Most Papua New Guineans want 'development', to improve their income, education and health... But what kind of 'development' and at what price to their future?
Foreign companies - that have exhausted their own resources - have targeted Papua New Guinea and its lush, accessible forests that are rich in timber and resources.
At current levels, by 2021, 83% of the nation's commercially accessible forests will have been cleared or severely degraded.
Deforestation not only affects direct use of forested areas but also causes erosion, pollution of waterways and loss of soil fertility.
Companies motivated by greed and easy profits are taking advantage of the corruption that is rife within the Papua New Guinea government*
* Papua New Guinea is consistently rated as one of the world's most corrupt countries by Transparency International.
Benefits promised to locals such as employment opportunities, services and improvements to infrastructure are not being delivered. The only money spent on infrastructure is instead to enable logging operations.
Salaries and working conditions for those that do gain employment are generally very poor and have been officially described in one project as 'modern day slavery'.
SABLs (Special Agriculture and Business Lease)
97% of PNG is customary owned land that cannot be bought or sold.
SABLs were originally intended to promote local agricultural development.
An incorporated land group (collection of traditional landowners) hands the land over to the State, then leases it back as a tradeable asset to provide collateral for development.
In recent years the SABL has been used as the basis of a massive land grab that has seen around 11% of land in PNG alienated from its traditional owners.
75% of SABLs are controlled by foreign-owned companies – the majority of which are Australian or Malaysian.
The majority of felled logs are exported to China. There they are processed for eventual consumption in Europe or North America.
More on SABLs here.