Systemic illegalities persist in the Republic of Congo’s (RoC) forest sector, despite the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT VPA) signed with the EU to combat illegal timber trade, claims the environmental NGO Fern.
In fact, according to the RoC’s Independent Monitor of the implementation of forest law and governance, six new logging permits were awarded in January 2016 to several companies in violation of the country’s laws and regulations.
“Local civil society organisations, including Fern’s partner Forum pour le Gouvernance et les Droits Humains, believe that this is a serious breach of the VPA and a setback for the ongoing reforms intended to increase transparency and accountability in the management of the country’s vast forests”, Fern spokespeople say.
Fern has joined these groups in calling on the Congolese government to work closely with the EU to implement the VPA and to end impunity in the forest sector.
The NGO has also asked the EU and Member States, in accordance with the EU Timber Regulation, to be diligent in ensuring that no illegally harvested timber and forest products from the RoC enter the EU market.