Central Africa: 22,000 Sign Petition to Save Congo Forest

by Jun 5, 2012Forest, Habitat News

The Congo basin is home to the world’s second largest rainforest. Not only is it one of the most beautiful places on earth, with incredibly rich biodiversity, it’s also a vital source of food, medicine, and other basic services for more than 40 million Congolese people. The forest is now facing a serious threat.

Having been granted a licence intended only for artisinal loggers of Congolese nationality, foreign industrial operations are devastating massive areas of the rainforest.

Responding to the threat, 22,611 Congolese people have now signed a petition that we are presenting to the Congolese Prime Minister today.

The petition calls for the existing moratorium on new industrial logging licenses to be reinforced, and pushes for the cancellation of all illegal artisanal licenses.

“Enough is enough!” shout those who’ve signed the petition. The new Congolese government must take action to reinforce the existing moratorium. People have signed this petition to express their frustration about the uncontrolled destruction of their forest – their livelihoods and ancestral heritage.

Since the Congolese government first decided to suspend the granting of new industrial logging concessions civil society has not seen noticeable improvements – in fact things seem to be getting worse: logging operations aren’t being overseen or controlled, and the forest administration seems to be complicit in the scandal.

Communities are outraged as they witness the destruction caused by so-called artisanal loggers who are wielding chainsaws on an industrial scale. Unfortunately this abuse of licenses is not confined to one area, but has been recorded throughout the three great forest provinces and in the whole Congolese territory.

The pace of operations, the amount of timber being removed without any record, and the enormous confusion in the awarding of logging licenses – all this is having a direct impact on the forest itself and the communities who depend on it.

We are hoping that because of the petition, the Prime Minister will realise the tragedy that is unfolding in front of him. He must do what is right and ensure the forest is protected from illegal logging operations that would otherwise happily see the whole rainforest cut down.