Press release | Dec. 22, 2017

Global Witness welcomes call for changes to French proposal to expand industrial logging in Democratic Republic of Congo

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Global Witness welcomes a DRC committee’s call to the French Development Agency (AFD) to substantially review their proposal to support an expansion of industrial logging. This controversial proposal - submitted to the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI ) for funding - has now twice been sent back by the DRC committee.

Since the proposal was announced in March this year, serious concerns have been expressed by scientists and organisations, including Global Witness, about the disastrous impact this expansion would have on the world’s second largest tropical rainforest. It has now been confirmed that the DRC committee comprised of donors, civil society and government representatives sent back the proposal for a second time and is demanding substantial changes in a recently published resolution.

The demands include: the proposal must clearly lead to a reduction in emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation; clarification that the non-application of law means the concessions must be returned to the state; a stronger emphasis on ensuring improvements in forest governance, including procedures for complaints and follow up; clarification that the aim should not be to lift the moratorium on the allocation of new logging concessions; exclusion of peatland and areas with high potential biodiversity from potential concessions; that support for artisanal and industrial logging must not include co-financing or operational support to companies.

Jo Blackman, Campaign Leader at Global Witness said: “We welcome the further demands by the committee.  However, donor government support to industrial loggers, whether directly or indirectly or to help them meet their legal obligations, has no place in a programme to reduce emissions.”

The plan was being considered for funding under the mainly Norwegian-funded Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) – a US$200 million programme to reduce emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) which is now being chaired by the French government.

Jo Blackman added: “As home to the majority of the world’s second largest rainforest, DRC has a crucial role to play tackling climate change. But donors must support DRC in meeting the targets set out in its climate action plan, by halting the expansion of industrial logging and putting in place measures to ensure the preservation of DRC’s forests.”

The French Development Agency must now decide whether to substantially amend and retable the proposal, or abandon its plans.

Jo concluded: “The new French Minister of Ecological Transition, Nicolas Hulot, has rightly acknowledged the key role of forests in tackling climate change and the French President Emmanuel Macron recently hosted an international submit on climate change in Paris in December. Now it’s time for the French government to abandon all plans to support an expansion of industrial logging in DRC.”



Notes to editor:

Global Witness protects human rights and the environment by fearlessly confronting corruption and challenging the systems that enable it.

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