in DR Congo, France, Germany, Norway, UK

Environmental organisations call on Democratic Republic of Congo not to open up its rainforest to loggers

Last week, José Ilanga the Director General in charge of forests at the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in the Democratic Republic of Congo, announced that plans were underway to lift the country’s 16-year-old moratorium on new logging concessions. Today, more than 50 environmental and human rights organisations have written to key donor governments and agencies, including Norway, UK, France, USA, and the World Bank, calling on them to suspend funding immediately to the DRC government for forestry and forest conservation.

The letter states that lifting the moratorium “will have catastrophic environmental, social and climatic impacts, particularly in a context where forest governance remains chronically weak or non-existent”.

Simon Counsell, Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation UK says in a press release that,

“The lifting of the logging moratorium in DRC would drive a coach and horses through the country’s apparent commitments to reducing its carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation. Carbon emissions from forests are likely to soar, and the international community must look closely at whether funding REDD programmes is now viable.”

Here is the letter (in French, below):

To the representatives of the governments of: Belgium, France, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States

To members of the Central Africa Forest Initiative (CAFI)

To the CBFP, EU, FAO, UNDP, World Bank

7th March 2018

RE: DR Congo’s proposed lifting of the moratorium on new industrial logging concessions

Dear colleagues,

It is with great alarm that we alert you to plans to imminently lift the moratorium on new logging concessions in the DRC. These plans have become clear over the last few days and have been confirmed by the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, Amy Ambatobe. Simultaneously, a revision of the country’s Forest Code, understood to now be at an advanced stage, has been secretly underway without the involvement of key stakeholders, including NGOs, and is likely to see a weakening of the controls over future logging activities.

We believe that these plans, which appear to be linked to political manoeuvring amidst the worsening turmoil of the country, will have catastrophic environmental, social and climatic impacts, particularly in a context where forest governance remains chronically weak or non-existent.

They particularly threaten to undermine many international forest protection efforts in the country, including the Central African Forest Initiative, (CAFI), the Carbon Fund Mai Ndombe jurisdictional REDD programme, the Forest Investment Programme, the USAID-backed CARPE programme, and the integrity of protected areas’ programmes run by GIZ and KfW. It would be incompatible with several pillars of the National REDD+ Strategy, and the National REDD+ Investment plan. It is very likely that globally important peatswamps beneath forests will be threatened.

Minister Ambatobe, apparently motivated by narrow political and economic interests, has recently awarded three concessions covering 6,500 square kilometres, in breach of the moratorium.

We thus call on you to:

    a. Immediately suspend all funding through your respective programmes to DRC government agencies for forestry and forest conservation;

    b. Inform the DRC government that such funds will remain suspended until the current non-transparent & non-inclusive process of revision of the Forest Code is halted and a clear commitment is made not to consider the lifting of the moratorium until the government can credibly guarantee the legality and proper governance of the sector.

We very much hope you will take our recommendations into consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Jo Blackman, Campaign Leader – Global Witness
Simon Counsell, Executive Director – Rainforest Foundation UK
Lars Løvold, Director – Rainforest Foundation Norway
Victorine Che Thoener, Project Leader Congo Basin Forests – Greenpeace
Jean-Marie Nkanda, Acting Coordinator – Réseau Ressources Naturelles
Julien Kabalao, Coordinator– Groupe de Travail REDD Rénové sur le Climat en RDC
Andrey Laletin, Chair – Russian NGO Friends of the Siberian Forests
Angela Meder – The Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe
Anja Bakken Risse, Leader – The Future in our Hands
Catherine Bryan, CEO – Synchronicity Earth
Chris Redston, Executive Director – Rainforest Trust UK
Christian Steel, Secretary General – SABIMA – The Norwegian Council for Biodiversity
Coenraad Krijger, Director – IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands (IUCN NL)
Colleen Corrigan – University of Queensland
Dan Brockington, Director – The Shefield Institute for International Development
Danielle van Oijen, – Vereniging Milieudefensie – Friends of the Earth Netherlands
Ernest Mpararo, Secrétaire Exécutif – Ligue Congolaise de lutte contre la Corruption/DRC
Esben Marcussen, Project Leader – Greenpeace
Eva Filzmoser, Executive Director – Carbon Market Watch
Evelyn Schönheit & Jupp Trauth – Forum Ökologie & Papier
Gabriel Thoumi, Director Capital Markets – CFA, FRM Climate Advisers
Henk Hoefsloot, Programme Coordinator – Tropenbos International
Hermann Edelmann, Executive Director – Pro Regenwald
Ian Redmond – Ape Alliance
Jiri Kozelouh – Friends of the Earth Czech Republic
Jürgen Maier, Director – Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung (German NGO Forum on Environment and Development)
Kelvin Davies, CEO – Rainforest Trust Australia
Korinna Horta, Senior Policy Advisor – Urgewald
Lavey Warren Gary – University of Illinois
Lukas Straumann, Executive director – Bruno Manser Fund
Mariam Mayet, Executive Director – African Centre for Biodiversity
Martin Luiga, Head of International Communications, Estonian Forest Aid (Eesti Metsa Abiks)
Mary S. Booth, Director – Partnership for Policy Integrity
Natasa Crnkovic, President – Centar za životnu sredinu/ Friends of the Earth Bosnia and Herzegovina
Paul Salaman, CEO – Rainforest Trust
Peg Putt, CEO – Markets For Change
Randy Hayes, Executive Director – Foundation Earth
Reinhard Behrend, CEO – Regenwald.org
Sabine Schielmann – Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology
Sandra Altherr, Co-founder – Pro Wildlife
Saskia Ozinga, Director, FERN
Scot Quaranda, Communications Director – Dogwood Alliance USA
Silje Ask Lundberg, Head – Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature
Susanne Breitkopf – Environmental Investigation Agency
Suzanne Pelletier, Executive Director – Rainforest Fondation US
Tim Keating, Director – Rainforest Relief
Tom Griffiths, Director- Forest Peoples Programmes
Vance Martin, President – Wild Foundation
Vanda Altarelli, President – Sonia
William F. Laurance, Director – Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers & Thinkers
Wolfgang Kuhlmann – ARA

 

Aux représentants des gouvernements de : l’Allemagne, la Belgique, les Etats-Unis, la France, la Norvège, le Royaume-Uni

Aux membres de l’Initiative pour la Forêt de l’Afrique Centrale (CAFI)

A la Banque Mondiale, EU, FAO, PFBC, PNUD

Le 7 Mars 2018

Objet : La République Démocratique du Congo propose la levée du moratoire portant sur l’allocation
de nouvelles concessions d’exploitation forestière

Chers collègues,

C’est avec une grande inquiétude que nous vous alertons sur les projets de levée imminente du moratoire sur l’allocation de nouvelles concessions forestières en République Démocratique du Congo.

Ces plans ont été clarifiés dans les derniers jours et ont été confirmés par le Ministre de l’Environnement et du Développement durable, Amy Ambatobe. Simultanément, une révision du Code forestier congolais, tacitement en cours et s’effectuant sans la participation des principales parties prenantes notamment les ONG, est déjà à un stade avancé et prévoirait l’affaiblissement du contrôle sur les futures activités d’exploitation forestière.

Nous pensons que ces plans, qui semblent liés à des manœuvres politiques dans un contexte d’aggravation de l’instabilité du pays, auront des impacts environnementaux, sociaux et climatiques catastrophiques, en particulier dans un contexte où la gouvernance forestière reste chroniquement faible voire inexistante.

Ils menacent particulièrement de discréditer de nombreux efforts internationaux visant la protection des forêts du pays, notamment l’Initiative pour la forêt de l’Afrique centrale (CAFI), le programme juridictionnel REDD du Fonds Carbone Mai Ndombe, le Programme d’investissement forestier, le programme CARPE soutenu par USAID et l’intégrité des programmes d’aires protégées gérés par la GIZ et la KfW. Cela serait incompatible avec plusieurs piliers de la stratégie nationale REDD + et le plan national d’investissement REDD +. Il est par ailleurs très probable que des tourbières importantes sous les forêts soient menacées.

Le Ministre Ambatobe, vraisemblablement motivé par des intérêts politiques et économiques, a récemment accordé trois concessions couvrant 6 500 kilomètres carrés, en violation du moratoire.

Nous vous appelons donc à:

– Suspendre immédiatement tout financement par le biais de vos programmes respectifs aux agences gouvernementales de la RDC pour le secteur forestier et la conservation;

– Informer le gouvernement de la RDC que ces fonds resteront suspendus jusqu’à ce que le processus non-transparent et non-inclusif de révision du Code forestier soit stoppé et un engagement clair à ne pas envisager la levée du moratoire jusqu’à ce que le gouvernement puisse garantir de manière crédible la légalité et la bonne gouvernance du secteur forestier.

Nous espérons vivement que vous prendrez nos recommandations en considération.

Nous vous prions de recevoir nos sincères salutations.

Jo Blackman, Campaign Leader – Global Witness
Simon Counsell, Executive Director – Rainforest Foundation UK
Lars Løvold, Director – Rainforest Foundation Norway
Victorine Che Thoener, Project Leader Congo Basin Forests – Greenpeace
Jean-Marie Nkanda, Acting Coordinator – Réseau Ressources Naturelles
Julien Kabalao, Coordinator– Groupe de Travail REDD Rénové sur le Climat en RDC
Andrey Laletin, Chair – Russian NGO Friends of the Siberian Forests
Angela Meder – The Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe
Anja Bakken Risse, Leader – The Future in our Hands
Catherine Bryan, CEO – Synchronicity Earth
Chris Redston,Executive Director – Rainforest Trust UK
Christian Steel, Secretary General – SABIMA – The Norwegian Council for Biodiversity
Coenraad Krijger, Director – IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands (IUCN NL)
Colleen Corrigan – University of Queensland
Dan Brockington, Director – The Shefield Institute for International Development
Danielle van Oijen, – Vereniging Milieudefensie – Friends of the Earth Netherlands
Ernest Mpararo, Secrétaire Exécutif – Ligue Congolaise de lutte contre la Corruption/DRC
Esben Marcussen, Project Leader – Greenpeace
Eva Filzmoser, Executive Director – Carbon Market Watch
Evelyn Schönheit & Jupp Trauth – Forum Ökologie & Papier
Gabriel Thoumi, Director Capital Markets – CFA, FRM Climate Advisers
Henk Hoefsloot, Programme Coordinator – Tropenbos International
Hermann Edelmann, Executive Director – Pro Regenwald
Ian Redmond – Ape Alliance
Jiri Kozelouh – Friends of the Earth Czech Republic
Jürgen Maier, Director – Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung (German NGO Forum on Environment and Development)
Kelvin Davies, CEO – Rainforest Trust Australia
Korinna Horta, Senior Policy Advisor -Urgewald
Lavey Warren Gary – University of Illinois
Lukas Straumann, Executive director – Bruno Manser Fund
Mariam Mayet, Executive Director – African Centre for Biodiversity
Martin Luiga, Head of International Communications, Estonian Forest Aid (Eesti Metsa Abiks)
Mary S. Booth, Director – Partnership for Policy Integrity
Natasa Crnkovic, President – Centar za životnu sredinu/ Friends of the Earth Bosnia and Herzegovina
Paul Salaman, CEO – Rainforest Trust
Peg Putt, CEO – Markets For Change
Randy Hayes, Executive Director – Foundation Earth
Reinhard Behrend, CEO – Regenwald.org
Sabine Schielmann – Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology
Sandra Altherr, Co-founder – Pro Wildlife
Saskia Ozinga, Director, FERN
Scot Quaranda, Communications Director – Dogwood Alliance USA
Silje Ask Lundberg, Head – Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature
Susanne Breitkopf – Environmental Investigation Agency
Suzanne Pelletier, Executive Director – Rainforest Fondation US
Tim Keating, Director – Rainforest Relief
Tom Griffiths, Director- Forest Peoples Programmes
Vance Martin, President – Wild Foundation
Vanda Altarelli, President – Sonia
William F. Laurance, Director – Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers & Thinkers
Wolfgang Kuhlmann – ARA

 


PHOTO credit: Greenpeace Africa.
 

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