WORLDWIDE FOREST/BIODIVERSITY CAMPAIGN NEWS
World Bank Gets Its Way on Forests, to the Benefit of Papua New
OVERVIEW & SOURCE by EE
Following are two items which relate the resolution of the conflict between PNG
forest policy and World Bank loan guarantees. PNG forest policy came into
compliance with past promises through the introduction by the Prime Minister of
a Forestry Amendment bill. Specifically, concerns over the forestry board
composition were resolved. This is the third time in four years that PNG NGOs
and international NGOs have worked together with other interested parties to
defeat timber industry sponsored attempts to weaken PNG forestry legislation.
All that wrote letters, lobbied officials and otherwise took a conservation
stand deserve congratulations. Following are two items from PNG newspapers
posted at the new UPNG Journalism web site (which includes other PNG news) at:
Title -- 248 ECONOMY: World Bank gets its way on forests
Date -- 9 October 1996
Byline --Neville Togarewa
Origin -- Niuswire
Source -- Post-Courier (PNG), 9 October 1996
Copyright -- Post-Courier
Status -- Unabridged
WORLD BANK GETS ITS WAY ON FORESTS
By Neville Togarewa
Parliament yesterday passed the controversial Forestry (Amendment) Bill 1996,
paving the way for the World Bank to release the second tranche of US$25
million to fund the Government's economic recovery program (ERP).
The Bill, introduced by Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan, was passed on the
voices after the Government defeated proposed amendments by Milne Bay
Governor Tim Neville by 38 to 24.
All the Opposition MPs and Governors present - except the Southern
Highlands Governor Dick Mune - who occupy the middle benches separating the
government side from the Opposition benches, voted against the Bill.
The program included a loan from the World Bank of US$50 million for 1995/96
and a standby facility from the International Monetary Fund for balance of
payment support. The loan's first tranche of US$25 million was fully drawn
down at the end of 1995 after the Government had met all the bank's conditions.
Sir Julius said there had been "a long, hard tussle" between the Government
and the World Bank.
"There has been a considerable strain between us and the bank .... The whole
structural adjustment program with the World Bank and the IMF has resolved
around the forestry issue," he said.
While the government was determined to protect Parliament's integrity and the
nation's sovereignty from being compromised, he said, Cabinet had decided to
maintain the structural reform program by passing the amendments to the Forest
Act as proposed by the World Bank.
"A number of the bank's requirements impinge on legislative matters and the
process of decision-making of this Parliament. At times I have wondered
whether our international donors always appreciate the roles we have been
elected to fulfill. I have wondered if they fully understand the way our
democracy functions," he said.
He said, however, that the release of the second tranche was not the central
issue, adding he was convinced that the government's actions had been
"I am sure Members will agree that the release and use of the US$25 million
- the equivalent of a fornight's wages bill for our public service - could
now be easily accommodated within our new revenue measures," the Prime Minister
"But it can no longer be a matter of protecting our pride at the risk of
continuing aggravation of an influential international donor. We have come
to terms with a somewhat unpleasant fact - failure to accede to the bank's
demands would place our long-standing credibility and standing at risk. In an
independent world where economic reputation and international standing are
valuable commodities, it is now time to accept."
Changes to the compositons of the forestry board means there will now be
eight members who will elect among themselves a chairman and his deputy. The Act
has been further amended to increase the quorum for a board meeting from four
members to six.
The board will include the managing director of the Forest Authority,
secretaries of Finance and Environment and Conservation, president of the
Forest Industry Association, president of the Association of Forests, a
provincial administrator representing provincial governments and one
representative each for NGOs and landowners. All members will be appointed
by the NEC.
Title -- S73 FORESTRY: PNG govt repeals forestry bill
Date -- 9 October 1996
Byline -- Kevin Pamba
Origin -- Niuswire
Source -- The National (PNG), 9 October 1996
Copyright -- The National
Status -- Unabridged
GOVT REPEALS FORESTRY BILL UNDER PRESSURE
By Kevin Rali Pamba
PORT MORESBY: The Papua New Guinea government yesterday finally succumbed to
World Bank pressure by repealing the Forestry (Amendment) Bill after stubbornly
standing by it since its passage in July.
The World Bank had told the Government that the release of the second
the economic recovery loan worth US$25 million (K33m) was subject to the repeal
of the legislation.
Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan, who presented the new amendment instead of
Forest Minister Andrew Baing, said the US$25 million was equivalent to a
fortnight's wage of the public service and was not necessarily needed. But
it was a case of protecting the image of the country and its standing in
the eyes of international lending agencies and the world community.
Although former Forest Minister and Milne Bay Governor Tim Neville suggested
changes to certain aspects of the new amendment, the government used its
numerical strength to quash that. The formality of the third reading of the
amendment will be done today.
Opposition Leader Roy Yaki said the Forest Minister had stubbornly stood by
the amendment as if it was "really necessary."
"If the Government swallowed its ego and faced up to realities, we would not
have been going around in a vicious circle," he said.
However, he clarified that the opposition supported the right to defend
sovereignty and integrity.
The Prime Minister revealed upon questioning from Mr Yaki that the July bill
had not yet been certified as a law because the minister "had not given
notification for its gazettal."
Therefore, he said, yesterday's amendment superseded the July bill.
Mr Yaki said the non-notification of the bill in the gazette was done purposely
by Mr Baing, knowing that it would be repealed soon.
Manus Governor Stephen Pokawin pleaded to the ministers to "let this be the
first and last such incident."
He said it shows that Parliament was not used for its intended purpose where
ministers brought legislations only to be thrown out in the next session. This,
he said, undermined and questioned the integrity of Parliament.
Papua Niugini Niuswire
You are encouraged to utilize this information for personal campaign use. All
efforts are made to provide accurate, timely
pieces; though ultimate responsibility for verifying all
information rests with the reader. Check out our Gaia Forest
Conservation Archives at URL=
Email (best way to contact)-> email@example.com