Over 20 000 Congolese call for their rainforest to be saved

Press release - June 5, 2012
Kinshasa, June 05 2012 --Greenpeace Africa, in collaboration with Réseau Ressources Naturelles and members of forest communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is calling on the government to maintain and enforce the moratorium on the allocation of new industrial forests concessions in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This call was made in the form of a petition given to the Congolese Prime Minister today, signed by at least 20000 people.

The moratorium on the allocation of new industrial forests concessions has been violated since it was first announced in 2002. A report launched by Greenpeace recently highlighted how the government and foreign investors were bypassing the moratorium in several ways, one of which is by granting industrial logging operations with a permit intended for artisanal operations. [1}

According to the Greenpeace report “Artisanal Logging =  Industrial Logging in Disguise”, the DRC government is overlooking the flagrant abuse of permits.

As the foremost authority when it comes to enforcing the moratorium, we expect the Prime Minister to cancel all illegal artisanal permits granted to foreign and industrial companies immediately. These concessions are serving personal interests only at the expense of the Congolese” said Irène Wabiwa, Greenpeace Africa forest campaigner.

The DRC has the largest forest area in ​​Africa, with over 40 million people who depend on it for their livelihoods. However the exploitation of these resources does not contribute to the development of these communities.

"The time for rhetoric is over; we need action and the Congolese government needs to end the confusion over logging permits. This means strengthening the existing moratorium on the allocation of new industrial forest concessions," said Joseph Bobia, coordinator of Réseau des Ressources Naturelles.

Greenpeace and RRN are calling on DRC’s government to stop the violation of the moratorium, and to ensure that the rights of local communities are upheld.

"The government must make public and transparency information related to the sector, its about our people, its about sustainable development and the government needs to take responsibility now," concludes Irène Wabiwa

Contact:

  1. Augustine Kasambule, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Africa +243998230896
  2. Irene Wabiwa, Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace Africa, +243997853171


Notes to the Editor

  1. The report launched in May 2012 exposed the flagrant abuse of artisanal logging permits for industrial purposes. This report can be downloaded on the Greenpeace Africa website:

http://greenpeace.org/africa/en/Press-Centre-Hub/Publications/Bypassing-the-moratorium-on-the-allocation-of-new-industrial-logging-concessions-in-the-DRC/