The tropical forests of the Congo Basin are home to nearly 1 million indigenous people. After thousands of years of survival, deforestation is perhaps their biggest challenge yet. On International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, FRANCE 24 takes a closer look at what’s being done to help.
Russian mercenaries with close ties to President Vladimir Putin and a logging contractor exposed for funding African rebels help feed a barely-regulated European timber rush in one of the world’s poorest and most fragile countries, according to a new report by Earthsight.
New evidence shows that an obscure company reportedly controlled by the Russian Wagner paramilitary group supplied timber to European consumers. The trade embroils a firm listed on London’s AIM stock exchange that was part of a national delegation at the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow.
Drawing from Center fro Africa Strategic Stiudies recent report, which is based on recent research and programmatic work at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, we have analyzed three ways that illegal logging affects national security and what that means for current measures to counter it.
According to Global Forest Watch, the CAR alone lost 193,000 hectares (475,000 acres) of primary rainforest between 2001 and 2021 — more than a fifth of total forest cover.
The impact is all too evident at Mbata, where the first logging companies arrived in the early 1980’s.
The Akas had already been uprooted from the heart of the forest in the Lobaye region and installed in areas closer to roads, under a policy imposed in the 1940s by the CAR’s colonial power, France.
Commercial logging, together with illicit wood cutting by individuals, has gnawed away at what they have left.
This overview report assesses the region’s progress in developing timber traceability systems to reduce additional pressures from over-exploitation due to corruption, insufficient accountability, and illegal logging. It examples how Tanzania’s established timber traceability system may offer valuable lessons to guide Congo Basin countries in a stepwise process to overcome complex models, gain political buy-in and secure government ownership.
Officials say most member states in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC, have failed to honor a ban on raw timber exports that was enacted last year to conserve forests and create jobs by locally processing wood.
The six member countries of the Central African bloc agreed to ban raw timber exports starting in January 2022. The ban is aimed partially at combating climate change by protecting forests from excessive logging.
However, an online meeting of CEMAC forestry and finance ministers Thursday found that only Gabon and the Republic of Congo have suspended the timber exports to China and other Asian countries. Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad and Equatorial Guinea have not.
The deadline for implementing the ban was initially pushed back to January 2023 to give the CEMAC countries more time to comply. Motaze suggested the bloc push back the deadline again to 2025 so countries have more time to invest in wood processing equipment and in training workers.
In Central Africa, the ban on the export of logs will no longer take effect from 1 January 2022. The entry into force of this measure has been postponed to an unspecified date. This was the outcome of the 38th ordinary session of the Council of Ministers of the Economic Union of Central Africa (UEAC), which ended on 28 October 2022 in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
This is a retropalent for the countries of the Economic Union of Central Africa (UEAC). The entry into force of the ban on timber exports in the form of logs, which was set for 1 January 2023, has been postponed to a date yet to be determined.
A recent report by European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), a transnational investigative journalism project, claims that the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary group with close links to the regime of Vladimir Putin and active in the Ukraine war, is engaged in the forestry business in the Central African Republic (CAR).
Wagner, which is reputed to be run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch and close confidante of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has long been reported to offer private security services to African partners – among them the CAR, Mali, and Sudan – in return for exclusive rights to gold and diamond mining in strategic areas.
However, All Eyes on Wagner says that Wagner’s interests also extend to the forestry trade in the CAR.
An investigation reveals evidence linking the Wagner group, a group of Russian mercenaries, with a timber concession in the Central African Republic
In view of the entry into force, from January 1 2023, of the measure prohibiting the export of logs in the six CEMAC countries (Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Chad, CAR and Equatorial Guinea), a workshop devoted to the validation of the regional guidelines for taxation and forest certification is currently being held in Libreville.
Click here to access the Global Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (ILAT) Risk assessment tool and to download the Forest Trends User Guide describing the functionality of the ILAT Risk Data Tool.
Click here to access the Cattle Data Tool.