Kinshasa, May 15, 2012: Greenpeace has today urged the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government to cancel the artisanal permits that are being used for industrial logging operations, an illegal practice that clearly circumvents the moratorium on new industrial logging concessions.
This call comes against the backdrop of recent research carried out by Réseau Ressources Naturelles (RRN) and Greenpeace that shows an expansion of industrial logging operations that are being disguised as artisanal logging.
Juvin Akiak, Forest Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa says, “logging operators are working outside of any control or monitoring; and in all impunity. Clearly, many companies are doing this to bypass the moratorium on new logging permits”.
The existing moratorium on the allocation of new industrial logging concessions prohibits the Congolese government from making new deals with the industrial logging companies. However, the issuance of artisanal logging permits seems to have increased dramatically in the past few years.
“Artisanal logging is basically small scale logging in “community” forests, reserved for small Congolese businessmen, and industrial logging in this country is normally done by companies, but what we are seeing industrial logging operations carried out with artisanal permits, a violation of the moratorium”, adds Irène Wabiwa, Forest campaigner for Greenpeace Africa
The research further showed that in DRC’s Bandundu province, almost all the artisanal logging permits have not been issued by the provincial governor but by the Environment Ministry in the Capital Kinshasa.
“Extra confusion is created because the permits issued by the Ministry are titled “artisanal logging permits”, but are then granted for an “industrial logging operation”. This simply shows that the moratorium has never been properly enforced”, continues Wabiwa.
Greenpeace calls on the DRC government to ensure that the legal rights of the local forest communities are respected; and that artisanal logging operations are monitored and publicly controlled.
“It is time to act quickly in order to stop this uncontrolled destruction, and conserve the forest and its biodiversity for our country and our people”, concludes Akiak.
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- Augustine Kasambule, Communications Officer Greenpeace Africa : , +243998230896
- Irene Wabiwa, Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace Africa, , +243997853171
- Juvin Akiak, Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace Africa : , +243995900459