The National, Thursday 05th July, 2012
By SALLY TIWARI
PAPUA New Guinea failed to meet its target of increasing the number of protected areas in the country from 3% to 10% of the country’s land mass over the past three years, Constitutional Law Reform Commission secretary Dr Eric Kwa says.
Kwa said in 2007 the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan was created to guide the country in increasing its protected areas to 10% by 2010.
But to date there is no proper survey done by the Department of Environment and Conservation to show whether there has been an increase.
He said there were currently 54 formal protected areas declared under the Fauna Control Protection Act, 1976, in the country which is less than 3% of the PNG’s land mass.
“Despite trying to declare protection over certain areas in the country, it isn’t working unless the community is involved.”
He said two examples such as Varirata National Park in Central province and the Moitaka Wildlife sanctuary in the NCD were run-down and not functioning.
But Mount Gavisuka National Park in Eastern Highlands was in good shape because the people were more involved in maintaining the park.
Kwa said that it was important to empower local communities to take ownership of government projects.
He said currently PNG was using the Environment Policy of 1976 for environment protection which is the only law in place apart from the environment acts.
“We have time and time again consulted the Department of Environment and Conservation to review the Environment Policy of 1976 but they have not responded positively,” he said.
This would not deter the commission, which has earmarked this year to review all biodiversity laws, he said.
He said they had put aside K100,000 to review the Fauna Control Protection Act, National Park Act and Conservation Act.