New Hanover in Crisis

John Aini Traditional Leader of New Hanover

Early in 2012 Canopy Watch embarked on a process of systematic investigation into the implementation of the policy initiative entitled Special Purpose Agricultural Business Leases [SABL] in Papua New Guinea. This policy has transferred almost 5 million hectares of customary land to the tenure structure of 99-year agricultural business leases. Our remit was to listen, understand and document the ground realities of this SABL policy initiative. Basing our research on a coalition of views from traditional and community leaders, forestry experts academics, politicians and civil servants, along with the help and assistance of national and international NGO's.

We have compiled this website as a knowledge base documenting the Commission of Inquiry investigations into SABLs and covering the dialogue of this policy in Papua New Guinea. We initially were set up to assist Greenpeace in the study of SABL's, working in an advisory capacity in workshops with the customary landowners. With the complete withdraw of Greenpeace from Papua New Guinea, Canopy Watch became limited in the extent of the out reach programs that were possible. Recognizing this limitation, we specialized in the New Hanover and New Ireland areas as they were in the far corners of the country and had limited international coverage.

Our philosophy is simple, the changing forest canopy is seen and documented clearly with satellite lenses from several hundred miles above the forest canopy, however, what is not so clear is how the human lenses see and experience the canopy from several hundred feet below the forest canopy. We aim to visualize and record this experience to share this understanding for the sole purpose of creating better-informed policy makers to make smarter policy for the last Pacific forests