Norway will stop payment of up to 400 million kroner a year to Congo after the authorities there have allowed the harvesting of the rainforest.
After the visit from the Chinese Minister of Environment earlier in February,two Chinese timber companies were granted permission to chop rainforest timber in an area of 6,500 square kilometers (about 15 times greater than Nordmarka), so support for Congo will be suspended, NRK news reported.
The Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) is an organization that provides large sums for conservation and protection of rainforests in six African countries. Congo gets most of the funds, as the Congo forest is the world’s second largest rainforest area after the Amazon.
Norway has supported Congo with large sums in connection with the CAFI project, but now it is to stop.
“CAFI have decided that new payments to projects in Congo are not applicable before the concessions have been withdrawn,” stated Secretary of State at the
Ministry of Climate and Environment, Atle Hamar.
The state secretary said that Norway is currently meeting with Congolese authorities, including the Minister for Finance and the Minister for the Environment, together with France, as CAFI’s chairman.
The chairman of the Rainforest Foundation, Lars Løvold, pointed out that there are strong forces in the Congo that wish to start timber harvesting.Considering that Congo is considered a country where corruption abounds,he doesn’t rule out that the new felling permits are correlated to corruption.
“We don’t know anything about this thing, but you can be dishonest’’, he said.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today