Congo logging contracts cancelled but forest still under threat

Posted by jamie — 21 January 2009 at 6:03pm - Comments

Logging in the Congo rainforest

© Stok/Greenpeace

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has, at long last, completed a review of the logging industry. Although there are some positive results, at the same time it has allowed an expansion of the industry to more than twice the recommended size.

Back in October last year, the government announced the results of a three-year review of logging contracts that had been issued. Logging companies which had contracts cancelled were then allowed to appeal against the decisions and this week's announcement is the final result of that process.

Protect the Congo's forests says Greenpeace DRC

Posted by jossc — 24 November 2008 at 4:28pm - Comments

Arctic Sunrise arriving at the DRC port of Matadi

Arctic Sunrise arriving at the DRC port of Matadi

Today we're celebrating the opening of a new Greenpeace office in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hurrah! We marked the occasion by inviting Congolese officials aboard the Arctic Sunrise, which is currently docked in Matadi, the country's principal port for timber exports.

This is a crucial time for the Congo rainforest, the world's second largest, as the DRC's government is the final stages of reviewing over 150 land titles, which cover millions of hectares of forest. While a number of titles were recently rejected by the government, the current 'appeals process' could see many of them returned to their former owners, the logging companies. The logging industry is using the present economic downturn to pressurise the govrnment to allow them to keep hold of (and exploit) what effectively amounts to millions of hectares of forest, and carry on business as usual.

World Bank ditches shares in Congo-trashing company

Posted by jamie — 10 December 2007 at 6:20pm - Comments

Forest canopy in the Congo rainforest

There have been some great developments around our Congo rainforest campaign, as the FT reported on its website this morning that one of the arms of the World Bank will offload the shares it owns in a company known to be destroying the forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has announced that it will divest its holdings in Olam International, a Singapore-based company which has operations in the DRC. The Congo report we released earlier this year showed how Olam was holding forest land granted in breach of the current moratorium which the World Bank itself helped establish and that it was also trading in dodgy timber. As a result, Olam has since given back its forest holdings to the DRC government, but it still buys illegal timber cut by local companies.

How the World Bank and HSBC are investing in deforestation

Posted by jamie — 29 August 2007 at 2:53pm - Comments

Timber being sawn up in Bandundu province, DRC

Back in April, at the World Bank's spring meeting, there was much talk about the plight of the Congo rainforest. We'd just published a big report detailing how in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) logging titles were being granted in breach of a moratorium that the bank had been instrumental in establishing. The report launch was so high profile, we were able to force DRC's rainforest high onto the agenda of the World Bank meeting and have also managed to secure another session at the upcoming autumn meeting.

Congo timber ship blocked

Posted by jamie — 6 July 2007 at 3:16pm - Comments

Greenpeace volunteers climb a crane at La Rochelle port in France

Right now, a group of Greenpeace climbers are perched on top of a set of cranes in the port of La Rochelle on the French Atlantic coast. They've been there since Wednesday night and as well as admiring a no-doubt magnificent view, they're also preventing a ship unloading its cargo of timber which has come from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Gorillas in their midst

Posted by jamie — 6 June 2007 at 5:23pm - Comments

The BBC have published a gallery of images focusing on the work of the rangers in Virunga National Park. Found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it's the oldest reserve in Africa and home to the DRC's remaining mountain gorillas.

Documentary evidence from the Congo

Posted by jamie — 30 May 2007 at 12:26pm - Comments

If the testimonies of our two Congolese visitors weren't enough to convince you that there's trouble of the arboreal variety brewing in the Democratic Republic of Congo, try this film for size.

Caterpillars and contracts: first-hand reports from the Congo rainforest

Posted by jamie — 21 May 2007 at 5:12pm - Comments
Adrien Sinafasi Makelo (left) and René Ngongo (right) address the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes Region of Africa

Adrien Sinafasi Makelo (left) and René Ngongo (right) address MPs, civil servants and campaigners

On Thursday, I found myself at Portcullis House, an imposing edifice that sits across the road from the main Houses of Parliament building. The occasion was a panel discussion hosted by Greenpeace and (deep breath) the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Great Lakes Region of Africa, to discuss the crisis in the Congo rainforest. As the name suggests, it's a collective of MPs from all parties with a special interest in that part of the world who try to make sure issues affecting the region remain on the political agenda.

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