The lifting of the moratorium could open some 70 million hectares to logging – an area roughly the size of France – and its impacts would be catastrophic. With or without a “sustainability” label, the logging of the Congo Basin is a nightmare for the rule of law and a constant threat to local people.
For millions of people who depend on the forest for their livelihoods, including Indigenous Peoples, selling it off to multinationals has meant land grabs, displacement and destitution. And bulldozing the rainforest will likely mean less rain.
The Congo Basin forest is estimated to contribute more than half of the annual precipitation in Sub-Saharan Africa, an area already facing a plethora of droughts and extreme heat waves.
One of the things the EU ambassadors the Minister is schmoozing ought to remind her is that no one appears to know exactly who these multinationals are.
Nearly six months after the launch of an EU-funded legal review of logging titles, the lead auditor reported this month that his team still hasn’t been able to pull together a list of titles… He hasn’t yet glimpsed a “so-called existing” list; what there is is “very incomplete.” Ève Bazaiba took her time to sign the team’s mission order, until two months after an intervention by the EU ambassador.
Over 40 Congolese and international NGOs are still waiting for a reply to their 23 September letter to donors, warning of the impending catastrophe.
In the letter they were told that lifting the moratorium in DRC, home to about 60 per cent of the Congo Basin forest, would remove the last shreds of credibility from COP15 on biodiversity in Kunming and from COP26 on climate in Glasgow.
The Congo Basin forest has more than 600 tree species and 10,000 animal species, including forest elephants, lowland gorillas, bonobos, and okapi. Its vegetation is estimated to contain between 25-30 billion tons of carbon, equivalent to about four years of global anthropogenic emissions of CO2. Increased logging might mean greater risk of yet another pandemic.
Source: Green Gold: Billion Dollar Question for Congo Rainforest | Inter Press Service