World Bank to Carve Up Congo’s Rainforests
The World Bank is stealthily seeking to increase logging by sixty times in the world's second largest intact rainforests, much of which are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Internal World Bank documents obtained by the Rainforest Foundation reveal that the bank, together with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), intends to “create a favorable climate for industrial logging” by supporting the development of comprehensive new forestry laws in the Congo, as well as the 'zoning' of the country's entire forest area. More than 100 environment, development, and human rights groups in the Congo have called on the World Bank to stop these plans, and Forests.org asks you to do likewise above.
A sixty-fold increase in logging! First time logging of tens of millions of hectares of Congo's rainforest – harvesting millions of years of evolutionary history with unmatched ecological brilliance to make consumer products for the rich – all
facilitated with your tax dollars, contributions to large environmental groups (see below) and consumer choices.
There is no longer any doubt regarding the basis of the World Bank's interest in “rainforest conservation”. Their flowery sustainable forestry rhetoric found in their recently revamped forest sector policy and elsewhere provides cover for efforts by the global economic growth machine to gain access to the World's remaining ancient forests. According to the World Bank and their environmental apologists, multi-national corporations logging the World's remaining large primary forests is forest conservation. Such polices are the result of ancient advisors preaching dated and failed conservation dogma. Hello?! Anyone at the bank that matters heard of conservation biology or landscape ecology?
The role of corporate conservation conglomerates acting as commercial logging apologists for the World Bank must be noted. The World Wildlife Fund and Wildlife Conservation Society are providing cover for the World Bank's assault on ancient forests – resulting in more extinction, ecosystem collapse and indigenous human rights violations – not less. They are greenwashing the final demise of wild rainforests from the Earth for a few bucks from da man.
Forests.org calls upon all environmental groups to clarify their positions regarding industrial scale logging in the World's remaining primary forests. Those that support expansion of commercial logging in ancient forests, take money from the World Bank while it seeks to increase such logging, or are agnostic on the question, deserve to be boycotted as assuredly as the timber companies doing the actual harvesting. Even dark green groups such as Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace must realize you can not have it both ways – seeking protection of ancient forests while supporting certified commercial logging in primary forests.
It is time to choose sides and espouse a consistent forest conservation vision. I would suggest forest conservation advocacy should focus upon strict protection of most primary forests, restoration of adjoining areas, and small scale community based eco-forestry where logging is a social requirement.
Please call on the World Bank to immediately halt plans for the expansion of industrial logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Insist that instead they support the strengthening of the rights of people living in the forest, and to ensure that strict safeguards are put in place to protect the forest and environment, or else cease their activities in the forest sector worldwide. Please use the background materials below to organize your own campaigns, and sign the Rainforest Foundation's petition.