Green groups urge DR Congo to keep forest moratorium

March 3, 2016
A photo from 2007 by Greenpeace to promote their Congo report shows a log park in Madjoko, Bandundu, Democratic Republic of Cong
A photo from 2007 by Greenpeace to promote their Congo report shows a log park in Madjoko, Bandundu, Democratic Republic of Congo

A coalition of environmental campaign groups on Wednesday urged the Democratic Republic of Congo to maintain its moratorium on new logging licences to protect its tropical rainforest.

The campaigners warned that an area of rainforest twice the size of France was at risk of being cut down if Congo goes ahead with plans to lift the ban on new logging licences, in place since 2002.

The 12 organisations said Congo's Environment Minister Robert Bopolo had recently announced that steps were being taken to lift the moratorium.

Bopolo confirmed to AFP the government's intention to look at the issue in the interests of boosting the country's finances.

"It is on our agenda, we must debate it, it's among our concerns," he said.

The campaigners accused Kinshasa of backsliding on commitments it made at last year's UN in Paris.

"At a time when the global community is working together to protect the world's last rainforests, a vital defence against climate change, the DR Congo government seems to be undermining the commitment to reducing emissions that it presented in Paris," Lars Lovold of Rainforest Foundation Norway, part of the coalition, said.

In 2002, the Congolese government launched a process to convert existing logging rights into concessions and impose a temporary freeze on further concessions. The aim was to bring order to the sector and cut down the of precious timber.

Five times the size of France, DR Congo is home to more than 60 percent of the dense forests of the Congo basin, the world's second largest , after the Amazon.

Illegal logging is a major problem in many developing countries including Congo, where poverty and decades of instability have put enormous pressure on natural resources.

Explore further: NGOs call for oil drilling ban at Africa's Virunga wildlife park

Related Stories

Indonesia extends landmark logging moratorium

May 14, 2015

Indonesia has extended a landmark moratorium aimed at preserving the archipelago's vast swathes of tropical rainforest, but environmentalists said on Thursday the logging ban did not go far enough.

Illegal logging 'ravaging DR Congo forests'

June 3, 2013

Multinational companies are profiting hand over fist from abusive forestry practices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where illegal logging, mislabelled timber and false permits are widespread, according to several non-governmental ...

Recommended for you

'Smoke rings' in the ocean spotted from space

December 11, 2017

Researchers from the University of Liverpool have spotted the equivalent of smoke-rings in the ocean which they think could 'suck-up' small marine creatures and carry them at high speed and for long distances across the ocean.

Scientists capture Earth's 'hum' on ocean floor

December 7, 2017

Scientists have long known earthquakes can cause the Earth to vibrate for extended periods of time. However, in 1998 a research team found the Earth also constantly generates a low-frequency vibrational signal in the absence ...

Birth of a storm in the Arabian Sea validates climate model

December 6, 2017

Researchers from Princeton University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report in the journal Nature Climate Change that extreme cyclones that formed in the Arabian Sea for the first time in 2014 ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.