29 May 2006

Solomon Islands review of Forestry Act being welcomed

8:17 pm on 29 May 2006

A planned review of the Solomon Islands Forestry Bill is being welcomed by Oxfam in Honiara.

An Oxfam spokesperson, Nancy Kwalea, says there is too much unsustainable logging taking place, too much illegal logging going on, and very few benefits are reaching local communities where logging companies are operating.

Ms Kwalea says Oxfam supports a review of the bill which the new government announced as part of its policy framework launched last week.

"If they look at the Forestry Bill, they have to make sure benefits do go down to the grassroots people and people do have a say in what goes on. You know, there is a lot more consultation rather than just speaking to a handful of people, they have to do a lot more consultation. And, make sure that whatever goes in the bill, it actually benefits the grassroots people, the resource owners."

Ms Kwalea says there also needs to be much closer monitoring of what's occurring in the logging industry.

The prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, says changes to the industry, which currently provides 60 percent of the country's export revenues, are unlikely before next year.