One year after the publication of the Greenpeace report on the situation of Africa logging in the DRC, and the entry into force of European Union Timber Regulation( EUTR ), the Congolese forest sector remains in a state of organized chaos and continues to drive the market for illegal timber in Europe. This is indicated by Greenpeace Africa in a statement.
It’s exactly one year since Greenpeace Africa has published the report " Cut! Illegal logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo - a worst case scenario." Compiled on the basis of research and field visits, the report outlines the devastating effects of poor governance, enforcement and transparency, the second largest rainforest in the world and the people who depend on.
The publication of the report coincided with the entry into force of EUTR which prohibits the import of illegal timber and products on the market in the European Union.
A year later, despite this legislation and limited progress, the organized chaos continues in full swing in the area. Some logging companies continue to operate illegally , bypass the moratorium on the allocation of industrial exploitation permitted by the illegal use of artisanal permits, and even use violence against local communities.
The logging companies continue to flout Congolese law and the communities forest rights with impunity. The forest sector in DRC continues to elude any surveillance, several cases of illegalities were identified and exposed by Greenpeace Africa, some with violations of human rights.
Moreover, strictly applied by EU governments, the EUTR could contribute to the fight against illegal logging trade in the DRC as well as in Europe. Unfortunately, many cases of illegal wood from the DRC found on the European market were exposed by Greenpeace and its partners over the past 12 months.
The most recent case is that of January, when Greenpeace France filed a complaint under EUTR after they exposed a lot of logs belonging to company Sicobois. The lot found in the port of Caen is suspected of being illegal. The results of the field research released today by Greenpeace Africa show that not only the company operates illegally but it is directly and repeatedly linked to violent social conflict in its logging concessions in Equateur province .
The enactment of EUTR in itself is a good initiative, but the first year of its implementation has shown that governments and authorities really need to ensure that the law is properly and strictly enforced.
The protection of the forests of the Congo Basin demand correlation efforts of several actors. The DRC government must strengthen the moratorium, put in place a grid of legality for wood, and strengthen governance and anti-corruption measures. European governments must make the application of EUTR a priority by strengthening its operational mechanisms and allocating means and resources necessary for its implementation. Businesses in Europe must comply with the law and ban illegal timber from their supply chain.