Stop the World Bank Destruction of Congo Rainforests
Posted on July 21, 2004 by Anita
The Rainforest Foundation needs your help to stop the World Bank from carving-up the Congo Rainforest, the worlds last great rainforest frontier. Through the introduction of new laws and re-zoning of the forest, the Bank is set to massively increase industrial logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with up to 60 million hectares of rainforests (an area the size of France) being handed out to logging companies.
According to the World Banks own estimates, as many as 35 million of Congos 50 million people depend on the forests for their very survival. For these people - the poorest in the world - the destruction of the forests could be a matter of life or death. This could be the start of the first major environmental and humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century. But we have the power to stop it.
Scores of Congolese environmental, development and human rights organisations have urged the World Bank to suspend its forestry projects until there has been proper consultation with local people.
In a video conference on 8 July organised by the Rainforest Foundation, Congolese representatives put their case directly to James Wolfensohn. Adolphine Muley, a Twa "Pygmy" from eastern Congo, said: "You must not forget that the lives of indigenous peoples depend on the forest. For a Pygmy, to talk of forest exploitation is to talk of reinforcing misery and poverty," she told World Bank President Wolfensohn. "You must put strategies in place so that the Pygmy peoples are not damaged by the system that you are developing.”
You can help to put pressure on the World Bank by joining the Rainforest Foundations campaign to immediately halt plans for the expansion of industrial logging - and to give the people of Congo a say on the future of their forests:
Write directly to World Bank President James Wolfensohn at:
The World Bank, 1818H Street NW
Washington DC 20433 USA.
Sign the Rainforest Foundations online petition: Visit www.rainforestfoundation.org.uk to sign the petition.
Support the Rainforest Foundation Our projects in the Congo aim to empower local forest communities through training, capacity-strenthening and income generation projects that help them protect their environment and exercise their rights.