Chewing over the Congo with the World Bank

Posted by jamie — 19 April 2007 at 1:43pm - Comments
Okapi are unique to the Congo rainforest

Our report on the con in the Congo really did catch the attention of the World Bank. They were referenced many, many times in its pages and have taken a keen interest in what we have to say about their role in the destruction of the African rainforest at the hands of the international logging companies.

Such is their interest that a special event was held at the spring meeting in Washington DC last weekend - even though it was in the offing before we released the report, it wasn't on the official agenda and was held as a direct result of the work done by ourselves and other organisations, both globally and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over the last few weeks.

Despite the present furore surrounding his recruitment policies, Paul Wolfowitz (head of the World Bank) spoke to the attendees and made clear the bank's intention to get the Congo rainforest onto the agenda for the G8 summit in June. Climate change is already going to be big news at the summit and with forests having such a massive impact on climate regulation, the Congo could be a hot topic.

There were also presentations from the Congolese foreign minister and minister of finance, followed by our own campaigners and those from Global Witness who by all accounts made quite an impact.

Sadly, there wasn't a spontaneous agreement to immediately stop all logging in the DRC that is in breach of the current moratorium, but then no one was expecting that. The more realistic goal of spotlighting the role of the World Bank was achieved - all we have to do now is make them do something about it.

Our own Hilary Benn MP was at the meeting and has a great deal of influence at the World Bank. Even though the meeting is over, you can still send an email to let him know why the Congo rainforest should be protected. He's already received a few thousand emails but a few more won't do any harm.

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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