“Commercial logging, even if it is only selected types of wood, is often the beginning of an irreversible process that ends with the complete deforestation of the forest,” the letter reads. It recommends suspending financial assistance to Congolese government agencies involved in forest protection. The signatories include experts from the Congo, South Africa, Britain and the Netherlands.
Mining permit, but export ban
Professor Corneille Ewango Ekokinya from the University of Kisangani, Congo, said the Congolese government must first establish clear forest management rules. “It simply came to our notice then. The sector needs to be prepared first, “he said.
Bazaiba believes the moratorium is ineffective because illegal felling continues.
The European Union envoy to the Congo agreed with the government’s plan and recently said he saw it as part of an effort to restore forest control. Environmentalists did not raise any major objections to the plan either.
Guy Kajemba, the Congolese national climate group’s coordinator, said in a radio response last week that the moratorium should be lifted as the government prepares for broader regulation. “We need to focus on good forest management. With or without a moratorium, “Kajemba said.
Bazaiba also announced on Friday that the Congo plans to ban all timber exports and introduce other measures that will help protect the rainforest. However, the minister did not tell journalists when the export should stop. “Thanks to this, we will enable not only natural regeneration, but also the afforestation program that we share with our technical, financial and development partners,” said Bazaiba.