letter to the Inter-Donor Group on Environment and Climate (GIBEC)
22 March 2023
Representatives and affiliates of the Inter-Donor Group on Environment and Climate (GIBEC) 21 March 2023 Subject: The risk of a pre-election resource grab to forest reform efforts in DRC As Congolese and international environmental and human rights NGOs working in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we are writing to share our concerns about a possible sell-off of forests, carbon rights and sub-soil. [...] The legal review and threat to the logging moratorium: Further to the Congolese civil society network GTCRR’s position note of March 8 about declining environmental governance in DR Congo1, we wish to expand on two of the issues raised: the use of an opaque Ministry-run commission to carry out the preliminary legal review of industrial logging and conservation titles and the related threat this po. [...] On the face of it, the Ministry’s legal review of 82 logging and conservation contracts fulfils certain requirements of the CAFI LoI aimed at bringing the forest sector under control.2 Its preliminary findings are also broadly consistent with our own long-held view that most concessions in the country are illegal and should therefore be cancelled and returned to the state.3 However, rather than cl. [...] The absence of a clear and transparent methodology for determining the legality of the concessions, the deliberate exclusion of civil society experts from the commission and the hasty submission of the results to the Council of Ministers all appear designed to avoid proper scrutiny of the process and to fast track the reallocation of these areas. [...] The oil and gas auction: Another major issue to highlight is the ongoing auction of 30 oil and gas blocks in DRC covering tens of millions of hectares of forest including the carbon-rich Cuvette Centrale peatlands, several protected areas and the lands of thousands of local and indigenous communities.6 The auction is clearly flouting several national laws and procedures in place to protect the env.