The SABL became a national and an international issue when it was uncovered that 5.2 million ha of customary land in PNG were converted to agricultural business leases without the knowledge and consent of customary landowners.
As the lands of traditional palm oil powerhouses like Indonesia and Malaysia have become saturated with plantations, companies looking to profit have turned to areas of tropical forest elsewhere – like Papua New Guinea.
There’s little doubt that the use of palm oil is expanding rapidly throughout the world, and with it the need for millions of hectares of land to grow oil palm trees. The results can be devastating for local communities.
Global Witness is urging Papua New Guinea to block a bid by one of Malaysia’s biggest logging companies, Rimbunan Hijau, to renew a license that permits it to flatten over 40,000 hectares of tropical rainforest in order to grow oil palm.