News / Africa

Breakthrough Agreement Will Combat Illegal Timber Trade in Congo

The Dzanga-Ndoki National Park and Dzanga-Sangha dense forest special reserve are located in the rainforest in the south-western part of the Central African Republic, Congo Basin. They comprise a total area of more than 4 000 km2 (more than 400 000 hectarThe Dzanga-Ndoki National Park and Dzanga-Sangha dense forest special reserve are located in the rainforest in the south-western part of the Central African Republic, Congo Basin. They comprise a total area of more than 4 000 km2 (more than 400 000 hectar
x
The Dzanga-Ndoki National Park and Dzanga-Sangha dense forest special reserve are located in the rainforest in the south-western part of the Central African Republic, Congo Basin. They comprise a total area of more than 4 000 km2 (more than 400 000 hectar
The Dzanga-Ndoki National Park and Dzanga-Sangha dense forest special reserve are located in the rainforest in the south-western part of the Central African Republic, Congo Basin. They comprise a total area of more than 4 000 km2 (more than 400 000 hectar

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
Six African countries -- along with timber industry representatives -- have agreed to jointly combat the illegal trade of timber and logging in the Congo Basin. 

The Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast and Gabon, adopted the Brazzaville Declaration at an international forum held in Congo’s capital Brazzaville.

The move is hailed by the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, as an unprecedented commitment towards the sustainability and legal development of wood in the region.

The FAO said the Congo Basin contains the world’s second largest tropical forest with an area covering over 300 million hectares.

It’s also a major supplier of illegal timber costing governments some ten-billion dollars per year in lost tax revenues worldwide.

FAO senior forestry expert Olman Serrano said the Congo declaration is unique because it is the first document to come out of a dialogue between governments, private sector, and civil society.  He said getting the private sector to commit to the agreement was key in solidifying the declaration.

“Promoting policies and recommendations to processes without involving those that are actually responsible for forest management, and forest utilization, hasn’t been perhaps very efficient.  Now that makes it quite unique-- that the private sector is involved and also committed in the sense that they want to not only continue a positive trend [by] preparing management plans and combating illegal logging, but also involving communities in the management of publicly owned forests in the Congo Basin,” explained Serrano.

He said it is hard to know the exact loss of revenue.

“We see that in the Congo Basin, more than 80% of the value added comes from forestry and logging.  A lot of it is illegal because either it is coming from an informal sector (and hasn’t been integrated in the whole value chain), or it comes from companies that irresponsibly promote illegal logging and illegal trade,” said Serrano.

While the Brazzaville Declaration is not a legally binding instrument, Serrano pointed out that there’s hope the agreement will be used as a guideline for future activities in the Congo Basin, and that it will be recognized by the international community as a standard to follow in the timber industry.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs