A Golden Chainsaw for Papua New Guinea
25 October 2010
Today I gave Greenpeace’s Golden Chainsaw award to the representative of the Government of PNG at talks on REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestaion and Degradation). Her name is Federica Bietta and she is also representing PNG as co-chair on special REDD Partnership negotiations.
Myself and the team, including a photographer got up early to make sure we wouldn’t miss Ms Bietta for the 8am stakeholders meeting. We all had pictures of Ms Bietta to recognise her as none of us had seen her before. I’ve been working on forestry in PNG for 9 years and I’ve never come across her before. Today was a good opportunity to meet her face to face – after all she is the face of PNG for important talks on climate and forests.
She seemed very happy to meet me and receive the award but really it’s sad and unfortunate for the Govt of PNG to receive Greenpeace’s Golden Chainsaw award – normally reserved for illegal and destructive logging companies.
Throughout the past 6 months, the Govt of PNG, led by Ms Bietta has continually tried to stop NGO participation in international REDD talks.
Greenpeace also released a report today entitled: Papua New Guinea: Not ready for REDD. You can view it here: http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/news-and-events/news/deforestation/redd
Essentially it says that PNG is not ready to receive funding for REDD because corruption and illegal logging continue to be major problems in PNG and indigenous peoples’ rights are being abused.
The Govt of PNG is demanding REDD money but it’s not prepared to crack down on corruption or place a moratorium on logging. Only in the past few months it introduced new laws that would sideline indigenous rights for developments of ‘national significance’.
There are lots of things the Government could do first, before receiving REDD funding to show it is real about protecting our forests.
Money by itself wont fix corruption – it could just make things worse.
I was invited last week to give a presentation at Ministerial talks on REDD happening tomorrow but today found out that I would not be able to speak. I can’t help but think that this is PNG’s doing. Last night we met with officials from another country who told us:
“There are 60 countries party to the REDD talks and 59 of them are welcoming of NGO participation”
It was clear who she meant.