Norway has pledged over a billion kroner to preserve the world’s second largest rainforest. Congo’s government accepts the money, but will also open up to more industrial logging.
Rainforest Foundation and other environmental organizations raise the alarm after environment minister Robert Bopolo Mbongeza declared a removal of the ban on new logging concessions. The ban or moratorium was introduced in 2002 to prevent impunity and destruction of the rainforest in the aftermath of the civil war in the country. Now the Congolese government wants to provide new logging permits and secure increased tax revenues.
400 million a year
Mbongeza’s statement comes just a few months after Norway promised up to 400 million per year until 2020 to support the preservation of the rainforest in the so-called Congo Basin. Over half of the forest area is located in Congo.
– A repeal of the moratorium will lead to large-scale and uncontrolled deforestation in the Congo, Gunnell Sandanger, senior advisor of the Rainforest Foundation, warns.
To open up to more legal logging will trigger a flood of environmental destruction, social abuse and corruption and will undermine efforts to conserve DRC’s rainforest to prevent climate change, a note prepared by that the Rainforest Foundation, Greenpeace and nine other international and local organizations states.
– More professional
Climate and Environment Minister Vidar Helgesen (H) says he is skeptical, but will discuss the plans with Congo. He points out that the legal harvesting today constitute only 1 to 2 percent of the national market, the rest of the timber comes from illegal logging.
Source:NTB scanpix / Norway Today