4 Dec 2006

Forest Dialogue in PNG planned for later this week cancelled amid confusion and criticism

2:41 pm on 4 December 2006

The European Commission's Papua New Guinea office has formally called off a Forest Dialogue which was to occur later this week.

The EU was funding the event at the invitation of the government the event has been strongly opposed by the pro forestry lobby.

This included a directive from the minister of forests, Patrick Pruaitch, that senior staff in the National Forest Authority not take part.

EU's head of delegation in PNG, Aldo Dell'Ariccia, says without such key players a dialogue couldn't happen.

"You need two to tango as they say and if at a certain moment you have only a few people, and people who in a certain sense have a clear vision of the situation, but others are not present, and I am talking both about those who are defending a certain position in the forest sector in PNG, but also those who work in the sector - the National Forest Authority - without those partners it is very difficult to have a dialogue."