Greenpeace closes PNG office

Greenpeace has quietly decamped from Papua New Guinea, closing its office, selling its premises and taking locals off its payroll.  It appears the organisation’s 17-year campaign to halt commercial forestry in PNG has failed.

It would be reasonable to assume that funding has ceased for its anti-forestry campaigns.  It is a pattern of Greenpeace activity to run campaigns with targeted funding from large, specific, grants.  These are from foundations, indirectly from governments (a foundation funded by the Dutch postal lottery funded Greenpeace anti-forestry activity in Southeast Asia) and from wealthy private donors who often target their donations to specific objectives.

Donors who fund specific campaigns expect results.  In PNG, the major Greenpeace campaign message was to save the ‘paradise’ rainforests (a term it coined), which it forecast would disappear within a decade (they haven’t); and to block PNG’s timber supply chain.  Raising a hue and cry about illegal logging was part of the second leg.   As is usual in global anti-forestry campaigns, its partner – sometimes silent – was the WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Greenpeace’s last major activity was to send its second boat, MV Esperanza, to East New Britain to protest development of palm oil.  The vessel was stoned by villagers and attacked in the media by land owners.

Greenpeace leaves behind “ActNow” a small campaigning tool it set up to carry its messages. With Greenpeace gone, ActNow can be expected to increasingly reflect the activities of smaller groups of resident activists.

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