The Oro (Northern) Provincial Government and the Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights Incorporated (CELCOR Inc) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Monday 7 June 2021 to formalize partnership endeavors relating to legislative and governance issues on Forestry and other resource development affecting Oro Province.
The purpose of the MOU is to strengthen the working relationship between Oro Provincial Government and CELCOR. This collaboration is intended to enable both parties to collectively advocate for a transformative shift in political, legislative and administrative measures to ensure forest and other natural resources in the province are sustainably managed and utilized for the benefit of the affected communities.
Oro Governor, Hon. Gary Juffa, who is very vocal on illegal logging and its associated forestry matters expressed his delight in signing of the MOU on behalf of the Oro Provincial Government. “It gives me great pleasure to announce the signing of this MOU with CELCOR as it now provides a platform for my provincial government to partner with CELCOR to jointly work towards addressing environmental and resource development issues in my province”.
While announcing this partnership, Governor Juffa stressed that Forestry issues, particularly illegal logging is not only detrimental to the environment but is also destroying the very livelihood of the people who depend on their forest, rivers and lakes for their survival. It is therefore a very important issue for the province and requires support of all like-minded citizens and organizations to collaborate to stop illegal logging in the Province.
He urged his people in Oro to work together with the provincial government to stop all illegal destruction of forestry in the province and find alternate pathways to bring sustainable development.
Peter Bosip, Executive Director for Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights Inc. was very happy to sign the MOU on behalf of CELCOR. Stating that the MOU signing formalizes and consolidates the existing working relationship between CELCOR and Oro Provincial Government. He further added that CELCOR has a long standing working relationship with landowners in Oro Province, and shall continue this effort under this MOU. The MOU enables the Oro Provincial Government to support CELCOR in the following areas:
- Provide logistical and financial assistance to CELCOR where necessary to implement the agreed tasks to address forestry and resource development issues.
- Apply where appropriate, as an interested party to a court proceeding instituted by the customary landowners.
- Collaborate and gather relevant information from national line agencies for the purpose of assisting the landowners with their court cases against logging operators and;
- Facilitate incentives and share information in the interest of both parties relating to the scope and purpose of this MoU.
Additionally the MoU provides the basis for CELCOR to collaborate with Oro Provincial Government in the following areas;
- Conduct Community Legal Education Training and Awareness to customary landowners throughout the province an legal issues surrounding the governance of forest land and other natural resource management;
- Provide legal advice to customary landowners LLGs and provincial administration when required;
- Represent customary landowners in any court of law in PNG on matters relating to the purpose and scope of this MoU; and
- Seek and secure legal and financial expert assistance through its partnerships and donors.
This agreement is the first of its kind for CELCOR and a provincial government. Its success will be used as an example for other provinces to follow.
Picture (l-r): CELCOR’s Board Chairman Murray Mararoa, Executive Director Mr. Peter Bosip and Oro Governor Hon. Gary Juffa holding the signed copies of the MoU document. Watching on are landowner representatives of Oro Province.