In Papua New Guinea, the Bismarck Ramu Group (BRG) mobilises local and national concerns, such as seabed mining and large-scale land purchases, through organising communities, especially youth and church groups. Also, it supports an alternative development model for PNG that respects people’s relationships with the land and the natural world, such as by encouraging regional seed and food festivals.
Bismarck Ramu Group (BRG) mobilises communities, including youth and church groups, to campaign on local and national issues in Papua New Guinea, including terrestrial and seabed mining and large-scale land acquisitions. It also promotes a vision of an alternative development for PNG, which respects peoples’ connection with land and nature, for instance through support for local food and seed festivals.
PNG is home to the world’s third largest tract of contiguous rainforest and boasts immense coastal biodiversity. The introduction of 99-year ‘Special Agricultural Business Leases’ (SABLs) has enabled the government to ‘rent’ more than 11 per cent of the land – nearly all of which is held under customary tenure and managed by communities – to large logging, mining and agricultural companies who are destroying forests and polluting freshwater and marine ecosystems. Experimental seabed mining off the coast of the country presents an additional threat to its marine and coastal habitats
BRG works to build the capacity and reach of local communities that want to stand up to this exploitation of their traditionally-owned land and sea areas. Their most recent campaigns have focused on supporting communities to challenge:
Exploratory seabed mining off the coast of Madang;
the Ramu Nickel mine in North Madang which is polluting river and marine ecosystems and having detrimental effects on people’s health;
the Chinese Frieda Mine which threatens the biodiversity and cultures of the Sepik River; and
Government plans to establish tanneries in Madang which will pollute marine ecosystems.
Synchronicity Earth has support BRG’s core forest and marine campaign costs since 2013.