On 1 February 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s forests were dealt a double blow. First, DRC’s Minister of Environment, Amy Ambatobe, reinstated three illegal logging concessions covering an area of 6,500 square kilometres. Second, DRC’s president, Joseph Kabila, signed off on three oil exploration concessions covering a huge area of Mai Ndombe province, including part of the Salonga National Park.
In an open letter, scientists have warned about the impacts that logging the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo would have on the planet’s climate. The scientists are concerned that a proposal to expand logging in DRC’s forests would damage the world’s largest tropical peatland – the Cuvette Centrale peatlands in the central Congo Basin.
Rainforest Foundation UK has today written to Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, asking her to prevent Norwegian funding for an industrial logging project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The proposed project would hand over 20 million hectares of forest to timber companies.
“For WWF, partnering with Indigenous Peoples is an essential part of our conservation work.” This sentence comes from WWF’s latest newsletter from its international forest and climate team. The article is written by Jolly Sassa Kiuka and Flory Botamba who work for WWF in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Norway’s plans to save the rainforests in the Congo are coming under scrutiny in the Norwegian media.
In September 2015, Norway and a handful of European countries launched the Central African Forest Initiative. CAFI is aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo.
The Jari Amapá REDD+ project covers an area of 65,980 hectares in the Jari Valley in the state of Amapá, Brazil. The project is run by three companies, one of which, Jari Florestal, has just had its Forest Stewardship Council certificate suspended after being caught in an illegal timber scheme.
Seleka is a alliance of rebel militia factions that formed in September 2012. In March 2013, Seleka staged a bloody coup and seized power in the Central African Republic. Michel Djotodia was installed as president.
In May 2010, the Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta posted a list of frequently asked questions on its website about the US$1 billion REDD deal with Indonesia. The last question is about illegal logging: “Will this program stop illegal logging in Indonesia?”