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Carving Up The Congo

GREENPEACE - April 11, 2007

congo report
The Congo rainforest is the life support system for millions of people in the 'green heart' of Africa. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) alone, 40 million people depend on the forest. Like all large intact forests, it's also crucially important for regulating the local and global climate. As the world's second largest rainforest, the Congo rainforest is also home to some of Africa's most iconic wildlife including gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and forest elephants.

In our latest report, Carving Up the Congo, international logging companies are exposed for causing social chaos and wreaking environmental havoc in the DRC. It also reveals how the World Bank, by far the largest donor to the DRC, is failing to stop this destruction while the rainforest is being sold off under the illusion that it will alleviate poverty in one of the poorest countries on Earth.

This report shows how, in spite of a moratorium on new logging that has been in place since 2002, over 37 million acres of rainforest have been granted to the logging industry - that's an area the size of Illinois, and most of this is in areas that are vital for protecting biodiversity.

Empty Promises

Taxes paid by the companies for the rights to log the forest should be going to local forest communities to provide essential services like education and healthcare. But even the World Bank admits that over the last three years, not a single penny paid by the logging companies has reached local communities. This leaves the local communities not only without the forest that provided their food, shelter and medicine, but without the benefits they have been promised.

In exchange for timber worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, logging companies are giving communities gifts such as bags of salt and crates of beer worth less than $100, and making promises to build schools and hospitals.

These promises are rarely fulfilled and there are reports that intimidation tactics are used against people who try to protest. We have heard stories of  people being pushed into signing contracts (of which we have copies), even if they can't read the French in which they are written.

Carving up the Congo - Natalia Truchi tells her story

Natalia Truchi visited the Congo in March 2007. Greenpeace organised the expedition to give journalists and politicians a real insight into the destruction and injustice related to the logging industry in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is her story...

View the story

A Time for Real Solutions

This area is already prone to corruption and the local authorities are inadequately trained and equipped to enforce the law. Poorly paid officials sometimes have only a bicycle to help them patrol vast areas of rainforest, making it impossible to control the industry.

It sounds like bad news for the Congolese, but there is still time to prevent the destruction of the rainforest and see that alternative solutions are developed which will really help to lift the country out of poverty.

It's not too late to prevent the destruction of this incredible rainforest, and by putting pressure on the World Bank, that's exactly what we intend to do.

View Slideshow

Take Action!

Henry J. Paulson, Jr., the Secretary of the Treasury is the United States governor of the World Bank and is attending the spring meeting this weekend. Tell  Mr. Paulson to use his influence to ensure there is a real future for the rainforest, with proper safeguards put in place to protect it.

Related articles

  1. Claims that threat to Congo Basin forest is waning are misleading (July 22, 2013)
  2. Deforestation Slows in Congo Basin (July 22, 2013)
  3. Widespread abuse of logging permits opens up Congo's forests to more destruction (October 25, 2012)
  4. DR Congo, IMF to Co-Host Conference on the Management of Natural Resources (March 13, 2012)
  5. African Rainforests Continue to Face Challenges (January 6, 2012)
  6. UN advises prudent use of abundant resources to spur development (October 10, 2011)
  7. Kabila Makes Re-Election Pitch in Speech to the Nation (September 15, 2011)
  8. Global Witness welcomes DR Congo's decision to publish resource contracts (June 3, 2011)
  9. Upcoming UN-backed summit to focus on sustainable management of rainforests (April 13, 2011)
  10. DR Congo blocks oil search in Virunga National Park (March 18, 2011)
  11. 2010 Human Development Report analyses long-term development trends (November 4, 2010)
  12. Government Launches Investigation into Latest Boat Accidents (September 6, 2010)
  13. Congo Catholic Bishops Praise U.S. Law on 'Conflict Minerals' (August 3, 2010)
  14. Equateur Province Governor Bans Exports of Unprocessed Timber (July 7, 2010)
  15. UNEP, PUMA in joint strategic deal to support biodiversity worldwide (January 7, 2010)
  16. Congolese activist wins 'alternative Nobel' (October 13, 2009)
  17. Logging firms 'avoid Congo tax' (July 30, 2008)
  18. Plan to Harness Congo River Could Double Electricity Production in Africa (April 21, 2008)
  19. Africa plans biggest dam project (April 21, 2008)
  20. Visit of UK representatives to Mbandaka (January 29, 2008)
  21. Climate change in the DRC and future challenges (December 21, 2007)
  22. Ten millionth tree planted in Congo's gorilla habitat (November 26, 2007)
  23. Congo arrests after toxic dumping (November 10, 2007)
  24. Likasi residents told to avoid radioactive river (November 9, 2007)
  25. Radioactive Material Dumped Into Congolese River (November 9, 2007)
  26. DRC Investigates Suspected Illegal Dumping of Radioactive Ore (November 7, 2007)
  27. Opportunity for the new Congolese government to fundamentally reform the natural resource sector (April 22, 2007)
  28. Post-Conflict DRC Moves to Reintegrate Former Soldiers, Protect Forests (March 8, 2007)
  29. Illegal Carve-up of Congo Rainforests (February 26, 2007)
  30. Conservation Efforts in Congo Basin Appear Effective (June 24, 2006)

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