Programme Paper

Sam Lawson
Deforestation of hillside for agricultural use in Papua New Guinea. Aerial view over terraces and surrounding forest. Photo by: Eye Ubiquitous/UIG/Getty Images.Deforestation of hillside for agricultural use in Papua New Guinea. Aerial view over terraces and surrounding forest. Photo by: Eye Ubiquitous/UIG/Getty Images.

This paper is part of a broader Chatham House study which assesses illegal logging and the associated trade. The study, which began in 2006, measures the nature and extent of the problem, and the effectiveness of the response by both the government and the private sector in a number of producer, processing and consumer countries. 

  • Illegal practices are widespread in Papua New Guinea’s forest sector, and it is likely that the majority of timber production in the country is illegal in some way.
     
  • While there is little unlicensed production or smuggling of timber abroad, breaches of regulations or legal procedures relating to license allocation and harvest are extensive.
     
  • The legal framework is strong in many respects, but is undermined by weak enforcement and poor implementation, and the sector is characterised by an extreme lack of transparency.
     
  • The PNG government has shown little engagement in international efforts to tackle illegal logging and associated trade, although some recent initiatives provide opportunities for progress.
     
  • Greater resources are required to strengthen law enforcement and implementation, while new provisions for legality verification, chain of custody management and information management are needed to improve governance of the sector.