Realign tree planting program under one umbrella: Mr. Sabuin

Papua New Guinea Forest Authority (PNGFA) is mandated by law through the Forestry Act to plant trees in the country, hence all tree planting activities currently happening outside of the organization need to be better coordinated where there is one channel of funding and one team to plant trees. PNGFA Managing Director Mr. Tunou Sabuin said this during a tree planting session at Kuriva, Central Province on March 18th 2020, to commemorate the United Nations-sanctioned International Day of Forests. Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Mr. Wera Mori graced the occasion with Mr. Nathan Dingu, the First Secretary of the Minister for Forests Hon. Solan Mirisim.

Mr. Sabuin explained saying: “In 2015, PNGFA embarked on a very important tree planting program Operation Painim Graun na Planim Diwai (OPGnPD) after the government set a target in its Vision 2050 for forestry to plant 800,000 hectares of trees.

“Any tree planting program happening outside of the PNGFA should be realigned and brought under one umbrella so there is one funding and one team to plant trees for today and future generations.  

“Minister, we heard that there are some funds sitting under your ministry. If you can assist us to drive the OPGPD program as the custodian of the forest as required by law and the Forestry Act, we’ll be empowered to plant trees.

“We (PNGFA) are required to plant 25,000-30,000 hectares annually nationwide but PNGFA alone cannot meet this target. It can, however, be reached by working in partnership with individuals, groups, communities, other government departments, districts and provincial governments. Each province has a provincial tree.

“If we continue to depend on natural forests, we will put more pressure on them, resulting in a lot of environmental issues. Instead, we need to step up and increase tree planting by involving everyone in the country, who can.

“Our main target is school children. We want them to know the importance of growing trees not for themselves only but for future generations also.

“If we don’t teach and discipline our children today to see the importance of forests, biodiversity and tree planting, they will not have a good future,” said Mr. Sabuin.

“We still have about 7,000 hectares to plant here at Kuriva but we cannot speed up the planting rate because of financial constraints PNGFA faces every year.

Our biggest development partner is the forest industry because in project agreements they are required to plant about 25,000 hectares and we need that to increase wood supply to process industry. You know that the policy directive of the government of the day is to promote downstream processing. However, we cannot come up with downstream facilities without increasing the wood supply from planted forests.

In response, Minister Mori said: “My presence here is to basically signify the importance of planting trees and it is appropriate that the theme this year is ‘Forest and Biodiversity’.

He, however, said that there was no such funding for tree planting.

“I wish we have the funding for us to make available to plant trees but unfortunately, that is not the case within our organizations. We do not receive any money from the state to promote planting trees. However, from fees that we collect, we find it our responsibility to protect our environment including the planting of trees.

PNGFA had three days of activities to commemorate IDoF 2020 which was actually on March 21st. The tree planting took place on March 19th at Kuriva and on the 21st at the PNGFA office at Hohola and the main activity with speeches and floats promoting the theme was held on Friday, March 20th. The provincial offices also commemorated the date with activities.



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