global Witness just released a report that reveals that many logging operations in the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG) appear to be breaking the law.
“In 2017, an assessment of legality risks in most of the world’s timber-producing countries found PNG’s timber to be among the riskiest, with potential illegalities including corruption and bribery in the issuance of permits, failure to follow the Logging Code of Practice, and logging without the consent of indigenous landowners”, the report says.
China, the world’s largest consumer and manufacturer of wood and wood products, has the risk to damage its market reputation and major trade relationships with the US and EU, where illegal timber imports are banned by the Lacey Act and the European Timber Regulation. Papua New Guinea is the source of a third of China’s tropical log imports.
The reports recommends the Government to issue a moratorium on logging operations and the issuance of permits, until compliant with the country’s policy and legal framework. Global Witness also urges to support landowners in pursuing sustainable development pathways that protect their rights, livelihoods, cultures and environment.
PNG has the largest remaining tropical rainforest in the Asia-Pacific region. According to Global Forest Watch, in 2010, the tree cover was 34.7Mha, extending over 74.9% of its land area. In 2017, however, it lost 120kha of forest, equivalent to 15.2Mt of CO₂ of emissions.
One option to proof if timber is legally sourced are science-based tools for identification of wood species and their geographical origin. Timber products can be detected in case of false trade claims through wood anatomy, molecular biology and chemistry. GTTN aims at promoting these innovative tools to prevent illegal logging and related trade worldwide.
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A major liability: illegal logging in Papua New Guinea threatens China’s timber sector and global reputation
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