GOV’T TIGHTENED LOGGING LICENSES

A logging facility in the Solomon Islands. Photo credit: 1worldmap.com

                                                 A logging facility in the Solomon Islands. Photo credit: 1worldmap.com

The Ministry of Forestry and Research will not issue any more felling licenses to newly registered foreign companies intending to carry out logging activities in the country.

A Government statement said this is to control the influx of foreign logging companies that showed interest to participate in logging activities and to control illegal entry into unlicensed concession forest areas.

It said the Government also wants to ensure that resource owners enjoy maximum benefits from their forest resources.

The statement said this control measure will also assist the Ministry of Forestry to account for all logs felled, extracted and shipped offshore to niche markets.

The control measure will be conducted by the introduction and implementation of the Legal Notice 114 which was recommended by the Solomon Forest Association (SFA) to the Ministry of Forestry and Research  – a body that assists the Ministry in regulating logging activities since 15 March 2007.

Meanwhile, the statement said the Ministry will also monitor all Technical Agreements (TA) signed between resource owners and logging companies to ensure licensees and logging companies negotiate and provide standard agreements that maximize benefits to the resource owners.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Forestry, Vaeno Vigulu said they are working closely with SFA to monitor the current situation and will not issue any new felling licenses to newly registered foreign companies.

The Government believes controlling the Forestry Sector is critical to ensuring sustainable harvesting by genuine and well-behaved logging companies, and provides an opportunity for resource owners to gain maximum benefits from their forest resources.

Additional control measures being proposed will also include the introduction of criteria to establish a minimum standard of compliance for logging companies that will apply to industry operators throughout the country.

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