Pitfalls and Promises of Congo’s new forest Eldorado – Fern

Logging and conservation projects have spurred rapid development in the Sangha forest region of the Congo. But what’s the human and environmental cost? Laudes Martial Mbon travels to the depths of the Congo Basin rainforest to investigate.

"It is clear then, that outside Pokola, the conservation and logging projects which represent a ‘forest Eldorado’ for some, are negatively impacting the lives of many. The wealth they are generating is not trickling down. What’s more, when it comes to forest protection, the trees are standing - but peoples’ livelihoods, traditions, habitats and culture are being trashed."

Sangha Department, Republic of Congo. Pokola lies 800 kilometres north of Congo’s capital, Brazzaville, on the left bank of a bend in the vast Sangha River.

Before Congo’s independence in 1960, the town was a small, isolated fishing village. Most outsiders knew little of it, or of the Sangha region itself - other than that it was covered by dense primary forest, and winding streams.  

Today Pokola’s population numbers 13,000. It’s a place of modern buildings, including a hospital and a school, with internet and free electricity for the entire population, and a distinctly multicultural flavour, as Angolans, Rwandans, Cameroonians and other émigrés mingle with locals.

The driver for this startling transformation is visible through the airplane window on the flight there: forest canopies broken up with heavy, industrial skidding tracks used for transporting logs.

Forests covers 60% of the Congo, which is one of Africa’s most sparsely populated countries, and timber is the country’s second biggest export, after oil. Pokola is a vital hub in this industry: it is home to the headquarters of Congolaise Industrielle Des Bois (CIB), a subsidiary of Singapore’s Olam Group, which manages 2.1 million hectares of Congolese forest, and is considered as the jewel in the company’s crown.

In some ways, CIB’s operations in Pokola represent a model of development for other forestry companies, and it’s no surprise that some local civil society groups want it adopted nationally. But behind this story of economic boom, lies another more complex and cautionary tale: one which holds valuable lessons for logging and conservation projects across Africa.  

Find out more...

Go back

Partners News

Legality in Europe and China: Last actions to the support of the application of the EUTR and the pursuit of the collaboration between ATIBT / GGSC / CTWPDA

Here are some key elements on the update of the EUTR (European Timber Regulation) through the action of the European Union and EU member States to ensure its proper application, as well as an overview of the new Chinese forest law.

In Interim UN75 Report, One Million Respondents Unified on Natural Environment, Diversity and Inequalities – IISD

The Office on the Commemoration of the UN’s 75th Anniversary issued an update on the results of a global consultation on people’s fears and hopes for the future, on which respondents are “remarkably unified” across the world. Since January 2020, over one million respondents have participated, covering all UN Member States and Observer States.

Germany wants to make the DRC the first country to supply hydrogen to the European Union (Minister of State Guillaume Manjolo) – Politico

Guillaume Manjolo recalled that Germany already supported the DRC in the years 1972 and 1982, in the construction of the Inga 1 site. Germany is coming back this time with an important dimension of strategy for the development of the energy sector in the DRC.

Marie Thérèse Chantal Mfoula is the new commissioner in charge of Spatial Planning and Infrastructure at the Economic Commission for Central African States!

At the invitation of His Excellency Ali BONGO ONDIMBA, President of the Gabonese Republic, current President of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the XVllth Ordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government was held on 30 July, 2020 by videoconference

Final Communiqué of the Extraordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the Central African Forest Commission of 20 August 2020 by Videoconference.

At the invitation of Mr. Jules Doret NDONGO, Cameroon Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, current President of the Council of Ministers in charge of Forestry and/or Environment of COMIFAC member countries was held on 20 August 2020 by videoconference.

What the CBD's latest Global Biodiversity Outlook is telling us about the state of the planet

This week saw the launch of the 5th edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-5), the flagship publication of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It is a periodic report that summarises the latest data on the status and trends of biodiversity and draws conclusions relevant to the further implementation of the Convention.

Effective management of transboundary protected areas - BIOPAMA

The experience of the BSB Yamoussa Binational Complex with the use of the Integrated Management Effectiveness tool. An integrated vision of the BSB Yamoussa Binational Complex, consisting of the parks of Bouba Ndjidda, in Cameroon, and Sena Oura, in Chad, fol-lowed by a critical analysis of the state of the sites, allowed effi   nition of tai-lor-made interventions.

EU and UK launch consultations on policies to reduce deforestation in supply chains – Fern

Following its  Communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests in 2019, the European Commission has finally opened a questionnaire-based consultation on policies needed to reduce deforestation and forest degradation associated with EU consumption of forest-risk commodities.

2nd 2020 IFED ONLINE TRAINING - MFE 212 : REDD++ - Payments for Environmental Services (PES)

This online course organized by IFED in partnership with Queen's University of Canada will be delivered by high level lecturers. Professionals with positive experiences on REDD++ management and PES will also share their experiences you learners. Please also see hereafter the poster which summarizes the articulations of this training that scheduled from 05 to 09 October 2020.

Forests and Finance - The banks and investors exposed to deforestation risks in Southeast Asia, Central and West Africa and in Brazil.

Top 10 Lenders & Underwriters (2016-2020 April): See the 10 banks and investors with the highest financial exposure in loans and underwriting to forest-risk sector companies in Southeast Asia, Central and West Africa and Brazil. These findings are based on research carried out by forestsandfinance.org using this methodology to identify corporate loans, credit and underwriting facilities provided to the selected companies.

Global and African Leaders Welcome Launch of GCA Africa as “Historic Moment to Accelerate Adaptation” on the Continent – AFDB

The Global Center on Adaptation today announced the launch of its regional office in Côte d’Ivoire. Hosted by the African Development Bank at its headquarters in the Ivorian capital Abidjan, GCA Africa will work with partners across the continent to scale and accelerate adaptation action that protects African communities from the impacts of climate change.

RFUK: PRESS RELEASE: UN plan to protect 30 percent of the planet by 2030 could displace hundreds of millions, NGOs and experts warn

One hundred twenty-eight environmental and human rights NGOs and experts today warn that a United Nations drive to increase global protected areas such as national parks could lead to severe human rights violations and cause irreversible social harm for some of the world’s poorest people.

Bending the curve of terrestrial biodiversity needs an integrated Bending the curve of terrestrial biodiversity needs an integrated strategy – Nature

Increased efforts are required to prevent further losses to terrestrial biodiversity and the ecosystem services that it provides1,2. Ambitious targets have been proposed, such as reversing the declining trends in biodiversity3; however, just feeding the growing human population will make this a challenge4.

Using Integrated Landscape Management to scale Agroforestry: Examples from Ecuador – Ecoagriculture

Already in the late 1970s, EcoAgriculture Partners´ Sara Scherr and Louise Buck experienced the promise that agroforestry holds: improving livelihood security for smallholders, especially women and children. As they were working with the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry’ (ICRAF) in Kenya, they were studying and promoting agroforestry as an approach to farming that integrates production and conservation functions.

ATIBT News du 04/09/2020

To read: WFC 2021 in Seoul : Building a green, healthy and resilient future with forests; Gabon : Inauguration of the new Precious Woods CEB factory by Minister Lee White; Important update - Study Overview of the private sector in the Republic of Congo…

UNGA goes virtual — register now for Uniting Business LIVE

There is less than a month to go before the UN General Assembly High-Level week which will, for the first time in history, be largely online. The UN Global Compact is inviting our entire network to attend Uniting Business LIVE, an online gathering of global business and sustainability leaders on the sidelines of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly from 21–23 September.

ATIBT News 28/08/2020

To read : Implementation of FLEGT REDD CERTIFICATION project activities in the DRC; Continuation of TRACER-DR project Communication in Gabon with FRMI and BRAINFOREST; ATIBT publishes its study on the impact of COVID-19 on the forest sector in the Republic of Congo…

Artisanal Shark Trade in the Republic of the Congo – Traffic

Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, 17th August 2020—Congolese artisanal fishers are increasingly turning to shark fishing because of increased scarcity of other stocks overfished by industrial fisheries: urgent legislative and management improvements are needed to prevent a collapse of shark fishing and protect local livelihoods finds a new TRAFFIC report.