DR Congo to cancel two-thirds of logging contracts due to corruption
October 8, 2008
Democratic Republic of Congo will cancel more than two-thirds of its logging contracts due to under a World Bank-back initiative to reduce corruption in the forestry sector, according to the Central African country’s environment minister.
As reported by Reuters, Environment Minister Jose Endundu told journalists Monday that DRC would likely cancel 110 out 156 logging contracts signed mostly during the country’s civil war (1998-2003) or under the corrupt regime that followed. Companies will have 15 days to appeal.
Three companies — a subsidiary of Germany’s Danzer Group; Portugal’s Sodefor; and Safbois, an American-Belgian conglomerate — are reported to account for two-thirds of concessions in the country.
Congo rainforest logs being transported on a raft in Gabon
DRC is home to the bulk of the Congo Basin forest, the world’s second largest rainforest after the Amazon, but the region has been plagued by illegal logging in recent years.
Endundu said that while the cancellation of logging contracts will reduce the area under concession from 22 million hectares to seven million, annual timber exports could climb from 200,000 cubic meters to 700,000 cubic meters.
DR Congo is also looking to expand the area of forest under protection, for which it hopes to secure compensation through emerging markets for forest carbon.