Congo: World Bank sponsored review of the logging industry

What does it take to make a forest defender ineffective? Here’s the
recipe: exclude public participation from the planning process; make
sure there is a lack of publicly available map-based information about
the landscape; make sure there is always an interruption in the
citizen’s right to due process under the law; make sure there is a
general malaise of social awareness and involvement regarding forests;
and most of all: make sure there is as much poverty as possible!
That’s what it takes to not only stop a forest defender, that’s what
it takes to destroy a forest as fast possible. So what if we focused
on the opposite? What if we were to change all that? What if we
created opportunities for forest defenders by creating the opposite of
which is outlined above and then forest defenders start showing up

So maybe the new  World Bank sponsored review came to the same conclusion right?
–Editor, Forest Policy Research

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has recently completed a World Bank
sponsored review of the logging industry with some positive results.
Yet it has allowed an expansion of the industry to more than twice the
recommended size. Affected communities have been systematically
excluded from the logging review process and crucial information such
as maps, contracts and logging plans have not been made available at
the local level – or elsewhere. Local people also lack the right to
appeal logging decisions. The DRC desperately needs to develop a land
use plan that takes into account the needs of the Congolese people.
Following the review, the DRC government refused 68 out of 87 appeals
against cancelled logging contracts. The recent DRC logging review has
been widely criticised and an independent observer appointed by the
government at the request of the World Bank has acknowledged that none
of the review criteria was properly verified.

A 2002 moratorium on new
logging concessions has been violated and the Forest Law that was
passed 6 years ago is still to be implemented. Multinational timber
companies such as the Swiss Danzer Group and the Portuguese company
Nord Timber have obtained hundreds of thousands of hectares of
rainforest for logging and under the pretext of “remapping”. To date
15 million hectares of forest has been allocated through this dubious
practice. Clearly many challenges remain for the fight to save this
forest but the DRC government must continue to resist pressure from
greedy international timber companies. Congo today exports around
200,000 cubic meters of timber annually, mostly to Europe, the
Environment Ministry says. However, tax revenues from the sector are
minimal. One of the review’s goals, ministry officials said, is to
help the state recoup millions of dollars in lost taxes.

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