By Devendra Kamarajan
NAIROBI | KINSHASA (IDN) — Ahead of international donors announcing a 1 USD billion forest protection agreement with the Democratic Republic of Congo, NGOs are urging that such funding for the Central African country should be conditional on a moratorium on any logging concessions, reports Greenpeace. The ban has stood since 2002 but the DRC government is apparently planning to lift the moratorium.
In a letter to the donor countries, more than 40 international and Congolese NGOs are warning that lifting the ban would put at risk an area of rainforest the size of France, resulting in land grabs, social conflict and the exacerbation of the climate and biodiversity crises.
“We are standing on the precipice of an historic failure to protect one of the world’s great rainforests—and possibly the last still serving as a carbon sink. Any—rather than a scaling back of industrial logging—will inevitably result in an unstoppable ‘cascade of deforestation’, threatening millions of hectares of forest and the communities that depend on it.” alerted Joe Eisen, Executive Director of Rainforest Foundation UK.
The appeal by to dozens of environmental and human rights organisations to donor governments comes with less than six weeks to go before crucial international climate negotiations in Glasgow. The organisations including Rainforest Foundation UK, Greenpeace Africa, and the national Indigenous Peoples network, DGPA, are appealing to donor governments to intervene.
The letter has been sent on September 23 to the ministers of development, environment and foreign affairs in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, and the UK, as well as the European Commission. These are all members of CAFI (Central African Forest Initiative), which is negotiating the forest protection agreement with the DRC government.
“Industrial logging puts Indigenous Peoples and local communities at risk of displacement and swathes of biodiversity under existential threat. If donor governments give unconditional support to logging, that will endanger the forest on an apocalyptic scale. It would remove the last shreds of credibility from COP26,” said Irene Wabiwa, International Project Leader for the Congo Basin forest in Greenpeace Africa.
The NGOs’ letter comes after the council of ministers, presided over by DRC president Félix Tshisekedi, adopted the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Environment Eve Bazaiba’s proposal to lift the moratorium in July. [IDN-InDepthNews — 24 September 2021]
Photo: The DRC government is planning to lift a moratorium on new logging concessions that threatens some of the last intact tropical forest on earth, Forest protection in DR Congo. Credit: Greenpeace.
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