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Joint Statement on the proposal to lift DRC's logging moratorium

12 November 2017

STATEMENT ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO HAS STARTED A PROCESS TO LIFT ITS MORATORIUM ON THE ALLOCATION OF NEW LOGGING CONCESSIONS.

Rainforest Foundation UK, Rainforest Foundation Norway, Global Witness, Greenpeace, Réseau des Ressources Naturelles, (RRN).

Bonn, 12 November, 2017: We are alarmed that, as it speaks at COP23 on behalf of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations on the importance of protecting its forests, the government of DRC has held a meeting in Kinshasa on 10 November to start a process that would lead to the destruction of large areas of the Congolese forest, in contravention of its own forestry laws and Presidential decree.

The meeting, convened by the Congolese Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, considered lifting the long-standing national moratorium on the allocation of new industrial logging concessions, which for some years has restrained DRC's chaotic and often illegal logging industry and helped to keep the country's forests relatively intact.

We are also concerned that the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development is proposing to give the rights to two million hectares of forest to an unknown company called Silvere in return for its financial support for the lifting of the moratorium.

An expansion of industrial logging following the lifting of the moratorium would unleash a tidal wave of environmental destruction, social abuses and corruption in the world's second largest tropical rainforest. It would also create a significant increase in carbon emissions, including from the recently discovered and extensive peat deposits which underlay many areas of DRC's forest.

This would make a mockery of efforts by the international community to improve forest governance in DRC, work with and fund the government of DRC to protect its forests and peat swamps, as well as DRC's leadership of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations.

We call on the DRC government to renounce its plans to move towards a lifting of its logging moratorium, to state that it will retain the moratorium, and to cancel and publish details of any agreement with Silvere. We encourage the international community to support the DRC government to immediately cancel the five million hectares of logging concessions in the country which are currently operating without management plans and are therefore illegal.

/Ends

CONTACTS:

In Bonn: Lars Løvold, Director, Rainforest Foundation Norway: lars@rainforest.no +47 481 88 148

In UK: Simon Counsell, Executive Director, Rainforest Foundation UK: simonc@rainforestuk.org  +44 (0)7949 559 969
Jo Blackman, Campaign Leader, Global Witness jblackman@globalwitness.org +44 (0)7912 517 126

In DRC: Jean-Marie Nkanda, Acting Coordinator, Réseau des Ressources Naturelles (RRN): jeanmarienkanda@gmail.com +243998316349 

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