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Impacts of Oil Palm Activities in the Kokoda and Popondetta Catchments: An Initial Environmental Examination

In 1976, the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government entered a joint venture with the British Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) to develop an oil palm estate-smallholder project. It expanded the scheme significantly under the World Bank’s “Oro Smallholder Oil Palm Expansion Project” to a total area of approximately 13,000 hectares by 2000. An initial environmental examination (IEE) of the impacts of oil palm activities in the Popondetta area has been undertaken through agreement with the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the PNG-based Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR). The aims of the IEE were to identify issues and to determine priorities for an environmental impact assessment. The IEE highlighted the benefits of encouraging environmental auditing and mapping skills, empowerment of the local community and promotion of sustainable activities. With an outline of the objectives of community mapping and an overview of processes and recommendations to assist the local community in the development of their environmental auditing and negotiating skills.

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