The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of natural wealth, yet among the poorest in terms of GDP. Forests blanket 60% of the country.
Following decades of mismanagement and two civil wars, the DRC is taking steps to promote sustainable forest management. In 2005, with World Bank financing, the government launched a process to review and convert old logging titles into forest concessions aligned with the country’s new forest code.
Pierre Methot directed WRI's forestry work in Central Africa in 2009. He explains WRI’s role, “Acting as the international independent observer, alongside our Belgian partner AGRECO, we designed the review methodology, provided technical support, and ensured compliance with the law. We insisted the process and results be made publicly available and that local and indigenous populations be involved.”
Of 156 logging titles reviewed, only 65 were deemed legal for new concessions. The remaining titles – 12 million hectares of rainforest – were set for cancellation.
“Protecting hectares is important,” says Methot, “but more importantly, this process was transparent and involved multiple stakeholders – a first for the DRC. It sets the groundwork for an accountable approach to forest and natural resource management.”
See our current work on this topic: Congo Basin Forest Atalses