Children sit on logs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An area of rainforest five times the size of Belgium has been allocated to the logging industry since 2002.
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.
Today, we're releasing a new report,
Carving Up the Congo,which exposes how international logging
companies are causing socialchaos and wreaking environmental havoc.
It also reveals how the WorldBank, by far the largest donor to the
DRC, is failing to stop thisdestruction whilst the rainforest is
being sold off under the illusionthat it will alleviate poverty in
one of the poorest countries on Earth.
Ourreport shows how, in spite of a moratorium on new logging
that has beenin place since 2002, over 15 million hectares of
rainforest have beengranted to the logging industry - that's an
area five times the size ofBelgium, and much of this is in areas
that are vital for protectingbiodiversity.
Taxes paid by the companies for the rights to logthe forest
should be going to local forest communities to provideessential
services that those of us in developed nations take forgranted like
education and healthcare. But even the World Bank admitsthat over
the last three years, not a single penny paid by the
loggingcompanies has reached local communities. This leaves these
people notonly without the forest that provided their food, shelter
and medicine,but without the benefits they had been promised.
Inexchange for timber worth hundreds of thousands of dollars,
loggingcompanies are also giving communities gifts such as bags of
salt andcrates of beer worth less than US$100, and make promises to
buildschools and hospitals.
These promises are rarely fulfilled andthere are reports that
intimidation tactics are used against people whotry to protest. We
have heard stories of people being pushed intosigning contracts
(of which we have copies), even if they can't readthe French in
which they are written.
Not only that, butcorruption is endemic and the local
authorities are inadequatelytrained and equipped to enforce the
law. Poorly paid officialssometimes have only a bicycle to help
them patrol vast areas ofrainforest, making it impossible to
control the industry.
Carving up the Congo - Natalia Truchi tells her story
NataliaTruchi visited the Congo in March 2007.
Greenpeace organisedthe expedition to givejournalists and
politicians a real insight intothe destruction and injusticerelated
to the logging industry in theDemocratic Republic of theCongo. This
is her story...View the story
Itsounds like bad news for the Congolese, but there is still
time toprevent the destruction of the rainforest and see that
alternativesolutions are developed which will really help to lift
the country outof poverty.
It's not too late to prevent the destruction of thisincredible
rainforest, and by putting pressure on the World Bank,that's
exactly what we intend to do.
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With your help, we can protect the Congo Rainforest.