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Congo to cancel logging deals to protect forests

Source:  Copyright 2007, Reuters
Date:  June 22, 2007
Byline:  Joe Bavier
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Congo is ready to cancel more than half its timber contracts to protect the world’s second biggest tropical forest but it wants more aid from foreign governments to help do so, the environment minister said.

Democratic Republic of Congo is carrying out a World Bank-sponsored review of 156 logging deals, most of them issued during the vast country’s 1998-2003 civil war and a subsequent three-year transitional government.

Congo issued a five-year moratorium on new logging contracts in 2002 in an effort to stem rampant deforestation aggravated by the conflict. That measure went largely unheeded and companies continued to sign new deals.

Around three million hectares (7.4 million acres) of illegal concessions have already been cancelled by Congo’s new government, which took office this year after historic post-war elections in 2006.

‘We have between 24 and 25 million hectares still held by individuals and ...

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