On October 15th, 2019, Minister for Forests Hon. Solan Mirisim launched the revised Version 2.0 of the National Forest Stewardship Standard of Papua New Guinea witnessed by Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC’s) Standard Development Group in Port Moresby. The standard is aimed at promoting sustainable forest management (SFM) in the country.
Minister Mirisim said: “PNGFA is committed to promoting the long-term sustainable management of PNG’s forests, therefore, have been very much involved in the development of the National Forest Stewardship Standard for Papua New Guinea.
He explained that the Forest Standard Council (FSC) certification is a marketing tool that can provide incentives for the utilization of the forest and SFM practices.
“To meet the changing marketing demands, PNGFA together with other stakeholders have developed the PNG Timber Legality Standard (TLS) that provides a great definition of legal timber source for PNG.
“We now have to develop the Timber Legality Verification System (TLVS) that would be able to implement the TLS. PNGFA is considering the development of mandatory sustainability standards for the country,” said the Minister.
He added that FSC can help PNGFA access a high level of markets for our forest products.
He further added that it’s good to link PNG TLS with FSC in the possible future to assist the development of the downstream processing industry to access to a value market.
“PNGFA needs to build a long-term sustainable forest industry where it adds more value in the country through exporting high-value products,” he said.
Minister Mirisim said to look into more FSC certified timber operations in PNG to build the national downstream processing.
“Creating and supporting downstream processing in PNG is the government’s priority to support the development of domestic markets to appreciate our local timber products.
“PNGFA should look at the role FSC certification can play to get more PNG owned companies involved in the timber industry and get more customary landowners managing their own forest and making a business out of that,” he added.
PNGFA Managing Director Mr. Tunou Sabuin said that FSC is not a disadvantage to the community development if they go into woodlot planting.
He said through the revised version 2 of the Forest Stewardship standard of FSC the Balsa operations in East New Britain can access better markets.
He added that having a long-term certification system can add value to the forest resources and increase the monitoring benefits in terms of the country’s revenue by increasing certified plantations or natural forests.