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Democratic Republic of the Congo: Tree Felling

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) Portugal, (b) Germany and (c) Belgium on logging concessions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo held by companies with headquarters based in those countries. (138866)

I have not held specific discussions with my counterparts in Portugal, Germany and Belgium on logging concessions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) held by companies with headquarters in those countries. However, DFID is working closely with international partners—including Germany and Belgium—to promote sustainable forest use and reduce deforestation in countries like the DRC.

The German Government have put the reduction of deforestation, to curb carbon emissions, conserve biodiversity, and promote sustainable forest management, on the agenda for the forthcoming G8 summit. The UK strongly supports this initiative and will play a constructive role in agreeing outcomes at the summit. Earlier this year, the Belgian Government, in collaboration with the UK and other partners, hosted an international conference on the sustainable management of forests in the DRC. At this conference, the UK announced a $500,000 contribution to a Multi-Donor Trust Fund to improve forest governance and help promote sustainable forest management in the DRC.

The UK supports the maintenance of the moratorium on the allocation of new logging concessions in the DRC and the review that is currently being carried out of the legality of existing concessions. When I met the President of the DRC, Joseph Kabila, in Kinshasa in April 2007, I stressed the importance of forests as a resource for the people of the DRC. I asked whether logging concessions found to be illegal by the Legal Review would be revoked, and President Kabila confirmed that they would.