On 10 November 2017, in a meeting held in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Minister of Environment announced the government’s intention to start the process of lifting the moratorium on allocating new logging concessions. The moratorium in place for the last 15 years has contributed to keep industrial logging at bay in large parts of the DRC's magnificent forests.
The terms of reference distributed at the same meeting specify that a single company would be awarded a 20,000 km² concession – an area the size of Wales and four times above the legal limit – in exchange for its “financial support” to the process.
The DRC hosts the majority of this world’s second largest rainforest. Protecting this forest is crucial to tackling climate change and preserving global biodiversity. More than 30 million Congolese directly depend on the forest.
Donor countries in the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) are funding the DRC government to protect its forest and improve forest governance. Only last month, CAFI approved the disbursement of $41 million to DRC.
We demand that the DRC Prime Minister immediately halts the plans to lift the moratorium and cancels the deal of handing over 20,000 km² of the Congo Basin forest to a single company.
We demand that CAFI freezes all further disbursements to the DRC government until it demonstrates a credible commitment to transparent and accountable forest management.