‘Em Graun Bilong Mipla’ is Scott Waide’s outstanding new documentary which, over 18 inspiring minutes, proves there is another way for Papua New Guinea. A way that doesn’t involve corruption, urban ghettoes, dispossession of land and loss of PNG’s incredibly diverse cultures.

Watch video here:  http://youtu.be/4Qk9X_rOOjI

‘Em Graun Bilong Mipla’ tells the story of Saussi, a rural community which rejected offers to lease its land for oil palm. Instead it has used control over its land’s natural resources to become incredibly self-sufficient. Today, Saussi is far wealthier than any community we know of that has allowed extractive ‘development’ onto their land.

PNG is unique in that most of the people still own their land (86% – formerly 97%, before the current land-grab by foreign corporations began). But communities everywhere are coming under massive pressure from mining, logging, fisheries, oil palm and other companies to lease their land, in some cases for generations. Not realising the wealth inherent in their own land, or not having the power to maintain control over it, communities are being evicted from their land by companies at a rapid rate. As they do, traditional societies are breaking down and PNG is becoming awash with crime and hopelessness.

Saussi proves its doesn’t have to be that way. PNG and other Pacific countries can choose to become rich through holding onto their land, or poor by selling out their future to foreign corporations. It is a choice that involves all of us. Landowners need to realise the value of what they own, the middle class needs to support their rural brothers and sisters’ way of life, and the government needs to create an enabling environment to help people maintain control over their land.

‘Em Graun Bilong Mipla’ needs to be shared by anyone who believes there is another path – a better path – for PNG and the Pacific.



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