3 Dec 2002

Approval expected for Papua New Guinea's forestry projects

4:47 pm on 3 December 2002

Three of four forestry projects in Papua New Guinea are expected to be approved next year following a back down by the World Bank on its demand for the installation of a super-regulator to oversee the issue of new forestry concessions.

The prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has told the PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference in Sydney that the government had resolved its differences with the World Bank over the controversial 39 million US dollar Forest Conservation Project next year.

The government had previously rejected the World Bank's plan to install a Probity Commission.

However chief secretary, Joshua Kalinoe, says a compromise has been reached with agreement that two or three consultants would be appointed to the National Forest Board to evaulate new forestry projects.

Mr Kalinoe says the other point of difference with the World Bank had also been resolved and he says resource estimation in newly awarded forestry concessions will only have to meet the current requirements of the Forestry Act.

Mr Kalinoe says PNG should be able to approve three or four projects next year.