Logo: Solidarity South Pacific

PNG Oil Palm Plantation Action

The following action was carried out at the request of environmentalist in PNG. Photos and the report below have been sent to them for release to PNG/local media and distribution through their networks.

End Oil Palm Expansion in Milne Bay, PNG

On 6/7/04 at nine in the morning eight of us took part in a 'lightning demo' against CDC in London, unfurling a banner which proclaimed 'PLANTATIONS ARE CORPORATE COLONIALISM AND ECOCIDE'. After chaining up their entrance doors we left, seeing little point in waiting for the cops to turn up.

CDC is a UK government body that funds corporate expansion in what they see as the 'developing world'. Under a philanthropic cloak CDC fund projects which transform land and relatively autonomous subsistence cultures into profit making resources for the global industrial system. Their slogan is 'Capital for development', but equally could be 'development for Capital'.

For well over a decade CDC has been the major player in the expansion of oil palm plantations in Papua New Guinea. Wild, diverse, exuberant living forest systems are cleared and replaced by ecologically sterile monocultures. Oil Palm, in Milne Bay Province especially , is now one of the greatest threats to forests and the peoples who live there.

Traditional landholders are often pushed into signing leases they do not understand and which give them very little. This trickery is made possible by a feeling of inferiority that many Melanesians feel about their cultures compared to that of the conquering industrial civilisation. Christian missionaries, television, corporations and the PNG state itself all play a part in this myth making. Yet until western colonialism Melanesians lived for many thousands of years in autonomous tribes with an understanding of humanity as part of the web of nature. CDC unsurprisingly believes Melanesians must copy (and bow down to) the western white industrial world. Yet it is the expansion of this culture that is bringing unprecedented global wars and shattering the biological integrity of the earth. Many of us in the West believe that we have a lot to learn from tribal peoples in the Pacific.

Oil Palm and logging open up new roads and access wild areas previously unreachable by industrial civilisation. It is a direct attack on both wild nature and the autonomy of those people who call the forest home.

'We say to CDC: Stop funding Palm Oil expansion in Milne Bay. Today you were served a notice that your organisation will be targeted until it does. '

Tell CDC What you think!

CDC, 6 Duke Street, London, SW1Y 6BW
Tel. 0207 484 7700 Fax. 0207 7484 7750

For further info, view this report by the World Rainforest Movement. Note however the recent reorganisation of CDC has led to a number of structural changes, never the less the CDC office targeted remains at the top.