DR Congo plans to cancel more than two-thirds of its timber logging contracts

REUTERS - Logging, mining, and land clearance for farming are eating away at the Congo Basin, which accounts for more than a quarter of the world's tropical forest, at a rate of over 800,000 hectares annually, an area roughly the size of Crete.

In partial results of the review of 156 contracts released in Kinshasa on Monday, a government panel found only 46 deals lived up to minimum legal standards and international norms. The remaining agreements were expected to be cancelled, Environment Minister Jose Endundu told journalists. However, companies with contracts on the list of those to be scrapped will be able to appeal the panel's decision. "They will have 15 days to lodge their appeals. The commission will also have 15 days to review their observations," Endundu said. The full list of contracts destined for cancellation will not be released until Wednesday.

In August, a group of experts evaluating the legal and technical aspects of the Congo timber deals recommended that contracts belonging to a subsidiary of Germany's Danzer Group and to Portuguese-owned Sodefor should be revoked. A third company, Safbois, also saw its agreements slotted for cancellation. Together the three firms account for more than 66 percent of all timber exported from Congo, researchers say.

LOST TAXES, REDUCED EXPORTS

Congo launched the long-delayed review of its timber contracts in July in an effort to recoup millions of dollars in lost taxes and clean up a business rife with corruption. Most of the country's logging deals were agreed during a 1998-2003 war or by a three-year corruption-plagued interim government which ruled after it. In 1992, before the former Belgian colony descended into more than a decade of political turmoil and war, Congo exported around 500,000 cubic metres of timber. By 2002, as rampant corruption took hold with much of the country under rebel control, less than 100,000 cubic metres were officially declared for export.

"Timber makes no significant contribution to the state budget," Endundu said. Congo today exports around 200,000 cubic metres of timber annually, mostly to Europe, the environment ministry says. If adopted without major changes, the commission's decisions would reduce the total forest area allocated to logging companies to 7 million hectares from 22 million. Endundu said the government will maintain a moratorium on signing new logging deals for the next three years. He said proper management of the smaller exploited timber area should allow Congo to boost exports to 700,000 cubic metres per year.


Download Press Communiqué Minister Jose Endundu (6/10/08)

Download the recommendations of the interministerial conference on converting forest titles ( 6/10/08)

Go back

CBFP News

WWF: Rainforest deforestation more than doubled under cover of coronavirus -DW

Tropical rainforests shrank by 6,500 square kilometers in March — an area seven times the size of Berlin. Criminal groups are taking advantage of the pandemic and the unemployed are getting desperate, the WWF said.

Read more …

Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park Monthly update April 2020

"At a time when many countries are beginning their gradual deconfinement and when there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon of returning to normal life, I wanted to share with you some good news that also fills us with hope for the future of the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park."

Read more …

Resources and follow-up from the virtual FAO-EcoAgriculture Partners Roundtable

Last April 30th FAO and EcoAgriculture Partners organized a virtual Roundtable on Territorial Perspectives for Development, in which over 170 people participated.

Read more …

ATIBT -CBFP: Private Sector mobilized around the CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany

ATIBT co-facilitated the mobilization of the private sector of the timber sector to participate in the first meeting of the private sector college of Congo Basin Forest Partnership with the new facilitator Dr Christian Ruck and his team German Facilitation.

Read more …

Development and institutionalization of a PAFC certification system for the Congo basin: opening of the second public consultation on Sustainable Forest Management Certification Standard, 23 May 2020 - 22 June 2020

This second public consultation will be open for a period of 30 days from tomorrow Saturday the 23rd of May 2020 and will be closed on Monday the 22nd of June 2020. The public consultation is open to all stakeholders of forest management in the Congo Basin interested in participating to the PAFC Congo Basin certification standards development process.

Read more …

Forest defenders on the COVID-19 frontline stand ready to assist the global EU response – Fern

These efforts go hand in hand with ensuring continued responsible management of natural resources and preventing unsustainably and illegally sourced forest commodities. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, forest-monitoring organisations Observatoire de la Gouvernance Forestière (OGF) and Réseau des observateurs indépendants des ressources naturelles (RENOI) are set to carry out COVID awareness-raising in at-risk forest areas, and will also assess COVID’s impact on forest management and governance commitments under the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI). Across the Congo Basin, fears that a proper lack of oversight may put forests and forest peoples in danger are looming despite emerging initiatives.

Read more …

22 May 2020 International Day for Biological Diversity

The theme of the 2020 International Day for Biological Diversity is “Our Solutions are in Nature”. It shows that "Biodiversity remains the answer to a number of sustainable development challenges that we all face. From nature-based solutions to climate, to food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity remains the basis for a sustainable future."

Read more …

CBFP News Archive

2020