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CAFI Statement on illegal logging concessions awarded in DRC

Posted on March 1, 2018 8:41:00 PM

On February 22 and 27, Congolese authorities, including the Minister for Finance and the Minister for the Environment, convened the 4th Steering Committee of FONAREDD (DRC National REDD+ Fund) in Kinshasa.

On behalf of the CAFI Executive Board, the French and Norwegian representatives expressed deep concern over the three recent logging concessions awarded by the Ministry of Environment, to two Chinese timber companies.

This measure taken by the Government is in direct breach of the 2002 moratorium and the partnership principles outlined in the CAFI Letter of Intent.

As a result, CAFI has urged DRC to immediately revoke the concessions, and stipulated that no new transfers would be made to CAFI projects in Congo until this occurs.

In past months, DRC has made progress toward the achievement of milestones and general objectives set out in the Letter of Intent. The DRC submitted its first national Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL) to UNFCCC in early 2018, as stipulated by the Warsaw Framework, satisfying one of the milestones by demonstrating a commitment to strengthen national oversight.

The 2002 moratorium, expanded by President Joseph Kabila in 2005, stopped all new issuance and re-allocations of felling permits until certain conditions were met. This addressed the need to suspend further concessions until greater control over the forestry sector was achieved. However, despite the moratorium, the deforestation rate has risen significantly in recent years, and there is an urgent need to reduce the significant forest loss, now reportedly as high as 1.7 million hectares of forest per year in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

CAFI's Executive Board recognizes the many difficulties that cross the country, on an institutional, economic, budgetary and social level. It is also conscious of the many constraints in achieving the ambitions set out in the Letter of Intent. Nevertheless, CAFI remains convinced that action cannot be delayed if forest loss is to be slowed down.

CAFI recognises the desire for economic development via a more sustainable forestry sector. To achieve this, CAFI supports DRC's commitment for improved governance in the forest sector, before the issuance of new logging concessions. This will help to meet the legal conditions under Congolese law for lifting the moratorium, as well as contributing to the fight against illegal logging and addressing some of the causes of deforestation in DRC. The technical and financial partners who are members of CAFI's Board are ready to coordinate with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the rest of the DRC government to work towards the respect of the principles of the Letter of Intent.

After Thursday’s and Wednesday’s ministerial meetings, CAFI will continue the dialogue with DRC to resolve this issue.

Read about CAFI Projects in the DRC and FAQs on the Forestry Sector in DRC.  

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