"The fact that titles that violated the Forest Code are now
being legalised sets a very dangerous precedent, giving little
incentive to companies to improve their track record in complying
with legal and regulatory obligations," said Michelle Medeiros,
Africa Forest Coordinator at Greenpeace International.
In a briefing paper published today, Greenpeace reveals
fundamental flaws in the legal review process  and warns that it could result in
more destructive logging. 
It shows how a lack of rigid criteria, the absence of reliable
information and a lack of transparency have created a process that
results in the probable laundering of illegally obtained or held
The Swiss-German SIFORCO (owned by Danzer Group) and
subsidiaries of the Portuguese NST Group stand out as the big
winners of the review. They have seen the majority of their titles
approved, including those titles obtained in breach of the 2002
moratorium and the forest code.
Greenpeace has documented the social conflicts, omnipresent in
these companies' concession areas. Violations of the rights of
local communities and indigenous peoples are the rule rather than
the exception. While promoting themselves as ready for
"sustainability certification" in order to secure their
predominantly European export markets, the companies are in fact
logging in intact forests and near biodiversity hotspots, exporting
high volumes of internationally protected tree species.
Endundo also announced an intention to extend the current
moratorium on the allocation of new logging concessions for another
"This is an unexpected announcement that gives us hope that we
will have the time to find alternatives to large-scale industrial
logging. Greenpeace welcomes this commitment, especially in an era
of climate change, when scientific evidence demands that we must
protect forests and not destroy them." said Medeiros. "However,
this moratorium is only the first step. Without additional efforts
to establish law enforcement and control on the ground, it will do
little to improve forest governance which is desperately needed
given the current state of the logging sector and the narrow scope
of the recent legal review."
Other contacts: Judith Verweijen, Africa Policy Advisor:
Mobile: +31 641304587
Michelle Medeiros, Africa Forest Coordinator:
Mobile: +31 646 162041
Notes:  The 2002 Forest Code introduced a new type of logging contract in the DRC: the forestry concession. According to its article 155, all existing logging titles must be converted into forestry concessions, provided they comply with the conditions set out in the Forest Code. In order to determine which of the existing contracts were eligible for conversion, the DR Government initiated a legal review.
 Logging Sector Briefing for the Democratic Republic of Congo: DRC logging review: The carving up of the Congo continues.
In "Conning the Congo", issued in July this year, Greenpeace had already outlined the weaknesses of a process that failed to address issues of fundamental importance such as tax evasion and non-compliance with fiscal regulations.
 A Presidential Decree (PD) of 2005 introduced the following three core criteria for the legal review of logging contracts: 1) the payment of area tax since 2003; 2) respect of permit limits; 3) the existence and continued operation of a processing. Crucial review aspects such as respect for social and environmental obligations have been almost completely ignored, even though they were listed as verification elements in article 4 of the 2005 PD. According to the World bank-financed Independent Observer to the review, none of these very limited criteria for the legality review could be properly verified, due to problems with data collection and due process. See the different reports of the Independent Observer at www.rdc-conversiontitresforestiers.org