As of January 2019, 24 industrial logging concession contracts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), amounting to 4,5 million hectares, are null and void, because their concessionaires failed to obtain approval of their management plan within the legal deadline, or didn’t file a management plan at all. The law fixes the deadline at four years after signature of the concession contract, although an additional year can be granted upon request. Since the expiry, in 2016 and 2017, of the deadlines for the concession contracts signed in 2011 and 2012, only nine concessions appear to have been returned to the state.
For the year 2018, then Environment Minister Amy Ambatobe issued logging permits for at least eight of the 24 concessions which should have been returned to the state in 2016. Returning to the state by 1 January 2019 all concessions without a management plan was set as a milestone of a 2016 agreement between the DRC and the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), a Norway-led international donor coalition. By agreeing to this extended deadline, CAFI condoned illegal logging and contributed to further undermining the rule of law in the DRC. Worse, three months after the unlawful CAFI deadline expired, 24 concessions without a management plan have still not been returned to the state. Greenpeace Africa calls upon the DRC’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development to immediately issue a decree to do so.
Read the report here: Brief English