Democratic Republic of Congo government violated a moratorium on the allocation of new industrial logging concessions in place since 2002, according to Greenpeace.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has violated its own 2002 moratorium on new logging licenses by illegally making three concessions of 650,000 hectares [2,500 square miles] in total in 2015 to two local companies, Greenpeace said Tuesday.
"In a snub to international donors, the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] government has violated a moratorium on the allocation of new industrial logging concessions in place since 2002. On the 13th and 16th of August 2015, then Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development Bienvenu Liyota Ndjoli awarded three concessions covering a surface of almost 650,000 ha," the environmental organization said in a statement.
On January 30, Congolese Environment Minister Robert Bopolo Mbongeza declared that work to remove the 2002 ban seeking to protect Congo's tropical rainforest is underway. According to Greenpeace, the minister must have known that his predecessor had illegally granted the concessions and that is why the ban's removal was pursued.
Environmental and anti-corruption organizations urged the DRC to maintain the moratorium following the announcement, saying that lifting it could greatly exacerbate existing environmental issues, Greenpeace added.