Following the Forestry Commission of Inquiry a considerable amount of new forest policy and legislation have been introduced. These include:
· National Forest Policy - this was issued in September 1991 by the National Executive Council and covers areas of forest management, the forest industry, forest research, forestry training and education, and forestry organization and administration.
· Forestry Act 1991 - this was Gazetted in June 1992. This Forestry Act was a direct result of the Commission of Inquiry and provided for the establishment of the new and autonomous Forest Authority to replace the old Department of Forests. The Act provides for much tighter controls in the acquisition and allocation of forests for development.
· Forestry Regulation No. 15, 1992 - this was introduced to enable registration of forest industry participants and consultants under the Act.
· Forestry (Amendment) Act, 1993 - this was certified in April 1993 and provided for a clear administrative function of the Board, the National Forest Service through the Managing Director and the Provincial Forest Management Committees.
· The National Forestry Development Guidelines - these were issued by the Minister for Forests and endorsed by the National Executive Council during September 1993. The Guidelines established essentially an implementation guide for aspects covered in the new Forest Act, especially in terms of sustainable production, domestic processing, forest revenue, training and localization, review of existing projects, forest resource acquisition and allocation and sustainable development
· The National Forest Plan - under the Forestry Act 1991 (as amended), the Forest Authority is required to prepare a National Forest Plan to provide a detailed statement of how the national and provincial governments intend to manage and utilize the country's forest resources. This was presented to Parliament in July 1996 and was endorsed. The National Forest Development Programme (NFDP) under the Plan is now under implementation.
· The Papua New Guinea Logging Code of Practice was finalized in February 1996 and tabled in Parliament in July 1996. The Papua New Guinea Code is consistent with the Regional Code proposed at the 1995 Suva Heads of Government Forum Meeting but is more specific to Papua New Guinea operating conditions. It became mandatory as of July, 1997.
· The 1996 Forestry Regulations, which cover all facets of the forest industry procedures and control were approved by the National Executive Council (NEC) during 1996 in principle, subject to some changes to be finalized soon. These Regulations provide the legal status for the implementation of many of the requirements specified under the Forestry Act 1991 (as amended).
· The Forestry (Amendment No. 27) Act 1996 was passed by Parliament and certified on the 11 October 1996. The major amendment relates to the membership to the Board to still have eight members, including the representatives of a National Resource Owners Association and the Association of Foresters of Papua New Guinea.
· A Forest Protection Policy was passed by the NEC in July 1996 and the `Guidelines for Major Agricultural Projects, Particularly with Respect to Conversion from Forest' was passed in January 1997. Together, these two measures are designed to ensure that only genuine agricultural developments occur on forested lands, and that Timber Authorities for agricultural land clearance are not used as a back-door access to gaining forest resources.
The development of virtually all of the policy, legislation and regulations outlined above have served to greatly strengthen the capacity of the Forest Authority to monitor and control the forest industry on a sustainable basis. The Forest Authority has been vigorously pursuing the implementation of all these policies.