- Service: Advisory
- Type: KPMG information
- Date: 12/18/2013
In DRC strengthened community organisations have taken advantage of social agreement provisions to demand and secure rights. As a result of exercising these rights they are starting to receive funds and then to manage them more effectively.
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- Historically, companies have been able to do as they please, skirting laws and regulations in order to get access to the forest without proper consent, and with complete disregard for the social or environmental cost. After years of kleptocratic government and civil war, new rules are being written across the board in DRC, including a 2002 Forest Code and subsequent moratorium and review of all logging concessions. The new law represents the beginning of a new dawn that could provide for more inclusive forest management, including community forestry.
- In its development of regulations to implement this law, the Government of DRC in 2010 put in place new standards for social agreements and forest management plans. Companies must now negotiate with communities living in their concessions over the financing of social infrastructure, such as schools, roads, health houses, before they can start operating.
- Across the country there are some 80 concessions – totalling 134,000 km2, or the size of England – which have met various criteria laid out by the moratorium. These have been offered up‐to‐date logging contracts, and therefore have to complete their social agreements.
- However, as one programme partner put it, “the loggers in our forests are taking the lift, while the benefits for communities have taken some very bad stairs” (Denis Impiti, Executive Secretary of the NGO CRONGD, Bandundu Province). Few if any members of affected communities had received any information about their rights or possible expectations regarding the social agreements, from the state or from the companies.
- Thus whilst on paper the Forest Code could make a positive difference for communities who rely on the forest for everything, remoteness, corruption, and almost non‐existence of forest officials makes it extremely difficult for communities to know their rights, let alone to meaningfully enforce them.