Consevesen Melenesia (Conservation Melanesia)
Since 1995, the biologically diverse Collingwood Bay area on the coast of Oro Province, north-eastern Papua New Guinea, has been the setting for a conflict between the province's 3,000 indigenous Maisin people and proposed commercial logging and palm oil development within the community's 262,000 hectares of ancestral lands. In 1998, 38,000 hectares of tropical forest were fraudulently signed over to a foreign investor; since then, Consevesen Melenesia (Conservation Melanesia), a local environmental NGO, has been a critical ally in publicizing the community's plight and building capacity to resist the proposed development.
In 2002, after a three-year battle, the Papua New Guinea National Court ruled in the Maisin's favour, returning the title of their land back to them. Since then, Conservation Melanesia has worked to develop a sustainable, long-term resource management strategy that effectively conserves the Maisin's traditional forest land and supplies the community with a means of supporting themselves.
Equator Prize Winner: 2004
Location: Oro Province, Papua New Guinea
Beneficiaries: 3,000 community members
Biodiversity: tropical forest, coastal mangroves
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Equator Prize 2004
Asia And The Pacific
Mr. Lester Seri, Executive Director
P. O. Box 735
Papua New Guinea
Tel: +675-321-0844 / +675-323-2758
Fax: + 675 323 2773
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