Kinshasa, October 25, 2021 – A week after the decision of the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Félix Tshisekedi, ordering the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Environment, Ms. Eve Bazaiba, to suspend any “dubious” forest concession, the minister defies his order. On Friday’s Council of Ministers, she applied the order strictly to the Tradelink concessions.
However, President Tshisekedi’s order of October 15 was clear. It covered all the illegal concessions denounced by Congolese civil society for months. On October 20, the CODELT and the Network of Civil Society Organizations for the Green Economy in Central Africa (ROSCEVAC) published a list of 22 forest concessions, illegally allocated in 2020 by former minister Claude Nyamugabo. This is an absolute minimum to be suspended and subsequently cancelled, pending further examination. Other concessions may still have not been discovered. Indeed, as Greenpeace Africa recently recalled, the three conservation concessions awarded to Ets. Buhendwa, whose existence was revealed this summer, are numbered 62 to 64 …
Although huge in area, Tradelink concessions represent only a part of the 4,607,420 hectares listed by civil society.
“The ecological activism of President Tshisekedi on the eve of the COP26 leaves one dreaming. As for the Minister of the Environment, the minimalist interpretation of the order she received a week ago is not surprising,” said Serge Sabin Ngwato, forest campaigner at Greenpeace Africa.
In fact the audit commissioned by President Tshisekedi on October 15 is not the only one and it is not the first one. There has been an audit funded by the EU, as well as one carried out since last year by the Congolese General Inspectorate of Finance. Donor governments wanted it to be released before the end of this year, but they seem to have given in on this requirement. Greenpeace Africa firmly denounces this draft decree and calls for the immediate publication of the title audit conducted by the IGF in 2020. Its non-publication so far is an insult to the Congolese public, tired by the fine words of the government and its funders.
“We ask the Deputy Prime Minister to immediately add to her decree all the concessions on the CODELT / ROSCEVAC list, pending its update ”, adds Mr. Ngwato.
Regarding the Tradelink contracts, Greenpeace Africa is awaiting their outright cancellation, as well as the opening of a judicial inquiry to establish how they could have been awarded and remain in force for more than a year.
All this hasty improvisation, on the eve of COP26, seems to have a very specific motivation: to get donors to align themselves with the announced lifting of the moratorium on the allocation of new forest concessions. The moratorium must remain, and be strengthened.
Media and Communications Consultant for Greenpeace Africa,