An urgent message from PNG forests

Feature story - 7 May, 2007
Delegates of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) received a surprise message today. Greenpeace activists unfurled a huge banner reading "ITTO Stop Forest Destruction" outside their hotel.

Greenpeace activists send a big message to delegates of the 42nd International Tropical Timber Organization meeting.

Activists abseiled off the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Port Moresby, hanging a banner for today's meeting of the 42nd International Tropical Timber Organization committee.

As security guards tried to cut the banner down, a crowd gathered outside the hotel, shouting, "Leave it up there!" No activists were arrested.

Viewtoday's action slideshow

Greenpeace is highlighting tropical forest destruction as governments, including Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and New Zealand, meet in Papua New Guinea's capital for the ITTO conference. Most of PNG's timber is illegally logged.

ITTO faults PNG forest management

An ITTO diagnostic report has found the PNG Forest Authority focuses "almost exclusively on exploitation of the forest resource for the primary financial benefit of the national government".  

The report also says, "Forest management is reduced to monitoring logging operations at the expense of overall Sustainable Forest Management."

So what is the ITTO going to do about PNG's disastrous forestry management? Based on their report findings, they must take action.

Says Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO, Steve Shallhorn, "Greenpeace has taken action today to challenge the ITTO to protect rather than trade away the planet's last tropical forests. They must do more to ensure countries like PNG do something about illegal and destructive logging."

Climate change and our disappearing forests

The International Panel on Climate Change says protecting large expanses of rainforest is one of the most cost effective ways to halt climate change.

The Australian government wants to spend $200 million to combat Indonesian illegal logging. However, some of the region's most important tropical forests will disappear unless PNG's illegal logging is addressed.  

Says Steve Shallhorn, "The best thing the Australian government can do to protect our region's tropical forests, and keep forests intact to combat climate change, is to urgently pass legislation that ensures that illegal and destructive timber does not enter the Australian market."

Read the executive summary of the ITTO report

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