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Research Report

The Context of REDD+ in Papua New Guinea: Drivers, agents and institutions

Andrea Babon
Gae Yansom Gowae
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2013
Pages: 62
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. x-xii)

    In 2005, the governments of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Costa Rica first proposed the concept of reducing carbon emissions from deforestation in developing countries at the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In their submission, they noted that both were small nations that would be greatly affected by climate change. They acknowledged the contribution of tropical deforestation to global carbon emissions but suggested that:

    ‘In the absence of revenue streams from standing forests, communities and governments in many developing countries have little incentive to prevent deforestation… without a more...

  2. (pp. 1-11)

    This section provides an overview of current forest cover conditions and past trends in forest cover change, as well as an assessment of the main drivers of deforestation and degradation in PNG.

    The island of New Guinea houses the third-largest tract of intact tropical forest in the world, after the Amazon and Congo Basins. The nation of PNG is located on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, and also includes a number of adjoining islands, covering a total land area of 46.3 million ha. Over two-thirds of PNG is still covered by forest, the vast majority of...

  3. (pp. 12-21)

    This section examines governance conditions and institutional arrangements of relevance to REDD+ in PNG, including international agreements, forest governance (illegal logging, rule of law, corruption and elite capture), political systems, decentralisation policies, land tenure, benefit sharing and the rights of customary landowners.

    PNG is a signatory to a number of international agreements relevant to forest governance. PNG ratified the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1975 and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1993, and is a member of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). The country has not been...

  4. (pp. 22-26)

    PNG’s forests have long been, and still remain, an important part of the production systems on which most people depend for their livelihoods. It was only during the 1920–30s, under colonial administration, that their value in terms of commercial timber production was first recognised. In 1951, under the Australian colonial administration, a comprehensive forest policy was developed which emphasised the production of sawn timber for post-war reconstruction and the clearance of land for agriculture (Holzknecht and Golman 2009). Virtually all logging companies in the colonial period were Australian owned or Australian based and while some of these companies processed...

  5. (pp. 27-34)

    Several government agencies have produced policy documents related to climate change and REDD+. These include a rather brief National Climate Change Policy Framework for Papua New Guinea, developed by the former Office of Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability (OCCES undated); and the Forestry and Climate Change Framework for Action 2009–2015, produced by the Ministry of Forests in November 2009 (Ministry of Forests 2009).

    PNG currently has one project registered under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – the Lihir Geothermal Power Project (grid-connected electricity generation from renewable sources) (UNFCCC undated). It has been suggested that PNG has the capability to...

  6. (pp. 35-38)

    REDD+ policies and mechanisms will only succeed if they are able to tackle the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, particularly large-scale logging and agricultural conversion. Current forestry policy is likely to result in an increase in forest degradation from large-scale logging, which has the potential to increase deforestation if areas degraded by logging are converted to other land uses. The CCDS suggests that carbon emissions from commercial logging could be substantially reduced by improved forest management – particularly RIL and secondary forest management, including the improved post-harvest management of regrowth and replanting.

    Current agricultural policies promote a substantial increase...

  7. (pp. 39-39)

    This report has provided an overview of the drivers of deforestation and degradation in PNG, described the institutional and political economic context within which REDD+ is being developed, and outlined the evolution of a national REDD+ strategy and associated policy and legislation during 2008–2012. It highlights the opportunities and challenges of developing policies that can provide climate-effective, cost-efficient and equitable REDD+ outcomes for PNG.

    While PNG has played a strong leadership role in promoting an international REDD+ mechanism under the UNFCCC, creating the necessary enabling conditions for REDD+ domestically has been challenging. The country’s system of customary land tenure...