Cleaning up the Congo.
When DR Congo opened up an area the size of Belgium to logging in 2018, violating a forest protection agreement with international donors, it was blamed on a “rogue” environment minister.
Now there is a new environment minister, same problem. Claude Nyamugabo secretly awarded logging concessions, covering nearly three million hectares in 2020, to two Chinese companies and a Congolese firm better known for industrial cleaning services.
Green groups are suing the minister, saying the contracts breach the country’s own 2002 moratorium on new forestry concessions – which the environment ministry denies.
As the world’s second largest rainforest, the Congolese forest is a major carbon sink and multiple international donors are invested in keeping that carbon locked up, primarily through the Central African Forest Initiative (Cafi).
These revelations come as Cafi is negotiating a renewed deal with the government to run until 2030.
19 February 2021
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