The National – Monday, January 3, 2011
By JEFFREY ELAPA
REPRESENTATIVES of an incorporated land group in the Ioma Block 5 forest management area in Northern have vigorously opposed any logging activities on their customary land.
The landowners said that they have waited for more than 18 years and nothing has eventuated and as a result the ILG opted in carbon trading initiatives.
They said that they have spent a lot of their resources on the carbon trade project and therefore appealed to any interested developers that the customary owners welcomed carbon trade initiatives under the REDD + programme.
They said that they were in the process of demarcating their traditional land boundaries from Ioma Block 5 FMA to preserve their forest to entertain carbon trade.
The landowners said that they were aware that Oro provincial forest management committee (PFMC) meeting held in Port Moresby last month had appointed a company as preferred developer.
And they said they were also reliably informed that Otawo Resources Ltd (ORL) was Oro PFMC’s preferred investor.
They said that they were informed that ORL and its agents were currently selling the Ioma Block 5 FMA project to potential investors overseas without the resources owners’ prior informed consent.
They said that ORL was not a landowner company and so they would not allow ORL to enter their customary land for any logging activities if the Office of Environment and Conservation and the Department of Forest allowed ORL as the preferred developer.
They added that it was illegal to hold PFMC meeting outside the province as far as the 27 steps to the Forest Management Act (FMA) procedures were concerned, therefore Oro PFMC meeting held in Port Moresby last month was deemed illegal.
The landowners also said that they would instruct their legal team to take legal action against individuals, organisations or companies who would intrude into their customary lands for any activities without their consent.