‘Organised Chaos’ in DR Congo’s Logging Sector Threatens Livelihoods, Forests and Trade

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Press release - March 4, 2013
Kinshasa, 4 March 2013 -- The logging sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is in a state of “organised chaos”, according to a new report from Greenpeace Africa, which details how the DRC government’s so-called “battle against illegal logging” is failing the Congolese people and jeopardising trade. Cut it Out: Illegal Logging in DRC reveals the devastating impact that the lack of governance, law enforcement and transparency is having on the world’s second largest rainforest.

“Logging companies, including multinationals, are routinely flouting Congolese law, with complete impunity,” said Irène Wabiwa, forests campaigner with Greenpeace Africa. “Many are involved in large-scale timber laundering and as a result, the government is denied tax revenues. Illegal logging is impacting directly on millions of Congolese citizens who depend on forests for their livelihoods.”

Compiled through research and field trips to Bandundu province, Cut It Out reveals the many ways in which logging companies are flouting Congolese law. Logging companies are getting around a moratorium on new industrial logging permits  through the illegal use of artisanal permits, which are officially only to be used for small scale logging. Some companies have continued to log after their permits were cancelled, and others without any permit at all. Upon visiting Kinkole port near Kinshasa, Greenpeace Africa witnessed log ends being removed and painted with new markings to hide illegal activities and to enable export.

The lack of independent systems to verify legality in DRC logging sector threatens to cut off trading with the European Union (EU), the world’s largest timber market. Yesterday (March 3), the new European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) was brought into force, which prohibits illegally harvested timber and timber products from being traded on the European market. The chaos in the DRC logging sector makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for traders based in the EU and dealing in timber from the DRC to comply with the new legislation under current circumstances.

“With strict enforcement from EU governments, this new law can promote positive changes in DRC and help to stop forest destruction,” said Danielle Van Oijen, forests campaigner with Greenpeace International.

It is clear that a transformation of the logging sector in the DRC is needed, to ensure the sustainable development that is key for the country’s future. To achieve this, Greenpeace Africa is calling on DRC government  to reinforce the existing moratorium and cancel all existing illegal permits, prosecute infractions, publish all logging contracts, strengthen anti-corruption measures, and enable communities to manage their forests for their own benefit. The DRC government needs to put its people first.

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To read Cut it Out: Illegal Logging in the DRC, click here

For press enquiries contact:

Irene Wabiwa, Forests Campaigner, Greenpeace Africa, phone: +243 997 853 171

Danielle Van Oijen, Forests Campaigner, Greenpeace International. Mobile: + 31 6 15 00 74 04,

In Johannesburg:

Alexa Phillips, Forests Communications Coordinator, Greenpeace Africa, phone: +27 798945277

Fiona Musana, Communications Director, Greenpeace Africa, phone +27 780828405