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Democratic Republic of Congo
2013 Assessment Findings
The government’s response to illegal logging and related trade has been poor, and illegal logging remains widespread. The current regulatory environment and lack of rule of law make reliable independent verification almost impossible. The proportion of the DRC’s timber exports that are destined for sensitive markets is declining very rapidly, although it is high compared with some other major tropical timber producers. Nearly 90% of logging in the DRC is ‘informal’, small-scale logging to supply domestic and regional markets. It is estimated that this level has doubled in the last six years, due to a growing population and rising income levels.
The expert survey showed that insufficient political will, corruption and lack of transparency were considered to be the greatest impediments to an improved government response. Forest law enforcement structures in the DRC are flawed: enforcement is under-resourced and badly coordinated, and infractions therefore rarely uncovered; and penalties applied are insufficient to dissuade illegal practices. A failure to collect forestry taxes is serving to compound a severe lack of resources for forest monitoring and enforcement.
However, multi-stakeholder engagement in forestry decision-making is better than in many other countries. There have also been some improvements in the government response recently – for example, in addressing the abuse of artisanal permits.