The World Bank encouraged foreign companies to destructively log the world's
second largest forest, endangering the lives of thousands of Congolese Pygmies,
according to a report on an internal investigation by senior bank staff and
outside experts. The report by the independent inspection panel, seen by the
Guardian, also accuses the bank of misleading Congo's government about the value
of its forests and of breaking its own rules.
Congo's rainforests are the second largest in the world after the Amazon,
locking nearly 8% of the planet's carbon and having some of its richest
biodiversity. Nearly 40 million people depend on the forests for medicines,
shelter, timber and food.
The report into the bank's activities in Democratic Republic of Congo since 2002
follows complaints made two years ago by an alliance of 12 Pygmy groups. The
groups claimed that the bank-backed system of awarding vast logging concessions
to companies to ...