20061231

 

I. ERASING THE MASTERS OF TIME

"Nous autres, les Akwa, nous autres, nous sommes petits, petits, nous sommes petits entre les petits. Mais nous sommes les "Hommes", les maîtres du temps, les maîtres de la terre, les maîtres de tout. Ceux qui ne veulent pas croire, que Tox les écrase et leur ferme les portes du Dan" R.P. Trilles, Les Pygmées de la forêt équatoriale, 1932

 

a/k/a "pygmies"

Excerpt from WHO archives: "...the indigenous hunter-gatherers of the central African forests, so-called Pygmy peoples, consist of at least 15 distinct ethnolinguistic groups including the Gyéli, Kola, Baka, Aka, Bongo, Efe, Mbuti, western Twa, and eastern Twa living in ten central African countries: Angola, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. Their estimated total number is from 300,000 to 500,000 people. ...The term Pygmy can have pejorative connotations, but is used here as a term adopted by indigenous activists and support organisations to encompass the different groups of central African forest hunter-gatherers and former hunter-gatherers, and to distinguish them from other ethnic groups who may also live in forests, but who are more reliant on farming, and who are economically and politically dominant.."

 

Bantu migration

Excerpt from Conservation and Society, pp407-435, Vol 3 No 2, December 2005 by Axel Kohler, Centro de Estudios Superiores de México y Centroamérica, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (CESMECA-UNICACH): "..In contrast with ‘aboriginal’ Pygmies, Bantu forest dwellers are usually described as relatively recent 'colonisers'. Their penetration of the forest started with the so-called Bantu expansion about 4–5000 years BP in an area north-west of the great forest, from where western Bantu-speakers gradually occupied all of central Africa...Coming from the savannah they brought with them crops, livestock and a technology that were in many ways ill fitted to the requirements of their new environment. Their oral traditions often confirm a self-image as intruders into a foreign world..."

 

Identity, culture and domination

Excerpt from "African Hunter-Gatherers: Survival, History and the Politics of Identity", Kiroku, Kyoto University: "...It is difficult to generalize across the continent. In fact, hunter-gatherers in Africa today are strikingly diverse socially, ethnically, and economically...Despite a diversity of origins and present circumstances, a few general points can be made. In some ways African foragers display the characteristics common to other societies in their regions, speaking local languages and adopting local customs. In other important ways they have maintained distinct identities. Most of the hunter-gatherers exhibit a pattern of flexible and relatively egalitarian band organization common to hunter-gatherers elsewhere. In their internal sociopolitical organization they tended to be far less rigid and hierarchical than the norm of their agricultural and pastoral neighbors..Their flexibility and mobility worked both to their advantage and disadvantage. In the event of war or famine, they had the desert or the rainforest to fall back on as survival strategies. They had the power to survive outside the “system.” On the other hand, their lack of hierarchy meant that when outsiders presented sufficient political or military force, the foragers could not easily resist and sooner or later came to be dominated by others..."

 

Present-day social dynamics

Excerpt from Maricopa.edu website: "...Nowadays many pygmy groups no longer spend the whole year in the forest. Four or even six months of the year, in the dry season, they build their huts outside a settled village of cultivators who use them as plantation labor and treat them as land servants...In reality, many cultivators consider the pygmies less than human. They have created a system of hereditary service: a pygmy always works for the same master and subsequently for his heirs, and the pygmy's children go on working for the same family...The economic arrangement between the two groups usually works to the disadvantage of the pygmies, who do not use money and have no conception of its value...The pygmies are considered the poorest of the poor, the occupants of the bottom rung of the economic ladder. As far as possible, the cultivators make sure they remain unaware of the value of money, for fear they will become too expensive..."

 

Social determinants of acute vulnerability

Excerpt from ProCOR Discussion Forum: "...Indigenous people also face direct discrimination in their daily lives. Derogatory attitudes held in the general community and shown by health workers can create barriers to accessing health care: “The Babendjelle [of the North-West Congo Basin] are nicknamed out of prejudice “la viande qui parle” (the animal that can speak) and so do not receive the same treatment as others.” The poor formal recognition of Indigenous peoples also poses problems for gathering evidence about their health status…. In public health terms, this bias …limits the scope of epidemiological studies. Information about health status and access to services, and social determinants of health including the right to occupy and use land, clean water, sanitation, and education, is difficult to find..."

 

Peuples invisible

Excerpt from PlusNews.org website: "...Aucun recensement officiel n’a été mené dans le pays auprès de ces hommes originaires des forêts tropicales d’Afrique centrale, que l’on retrouve aussi au Cameroun, au Gabon, en République centrafricaine et jusque dans la région des Grands Lacs. Au Congo (Brazzaville), ils vivent dans les régions forestières du nord et du sud du pays...Longtemps restés à l’écart du reste de la population, les Pygmées, ces chasseurs et cueilleurs...Mais souvent considérés comme des 'sous-hommes', des être 'inférieurs' ou 'impurs' par leurs voisins Bantous, majoritaires au Congo...et leurs droits continuent à être régulièrement bafoués en matière d’accès à la terre, à l’éducation et aux services de santé..."

 

Les pieces d'identite

Excerpt from planetafrique.com website: "...Etant donné que les pièces de l'Etat civil sont les principaux documents réunissant les éléments constitutifs de la personnalité juridique, on peut dire que du point de vue de la loi, ces milliers de Pygmées ne sont pas reconnus par l'Etat congolais. Le gouvernement ne juge pas nécessaire d’envisager des mesures de facilitation ni d'élaborer un programme de sensibilisation pour inciter les Pygmées à se faire enregistrer ou se faire délivrer de cartes nationales d'identité. » Le comble dans tout cela est que des agents de l’ordre profitent de cette situation pour rançonner les pygmées qui ne disposent pas de pièces d’identité..."

 

Indigenous peoples and national parks

Excerpt from the Gorilla Journal: "...Even during colonial times, attempts were made to drive pygmies out of their traditional habitat, the primary forest. Officially, they were relocated from the forest in 1970, when the national park was founded. Even today they feel as if it had happened only yesterday. They are longing for their old home because they find it very difficult to get on in the world in which they are now forced to live..."

 

Existential dilemma

Excerpt from IRIN website: "...Throughout Central Africa, governments have denied pygmies the right to organise and represent themselves, which has led to increasing cases of ethnic discrimination, violence, poverty and a general and gradual disintegration of pygmy culture. The majority of pygmy communities do not benefit from any form of political representation and also lack institutions able to directly defend their rights. Being geographically and politically dispersed and having little trans-national consciousness as an ethnic group, they remain politically weak...The traditional power structure of representative institutions is entirely foreign to pygmy society, as hierarchy is not necessarily a dominant feature of pygmy clans. Executive power over the clan often stems from elders’ collegial decisions. Consensus, rather than imposition, is the general way of Batwa governance in eastern DRC, for example. This often collides with the protocols of modern administration, which call for a delegate, spokesman or leader to centralise decision-making after consultation. A “flat” power structure is hardly adapted to project-management frameworks, which now permeate most development programmes...Societal prejudices against pygmies further impede their being included in development schemes. Often considered “inferior”, “impure” or even “sub-human” by their Bantu neighbours, pygmy groups are segregated and excluded from the sphere of public action and decision-making. As a result, development – or emergency relief – operations are channelled to other populations..."

 

From the forest to the side of the road

Excerpt from CNN archives: "... They have no legal title to any land in the forest they've occupied since ancient times...Government policy refers to them as "marginal social groups," to be made into productive members of Cameroon's society by surrendering their nomadic life to clear land and plant crops...In other words, Bakas are expected to abandon the culture and spiritual life that connects them to the forest, and to join in its destruction -- a process already begun...Alcoholism, prostitution, unemployment and exploitation by dominant Bantus are common dangers confronting Bakas when they leave the forest. "They are facing a very violent civilization, and from this civilization they tend to take only the bad aspects," says university lecturer Roger Ngoufo. In their new settlements, the Baka people are in transition, no longer depending on hunting and gathering in the forest - and facing an uncertain future in the fast-growing towns and villages around them... Several residents in the roadside settlements say they are happy to be there - the forest is too dangerous. But others say the forest is paradise lost..."

 

Severing roots

Excerpt from UN OCHA,IRIN In-Depth report "Minorities Under Siege: Pygmies Today in Africa": "...Pygmies have depended on the forest since time immemorial. Today, heavy-handed environmental projects, such as the introduction of national parks, have caused tragic consequences for the well-being of the pygmy community..In an effort to protect natural resources, many conservation projects were launched in the 1990s throughout Central Africa. However, the practice of “gazetting” land – passing legislation that declares an area to be a natural park or a wildlife sanctuary – has pushed many indigenous groups out of their traditional habitat. The struggle to preserve the environment has had tragic consequences for some pygmy communities, which have fallen victim to heavy-handed environmental conservation projects...It started with the establishment of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in South Kivu, DRC, a forest that was declared in 1980 a World Heritage in Danger site by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Zairian Institute of the Conservation of Nature violently expelled 580 Batwa families from their land - with a view to protecting one of the last populations of mountain gorillas - without informing, consulting or offering them any reparation. The eviction destroyed their livelihood, culture and spiritual practices that tied them to the land...“We did not know they were coming,” said a Mutwa widow and mother of five who was among the 3,000 to 6,000 pygmies evicted from the forest. “It was early in the morning. I heard people in uniforms with guns. Then suddenly one of them forced the door of our house and started shouting that we had to leave immediately because the park is not our land. I first did not understand because all my ancestors have lived on these lands. They were so violent that I left with my children.” ..According to the NGO Refugees International, the trend continues.."

 

The hidden costs of conservation

Excerpt from report by Jerome Lewis, Dept of Anthropology, London School of Economics - Minority Rights Group: "...The Batwa were not informed or consulted on the nature or terms of their eviction. No provision was made to assist the expelled families to find land or alternative sources of income. At a stroke, their culture, spiritual practices and hunter-gathering way of life were outlawed. Nothing can compensate Batwa for the loss of their forests. No other environment can provide them with the same economic, social and spiritual well-being...Despite risking beatings, fines and imprisonment if caught, the Batwa’s dependence on the forest is so fundamental that they cannot stay away from it. Batwa feel persecuted by this denial of their rights, and find it increasingly difficult to access forest resources. Without assets or independent means of production many now live in extreme poverty. It is estimated that up to 50 per cent of those expelled from the forest have died, and among those that remain infant mortality is much higher than in other groups...

‘ ..Since we were expelled from our lands, death is following us. We bury people nearly every day. The village is becoming empty. We are heading towards extinction. Now all the old people have died. Our culture is dying too.’ - Mutwa man from Kalehe, DRC..."

 

Without the forest

Excerpt from "Health Situation of Women and Children in Central African Pygmy Peoples" by Dorothy Jackson, Forest Peoples Programme (May 2006): "...We are completely neglected and forgotten. Even our wives do not have access to midwives. They are permanently exposed to death because of lack of care during their pregnancy and deliveries. This came with the so-called modern life into which we were dragged. It did not exist when we were living in our natural environment. We had so many plants for such problems... Twa man from Kalehe district, Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.."

 

Child mortality

Excerpt from "Health of Indigenous Peoples in Africa" from WHO document archives: "...Mortality rates in Pygmy communities are high...Infant mortality rates in forest-dwelling Aka in the Central African Republic during the 1980s, and former forest-dwelling Twa in Uganda at the turn of this century, are reported as 20–22% and 20–21%, respectively...These rates are more than twice the national infant mortality rates (9·8% and 9·7%, respectively) cited by the World Bank in 2000; and in the Ugandan study are 1·5–4 times higher than nearby non-Twa com munities. For children younger than 5 years, mortality rates of 27% reported in forest-dwelling Mbendjele in northern Congo in the mid-1990s were 1·5 times higher than neighbouring Bantu...In the study of Ugandan Twa, mortality rates for children younger than 5 years (40%) were 1·8–2·4 times higher than in non-Twa villages. Loss of a forest-based life can be associated with increased mortality..."

 

Attrition

Excerpt: "...By the 1990s, the last remaining Batwa still practising clandestine hunting and gathering were forced to the edges of their ancestral forests to make way for national parks and military training areas. With no compensation and no alternative livelihoods, most have become beggars and landless labourers; only a small number still have access to forest resources, and much of the extensive forest knowledge once held by the Batwa is no longer being passed down from one generation to the next...A comparison of census figures from 1978 and 1991 indicates a 40 per cent fall in the Batwa population, as opposed to a 50 per cent (approximately) rise in the population of other Rwandans. Although little research has been conducted on Batwa demographic trends, it seems likely that as well as loss of land and livelihoods, high infant mortality rates, extreme poverty and poor access to healthcare have contributed to this decline..."

 

Pushing the limits

Excerpt from Unrepresented Peoples and Nations Organization website: "...Infant mortality among Congolese Mbendjele Pygmies was around one and a half times higher than among their Bantu neighbours. Tellingly, infant mortality rates for Ugandan Batwa dropped from 59 percent to 18 percent when families were given land. The Batwa of Chombo have been reduced to squatting since being evicted from their ancestral forests..to make way for the national park.."We are refugees in our own country," said Mwendanabo, "and we will stay like that until we are given some land." Without their own land to work, diets are poor. Children are acutely malnourished and there is nothing to spend on livestock, healthcare or education. ..Sitting in the darkness of Chombo's one classroom Salome Ndavuma knows what she wants her surviving children to do. "We die like animals because we don't have the money to go to the hospital. If some of our own can train to be doctors then perhaps we will get treatment. So that's what I'd ask of Kabila if he came to Chombo - train my child to be a doctor."

 

Inegalite dans les allocations de ressources

Excerpt from "La marginalisation sanitaire des ilots Pygmees de la Likouala, Republic of Congo", Gerard Salomone, Universite de Paris VII et Francois Taglioni, CNRS: "...Ces affections touchent en revanche les villageois Grands Noirs qui bénéficient d’une certaine attention des pouvoirs publics et des différents programmes de coopération. Cette inégalité dans les allocations de ressources selon le groupe considéré est encore plus choquante quant, on connaît l’importance des financements internationaux investis dans les parcs naturels de la région, comme celui de N’Doki-Nouabalé. Un des objectifs officiels de ce parc est de sauver les gorilles argentés migrant dans les mêmes territoires que les Pygmées. Paradoxe d’autant plus frappant que ces animaux sont également atteints par le pian et traités régulièrement pour cette maladie, contrairement aux pisteurs pygmées...Pourquoi cette différence d’accès aux soins pour des groupes humains voisins?..."

 

II. GORILLAS IN THE MIDST

Excerpt from "Conservation Refugees" by Mark Dowie, Orion Magazine: "...It's no secret that millions of native peoples around the world have been pushed off their land to make room for big oil, big metal, big timber, and big agriculture. But few people realize that the same thing has happened for a much nobler cause: land and wildlife conservation. Today the list of culture-wrecking institutions put forth by tribal leaders on almost every continent includes not only Shell, Texaco, Freeport, and Bechtel, but also more surprising names like Conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Even the more culturally sensitive World Conservation Union (IUCN) might get a mention...In early 2004 a United Nations meeting was convened in New York for the ninth year in a row to push for passage of a resolution protecting the territorial and human rights of indigenous peoples. The UN draft declaration states: "Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option to return." During the meeting an indigenous delegate who did not identify herself rose to state that while extractive industries were still a serious threat to their welfare and cultural integrity, their new and biggest enemy was "conservation."...Later that spring, at a Vancouver, British Columbia, meeting of the International Forum on Indigenous Mapping, all two hundred delegates signed a declaration stating that the "activities of conservation organizations now represent the single biggest threat to the integrity of indigenous lands." These rhetorical jabs have shaken the international conservation community, as have a subsequent spate of critical articles and studies, two of them conducted by the Ford Foundation, calling big conservation to task for its historical mistreatment of indigenous peoples..."We are enemies of conservation," declared Maasai leader Martin Saning'o, standing before a session of the November 2004 World Conservation Congress sponsored by IUCN in Bangkok, Thailand. The nomadic Maasai, who have over the past thirty years lost most of their grazing range to conservation projects throughout eastern Africa, hadn't always felt that way. In fact, Saning'o reminded his audience, "...we were the original conservationists." The room was hushed as he quietly explained how pastoral and nomadic cattlemen have traditionally protected their range: "Our ways of farming pollinated diverse seed species and maintained corridors between ecosystems." Then he tried to fathom the strange version of land conservation that has impoverished his people, more than one hundred thousand of whom have been displaced from southern Kenya and the Serengeti Plains of Tanzania. Like the Batwa, the Maasai have not been fairly compensated. Their culture is dissolving and they live in poverty..."

 

When interests collide

Excerpt from Forests Monitor study in the Republic of Congo entitled "Sold Down the River": "...CIB is actively pursuing certification and argues that to achieve a sustainable cut they require a large concession area. Thus they now have three concessions totalling over one million hectares and are undertaking an extensive survey of the flora in the concessions in collaboration with WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society). The social aspects of sustainability may prove more of a challenge to the company, such as offering compensation to local people for lost non-timber forest products, involving local people in management and decision-making and securing local land rights. WCS and CIB are sceptical that local communities have the capacity to manage resources responsibly. Partly in consequence of this belief, WCS employ eco-guards armed with automatic rifles to patrol the buffer zone and logging roads around the national park. This is very unpopular with local people who see this as a gross violation of their traditional rights...In some cases, important elephant poachers are made eco-guards in an attempt to take them out of the poaching circuit. It has been reported in the past that these guards often intimidated local people, and allowed their former poaching colleagues to pass freely through checkpoints but confiscated local people’s small amounts of game. The system has created distrust and antagonism between some conservation workers and local people and, in certain places, may have strengthened the position of some of the best-connected poachers who are commissioned to hunt trophy animals..."

 

Competing values

Excerpt from Cultural Survival website:

ISSUE: "..According to John Nelson of the Forest Peoples Programme, an international NGO that promotes the rights of forest peoples, this question is at the heart of the problems in the northern forests of the Republic of congo where the semi-nomadic Baka Pygmies live. In a recent interview, Nelson told Cultural Survival that the process of trying to protect wildlife from excessive hunting by the employees of logging companies has come at a high cost to indigenous peoples — particularly the semi-nomadic Pygmies.

FACTS: In cooperation with the Ministry of Forestry Economy and Environment (MEFE) of the Republic of Congo, the World Conservation Society (WCS) operates Nouabale-Ndoki National Park, which is located in the north of the country. Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), a timber company operating in the country, holds timber concessions adjacent to the park. Together, the three organizations form the Project for Ecosystem Management of the Periphery of the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park (PROGEPP). Both the timber concessions and the park are situated in...the Congo Basin, an area with immense biological diversity and home to many endangered or threatened species, along with several indigenous Pygmy populations. In an effort to curb illegal hunting, PROGEPP eco-guards monitor vehicles leaving the concessions and patrol the forests looking for poachers. While PROGEPP administrates the eco-guard program, WCS is responsible for its implementation.

FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF HUMAN RIGHTS: "..One of the problems," Nelson explained, "is in the way the eco-guards are being trained. They are not being taught to distinguish between poachers and the Baka. When an eco-guard comes across an indigenous person, they assume he is a poacher. The eco-guard searches them, confiscates their game, takes their tools; sometimes they beat them." According to Nelson, some of the eco-guards will follow Pygmies back to their camps and search all of the homes in the camp, looking for illegal bushmeat...Abuses by the eco-guards were well documented prior to Nelson’s visit. The Situation of Pygmies of the Republic of Congo, a 2004 report published by the Rainforest Foundation in cooperation with Congolese Observatory of Human Rights, details the historically abusive and exploitative relationship between local Bantus and Pygmies. Bantu researchers found in interviews that "many Bantu [consider] the Pygmies to be sub-human, and not entitled to the same rights as themselves." Bantus, according to the report, regularly beat, torture, and rape Pygmies. In a letter to Dr. Paul Elkan, the director of WCS operations in the Congo, dated October 25, 2005, Jerome Lewis of the Anthropology department of the London School of Economics, who also served on the 2004 Greenpeace mission, expressed his concerns that Pygmies are abandoning their semi-nomadic lifestyle "at alarming rates" because they are afraid to enter the forest. Nelson echoed Lewis’ concerns: "These [Pygmy] groups suffer trauma because they have nowhere else to go. They can not sustain their culture and so they face complete social collapse. Traditional practices are stopped."

FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF CONSERVATION: In an interview with Cultural Survival, James Deutch, Director of the Africa Program for WCS, could not comment on the allegations brought forth by Nelson. However, he did address the incidents in Lewis’ letter. "We conducted a formal investigation of abuse by eco-guards," Deutch said. "The upshot of the investigation was that we found most of the individual reports were exaggerated, but some instances were true. There was use of force and incidents of manhandling." Deutch added that while there are a small number of Pygmy eco-guards, the majority of the eco-guard force is comprised of Bantu. "In recruiting Bantu eco-guards, we face the challenge of teaching against a backdrop of cultural and societal discrimination," Deutch said. As a result of these abuses, Deutch said that several individuals were fired and others were disciplined. In addition, he told Cultural Survival that WCS plans to institute a new complaint procedure that would give anonymity to witnesses and victims of abuse; when an investigation is called for, the findings will be made public. WCS also reportedly plans to institute additional training modules for eco-guards to deal with indigenous peoples. "They [human rights groups] are absolutely right to find problems with us." Deutch said. "We completely support the concern they have for semi-nomadic people and we are concerned about their future. Criticizing us where we haven’t done a good job is absolutely right." Deutch also pointed out that WCS’ main concern was to protect area wildlife, and as such, it was the first initiative of its kind to work with a timber company to monitor illegal hunting. "WCS is the only soft target," Deutch said. "No one expects the government or the logging company to care.."

 

From the perspective of a private donor

Excerpt from California Studies in Food and Culture No. 6., University of California Press website:

"...A few years ago, I was invited to visit the home of a Swiss compatriot, an elderly lady by the name of Martha ("Poppi) Thomas living the life of the privileged in upstate New York. I knew that she was a trustee and a serious financial supporter of the Bronx Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society, and after lunch I showed her a copy of the Slaughter of the Apes brochure that included some of my photos and a little explanatory text...Her reaction was more than shock. Her conservation world had just crumbled. Since she felt very strongly about the environment and animal welfare, she had been making major donations to conservation organizations essentially as her way of getting a good night's sleep. After leafing through the pamphlet together, we left the luncheon table and all the other guests before dessert. Her chauffeur drove us a few miles to the home of Howdy Phipps, who was then the big boss of WCS. We motored through a beautiful estate right up to the main entrance of a mansion. Poppi informed the servants that we wanted to see Mr. Phipps immediately. She was informed that Mr. and Mrs. Phipps had retired for their Sunday afternoon rest. She made it clear that she did not care. We waited in the hall until the awakened couple descended the wide staircase. We all went to the living room but never got to sit down. Poppi shoved the pamphlet under Mr. Phipps's nose, wanting an immediate response, wanting to know if indeed this sort of thing was still going on in Africa. Of course, I felt like sinking away into the parquet floor...As the CEO of WCS, Howdy Phipps would have a good idea what was going on in the field, and certainly his Africa experts at the Bronx office and the people in the field in Africa would have been able to tell him that things were not under control—but that is not the message on which money is raised from supporters like Poppi. Poppi, of course, received the WCS annual report with the largely green world map in the center, but she would not have been privy to what I had begun to see as the organization's policy of not publicizing the bushmeat problem in order to maintain "good relations with the African government[s] and indigenous people so that the Society's conservation projects will be permitted to continue." In this case, WCS maintained these "good relations," but on the back of the very wildlife it was meant to protect...What I found surprising was that somebody like Poppi, a very alert and compassionate lady, believed in all the beautiful "world in order" images and documentaries that the Discovery and National Geographic channels were feeding the American and world public almost 24 hours a day. She also believed the WCS annual report, with its smiles and promises and that largely green world map. She was genuinely convinced that her donations and those of her friends were buying the gorillas and chimps of Africa a safe world...This gave me the first inkling of the power of selling "feel-good conservation"—on the back of small and ultimately ineffectual "Band-Aid projects"—and the extent to which the conservation establishment had come to depend on it. Individual donors and, I am sure, even the big institutional ones badly want to believe that their money pays for a better world. In the case of WCS, where the top seven executives earned a total of more than U.S. $2.6 million in the year 2000, keeping the cash flow going has to be priority number one..."

 

Western paradigms

Excerpt: "...In 1751, Edward Tyson published a book entitled, The Anatomy of a Pygmy Compared with that of an Ape and a Man, which effectively introduced the Western world to the Pygmies as a subhuman entity...In 1906, the Bronx Zoo displayed its newest addition to the gorilla cage, a Pygmy man named Ota Benga. The New York Times touted the exhibit by calling it “the most interesting sight in the Bronx.” The animal-like perception of Pygmies penetrated the Western consciousness. Unable to return home, Ota Benga committed suicide ten years later...The 1988 movie Gorillas in the Mist presented the Pygmy as savage gorilla poachers, a concept that has never been largely questioned, despite the fact that Pygmies lived with gorillas in the forests of Central Africa for centuries without the gorilla becoming endangered, as it is today..."

 

From the perspective of a Baka man

Excerpt from Axel Kohler study in the Republic of Congo, Conservation and Society: "...Examining the footprints of a gorilla, a Baka companion told me that we had now entered gorilla territory: ‘The gorilla is a soldier, man! When you enter his area and meet him, he is going to ask you for your passport. And you better have your papers in order, because he doesn’t like to fool around. If you haven’t got a laissez-passer, he will go after you, slap you in the face and kick you out of his territory.’ The image used here is one of a policemen or border patrol, administrative staff who are all non-local Bantu and professional soldiers. They use their power to control the movement of people and goods across the Congo-Cameroon border in a rather autocratic fashion. Not uncommonly, they extort money and services, lock people up overnight in a prison cell in town and are known for beating them up. For their part, gorillas are competitors for wild forest fruit, and occasionally raid fields and feed on agricultural produce. They thus tax human efforts in a different way than do policemen, but in a fashion that Baka experience as similarly unsubtle and arbitrary..."

 

Rights, values and resources

From Living On Earth radio, recorded show from Dec 04: "...Can conservation groups protect natural habitats without abusing the people who live in them? This issue is the focus of a number of articles, most recently "A Challenge to Conservationists" by anthropologist Mac Chapin. Chapin says the big conservation groups - World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, and The Nature Conservancy, focus on large conservation schemes that attract lots of corporate and government money but lead them to neglect indigenous peoples' needs..."

 

Neo-conservation: Ways and means

House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Africa, Committee on International Relations, Washington, DC. The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:30 p.m. in Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Edward R. Royce, [Chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.

Mr. ROYCE: This hearing of the Subcommittee on Africa will come to order. The tropical forests of Central Africa’s Congo Basin are second in size only to those in the Amazon Basin. Now, that is nearly seven times the size of California. They are an important economic resource for an estimated 20 million people in this region. These forests also play a critical role in sustaining the environment—absorbing carbon dioxide and cleansing the water and holding soil. The Congo Basin contains the most diverse grouping of plants and animals in Africa, including rare and endangered species such as the eastern lowland gorilla, mountain gorilla, chimpanzee and the white rhino. These plants and animals are invaluable for so many reasons, including their genetic and biochemical information, which could spark advances in medical, agricultural and industrial technology...Last September, Secretary of State Colin Powell launched the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) in Johannesburg. The partnership, involving governments, international organizations and businesses, is focused on 11 key landscapes in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo. It aims to support a network of national parks and protected areas and well-managed forestry concessions...The Congo Basin Forest Partnership, building upon previous U.S. efforts, is working to combat illegal logging and poaching and other unsustainable practices and to give local populations an economic stake in the preservation of the forests, including through the development of ecotourism. This initiative has received widespread applause, including from leading conservationists...Now, there are three non-governmental organizations that I want to mention — Conservation International, the World Conservation Society (sic), and the World Wildlife Fund. They deserve recognition for their early financial contributions to this effort...In 1997, this Subcommittee held a hearing on managing Africa’s natural resources. At that hearing I said, ‘‘As much as some would like it to be, Africa cannot be one big preserve.’’ With that hearing, we featured the U.S. backed CAMPFIRE program, designed to give southern Africans an economic incentive to manage well their natural resources. Too many conservation efforts, cooked up far away, ignore the interests of average Africans. That day we heard from a witness who brings this kind of pragmatism to his work and who has done more than anyone else to bring attention to the stakes we all have in conserving the Congo Basin forests, and that is Michael Fay. Among his many activities publicizing these magnificent forests and the threats they face has been his 440 day trek through the Congo Basin in 1999 and 2000, fully documented by National Geographic. Michael Fay recently worked with President Bongo to help bring about his landmark declaration of a new national park system. Especially for young people watching today, Michael Fay is a testament to the great difference in the world that one determined person can make. I will now turn to the Ranking Member, Mr. Payne, for any opening statement he may wish to make.

Mr. PAYNE: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me commend you for calling this very important hearing, Saving The Congo Basin: The Stakes, The Plan. It is good to see Assistant Secretary Kansteiner and Assistant Secretary Turner and Assistant Administrator Newman and Dr. Fay, who we will hear from later. Let me just commend our representatives from State Department for the outstanding work that they continually do to try to keep the issues of Africa before the Congress...More commonly, Africa is known for its great wealth and beauty even today, even though we see abject poverty and a lot of problems because of perhaps neglect or other priorities during the past decades, but the wealth and beauty is still there. As we know, it has the largest concentration of natural resources, the abundance of diamonds, a wide variety of gems, minerals like coltan, plants with extraordinary healing properties that are often used in pharmaceuticals, although rarely attributed about where the source of these drugs come from, many right from this Congo Basin...The continent is also famous for its wildlife, as we know, including the gorillas, as we have heard, and elephants and zebras and hippopotamus and so forth. We certainly are hoping that this initiative will help preserve the wildlife that had in the past been in great abundance, but, as we see, a trend in the wrong direction...Too often, we hear about exploitations of these precious natural resources in Africa, so the discussion about a new partnership which will work to preserve and protect precious wildlife and raw materials is certainly a welcome one and one that is certainly overdue. In that vein, I commend the Administration and Secretary Powell for the leadership shown on the issue and the commitment to give $12 million a year to the partnership totaling $53 million by the year 2005. The partnership is between NGOs, industry and governments who have put forth a sustained effort toward thwarting deforestation in the Congo Basin and in 11 priority landscapes. The money will go toward the establishment of, as we have heard already, new national parks which will serve as a haven for floral and fauna, whose survival is so key to the environmental climate and the communities which live among them and toward the strengthening of government forest authorities and providing opportunities for sustainable development. I am encouraged by this progressive move, and we hope that the intent of the initiative is carried out and will be implemented properly, and we hope that even with some of the new initiatives some of the African new initiatives like NEPAD and with the potential MCA here, the Millennium Challenge Account, that all of these can be used to shore up and assist the continent as it tries to work its way back...I would now like to turn it over to John Turner and to Connie Newman. The three of us are enjoying kind of a new triumvirate where we are learning to pull various bureaus in the State Department, as well as AID, together in behalf of these efforts, and we are kind of forging new pathways as we go along. But the three of us are committed to this partnership, and we are going to see it through. Thank you very much.

Mr. TURNER: Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, I join Walter and Connie in thanking you for the opportunity to appear before you today...I think, as you opened the hearing with, that we need to remind ourselves of the immensity of this region, some 700,000 square miles of opportunity. If my calculations are right, that is a size that is equivalent to the five states of California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. I believe the partnership promises to be the most ambitious conservation project in the history of Africa. Working together, we have the potential to positively impact over 75 million acres of one of the largest intact tropical forests left anywhere in the world, including the establishment and making reality some 27 national parks. It is a great opportunity for the United States to build on the impressive efforts and existing cooperation that is already ongoing in the Basin between the governments there, between the non-profit community and the private sector. Of course, that great work is exemplified by Michael Fay, who is with us here today, whose mega transect of 1,200 miles captured the imaginations of Americans and people all over the world over this special place and the need to protect it...I am very pleased that President Bush indeed has committed $53 million for the partnership through 2005. These resources we hope to leverage against the resources from other public and private partners. I think the President’s support for the Congo Basin reflects the leadership that he has given to protect tropical forests out around the world..It was mentioned the recognition of the outstanding partnerships that we have, now. The Wildlife Conservation Society, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund were mentioned...I am pleased to note that folks from our American forest industry are joining us. The American Forest and Paper Association, as well as the Society of American Foresters, are bringing their expertise and management experience. We have a large team of interagency participants—the National Forest Service, the National Park Service, Soil & Conservation Society, Fish & Wildlife Service, Department of Commerce, NASA, USGS and OPEC to name a few. Of course, our main partners are the six African countries that are represented here today, and we are also joined by the U.K., South Africa, Japan, Germany, France, Canada and Belgium...I think we all realize that this magical region of Africa is indeed at a critical crossroads in its history. I believe that U.S. leadership, resources and experience, in tandem with all other partners, can contribute significantly to economic development, alleviation of poverty and suffering, and the improvement of the overall governance through workable conservation and a resource management program.

Mr. ROYCE: That is very forthright of you, Constance. Thank you very much...Let me ask a few questions. I will start with Assistant Secretary Turner. Several Members of Congress have written Republic of C0ngo Pres1dent Sass0u-Nguess0 asking for his cooperation on various environmental initiatives, including on the issue of trying to do something to combat the poaching of elephants. As far as I know, we have not received an answer. I was going to ask, Assistant Secretary Turner, is the Republic of C0ngo fully on board with this initiative, or are there areas of concern?

Mr. TURNER: Mr. Chairman, I had the opportunity to meet with Pres1dent Sass0u and express the interest of the United States to help build capacity and governance to help bring training opportunities and capacity building to the Republic of the C0ngo. I think we have to note that that country committed itself to parks many years ago, so it is a challenge for the United States to work with that country to show that better practices are in the best interest of their economy, developing tourism and sustaining the wonderful wildlife and tourism opportunities. The minister for their parks and forestry is coming to Washington soon, Minister Djomb0, and I hope to meet with him. We have had meetings in the past. We did have our interagency needs assessment team recently in Brazzaville to look at specific training and monitoring and accountability, so I think it is an opportunity for us to work positively with Pres1dent Sass0u and his administration.

Mr. ROYCE: Well, we will look forward to conversing with you on that after that meeting takes place here...

Mr. ROYCE: Thank you, Congressman Payne. Without objection, we will submit for the record testimony from the World Wildlife Fund. At this time we will go to our second panel. I thank each of you for testifying here today. [Pause.] This Committee will come to order, and we will now go to our second panel. Dr. Michael Fay is an ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society of New York, and he is a conservation fellow at the National Geographic Society...In 1984, he went to work at the Missouri Botanical Garden. His first assignment was a study of a mountain range on Sudan’s western border, eventually leading to his doctorate on the western lowland gorillas...From 1999 to 2000, he walked the entire corridor, more than 1,800 miles, systematically surveying trees, wildlife and human impacts on uninhabited forest areas. Fay is now analyzing data from this expedition, which was funded by the National Geographic Society’s Expeditions Council and the Wildlife Conservation Society. This trek was a catalyst for Gabon’s landmark national park effort. Michael testified to this Subcommittee in March 1997 on a hearing, ‘‘Economic Development of Africa’s Natural Resources.’’...We are pleased to again have him with us.

Mr. FAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank Chairman Ed Royce and Congressman Donald Payne for having us here today to talk about sustainable development in Africa and the Congo Basin Forest Partnership. I would also like to thank in particular Assistant Secretaries of State Kansteiner and Turner for their leadership in the Congo Basin Forest Partnership. Certainly I do not think if we had not been meeting, you know, kind of around town here over the last several months talking about the forests of Central Africa and the problems, the solutions, none of this would have ever happened, so I am really happy that we have folks like Mr. Kansteiner and Turner in office...

I believe that Teddy Roosevelt had it right. In 1907, when the United States was at the stage in its development not dissimilar to the Congo Basin today, he said, ‘‘In utilizing and conserving natural resources of the nation, the one characteristic more essential than any other is foresight. The conservation of our natural resources and their proper use constitute the fundamental problem which underlies almost every other problem of our national life.’’ President Roosevelt, with Congress, made the creation of 230 million acres of protected areas the cornerstone of that foresight...I think that when you look at what Roosevelt did, that is what he did. He brought that debate to the United States, and it has been very important in every land use decision made in this country for over a century.

My work in the Congo Basin has been basically to try to bring this U.S. model to Africa. People think well, you know, that is this, that is that, but I do not see that there is any great difference in the United States’ development over the last 150 years and what is currently happening in Africa almost throughout—resource exploitation, people occupying the landscape. That is what is happening everywhere.

The model starts with the identification of large landscapes where land use management systems can be put in place before the arrival of industrial resource use and human expansion. This model does not call for the curtailment of resource use, only for well-reasoned land use and resource management. It requires, I think, a ground up plan that includes the creation and management of core national parks to protect the biodiversity mother lode, integrated with land use management in exploitation zones in the surrounding landscapes that maximizes benefits for local people. We find that parks quickly become national treasures, but they also become the cornerstones in a process where logging companies and other resource users change wasteful practices, local people change land use practices, and governments change policies. Other development objectives that help people like poverty alleviation, health, education and private investment are also facilitated in these landscapes. It goes right up to the national level...

[The prepared statement of Mr. Fay follows:]

..As part of our model we put in place management programs in the logging concessions surrounding parks. These programs work closely with logging company employees to reduce bushmeat exploitation, limit human settlement in the permanent forest domain, eliminate illegal and wasteful practices, and improve livelihoods for local people. Over the past 20 years, a number of US NGOs in association with the US Government have gained considerable experience in projects that change the course of natural resource management and development in large landscapes in Congo Basin countries...An example: In 1985, an idea to create a large, tri-national forest management area in the Central African Republic (CAR), Congo, and Cameroon was born by Richard Carroll and myself. The objective was to create three national parks and management systems in the landscapes around the parks, in particular in logging concessions where there was no history of land-use management. This initiative grew, and by the year 2000, with funding from USAID, GEF, ITTO, GTZ, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and other private investment, we had the following outputs:
• 350,000 acre Dzanga-Sangha National Park in CAR,
• 1,000,000 acre Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in Congo,
• 600,000 acre Lac Lobeke National Park in Cameroon,
• Significant, permanent management infrastructure in seven main camps,
• A large force (>350) of trained local and government management personnel,
• Wildlife management implemented with villages surrounding the parks,
• Forestry management projects with logging companies covering ca. 4,000,000 acres.
• Declaration of the first trans-border reserve to be created by three national governments.

The benefits go far beyond the local impacts, they are:
• Vastly improved forest management capacity at a national level in three countries,
• Significantly increased national contribution to operations,
• Shift in the logging industry from pure exploitation to the notion of management in logged forests,
• Shift in land-use practices of local people,
• Shift in government policies and laws governing forest management.

How do we propose to replicate this model elsewhere and how much is it going to cost? There are currently many organizations, American and European, working with national governments on projects that seek to implement the landscape model in places like Odzala, Nouabale-Ndoki, Minkebe, Lope, Loango and many others. These initiatives have strong national government support and the three major US conservation NGOs working on the ground in the Congo Basin (WWF, WCS and Conservation International) are united in the belief that these ground-up projects should be the basis for sustainable development. The Congo Basin Forest Partnership Some months ago a number of NGOs, the US State Dept. and USAID developed a plan that is now called the Congo Basin Forest Partnership. This plan calls to extend an existing USAID project, called the Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE), which has been learning about resource management in the Congo Basin for seven years. The new plan shifts the focus to the ground, starting with a network of national parks in six Congo Basin countries that would span out to logging concessions, other resource extraction zones and local communities in geographical landscapes. This plan would attempt to get all regional governments on board, expand the number of NGO partners, and increase assistance from several Departments of the US Government. In more formal meetings with USAID the logic of the landscape concept was understood but the questions were: how much is it going to cost and how were we going to pull it off? In particular how could we be assured there was the political will to create parks and manage forests in Congo Basin countries? I estimated, if we included 11 endangered landscapes in six countries, that we would need 15 million dollars a year from USAID. Other international partners, American NGOs and national governments would match this.

What I ask of Congress today is to assure the following:

1) Appropriation of $15 million a year for the CBFP program to be funded for a period of ten years;

2) Funds allocated exclusively to US NGO partners of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership with substantial diplomatic and technical assistance provided by the Departments of State, Agriculture and Interior;

3) Matching funds be required of NGOs who receive a grant from USAID for these activities;

4) US Government funding should be restricted to on-the-ground conservation that directly supports protected area and land-use management projects in the 11 designated landscapes such that we avoid top down, expensive and ineffective programs;

5) Nations benefiting from the CBFP should agree to address a number of objective deliverables that are judged to be essential to the program.

6) Funding should be dependant on progress such that nations who take the risks to enact such a process also reap the maximum benefits;

è) USAID should not use a competitive bidding process between partners to fund disparate actions, but rather a collaborative process that will result in a comprehensive program for the 11 landscapes that demonstrates buy-in from partners and a clear ground-up approach.

I don’t think that Teddy Roosevelt could have ever imagined that over 300 million people would enter the national parks in the United States in 2003. This is a tribute to his vision. I believe that, if we get it right, the CBFP will be one of the most successful programs ever undertaken by USAID in our search for a model of sustainable development. Land-use and resource management must be at the core. Please support this program. Thank you.’’

Mr. Royce: Thank you, Dr. Fay.

 

Disambiguation

Excerpt from Wikipedia: "...Carpe diem has some nuances beyond the usual translation "seize the day". Definitions of carpe include pluck, pull off, gather, snatch, even in some contexts, make a journey. Here it means something like enjoy. The idea, then, would be to get everything you can from right now, because you cannot trust that you will have future opportunities..."

 

CARPE: Non-competitive grant awards

Excerpt from USAID February 2006 CARPE mid-term review, p.3 - "CARPE Budget by Partner": Total of USAID Funding under 3-year agreement (Year 1-operating in FY04; Year 2-operating in FY05; Year 3-operating in FY06:
-African Wildlife Foundation: $3,789, 867
-Conservation International: $5,496,104
-Wildlife Conservation Society: $14,247,302
-World Wildlife Fund: $13,757,226

 

CARPE: Negative determination for health clinics with humanitarian partners

Excerpt of USAID determination document: Funding Begin: FY2003, Central Africa, Managed by USAID/DRC
Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) Funding End: FY2010
lOP Amount: $55 million ($45 million,DA, $10 million ESF)
Current Date:. May 3,2004

ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION RECOMMENDED: (Place X where applicable)
Categorical Exclusion: X
Negative Determination: X
Positive Determination:
Deferral: X
ADDITIONAL ELEMENTS: (Place X where applicable)
CONDITIONS:
PVO/NGO:_X_

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS: This amendment to the subject lEE recommends changes in threshold determinations in the lEE for the Central African Regional Program for the Environment Phase II (CARPE II). It recommends changing the Positive Determination in the original lEE to a Categorical Exclusion and Negative Determination, forthose activities associated with Reduced Impact logging (RIL) and Sustainable Forest Management, respectively. Likewise, threshold determinations are provided for those activities for which a Deferral had been recommended, due to insufficient information at the time. Thus, this lEE resolves the previous deferrals. Except as noted above, all other terms and conditions remain in force and unchanged, and are recapitulated in the present amendment of the CARPE IIlEE, for the sake of clarity and coherence
(with the exception of Section 2 and Annexes 1-4 in the original lEE, not included here). The Strategic Objective of the Program is to reduce the rate of forest degradation and loss of biodiversity through increased local, national, and regional natural resource management capacity. There are three Intermediate Results (IRs) to be covered under this lEE: IR1, "Sustainable Natural Resources Management Practices Applied", 1R2,"Natural Resources Governance Institutions, Policies, Laws Strengthened", and IR3, "Natural Resources Monitoring Institutionalized. The lEE covers the strategy period FY 2003-2010. Most of the activities addressed herein were initiated and developed under the previous CARPE I project, and have been proven to be beneficial to the environment and to sustainable management of natural resources in the Congo Basin1.

Negative Determinations with Conditions are recommended, per 22 CFR 216.3(a)(2)(iii) for the following previously deferred activities:

a) Build Community Conservation Center (Sub IR 1.2).
Centers will be within the 10,000 square feet surface area disturbed size limit for small construction, and follow the guidelines as described in the USAID/AFR Environmental Guidelines for Small Scale Activities in Africa (EGSSA) located at www.encapafrica.ora.

b) Establish health clinic(s) with humanitarian partners (Sub IR 1.3).
Small buildings less than 10,000 square feet will be constructed or repaired to receive populations for vaccines and health
care. Guidelines for environmentally sound construction and healthcare waste management will be followed as described in the USAID/AFR Environmental Guidelines for Small Scale Activities in Africa (EGSSA) located atwww.encapafrca.ora:

 

CARPE I (1995-2002) + CARPE II (2003-2010) + CBFP

Excerpt from USAID Feb06 Midterm Evaluation of CARPE, p 11: "..Recognizing the importance and difficulty of conservation in the Congo Basin, USAID began a 20 year program in 1995 aimed at reducing the threats of deforestation and decrease in biodiversity. The current strategic phase of the initiative, CARPE II, began in 2003 and will operate until 2010. CAPRE II works in nine countries within the Congo Basin with the strategic objective of reducing the rate of forest degradation and loss of biodiversity through increased local, national and regional natural resource management..Unforeseen during the evaluation, the timing of the design and implementation of CARPE II corresponded with the initiation of an international agreement reached at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) where governments, NGOs and the private sector recognized the importance of conserving the Congo, the world’s second largest remaining tropical forest, by creating the Congo Basin Forestry Partnership (CBFP). The USG chose to use the CARPE II results framework as an umbrella for many of the activities that the US is undertaking in support of the CBFP...The USG commitment to CBFP was to provide $52 million support to the CBFP over the period 2002 to 2005. The majority of that funding is being passed via CARPE..encompassing nine countries (Burundi, Congo/Brazzaville, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo Gabon, Rwanda, and Sao Tome-Principe). Additionally, CBFP includes partners other than CARPE partners..."

 

CARPE: Map of intervention zones

From CARPE website: Link to a map of CARPE zones of the Congo Basin. With six of the eleven intervention zones in its borders, the Republic of Congo is the epicenter of USAID's CARPE intervention. Target areas encompass the traditional lands and the highest population densities of indigenous peoples in the Congo Basin. The impacts of CARPE (the largest conservation initiative in the history of the Afican continent) on this acutely vulnerable population remain unmonitored.

 

Art of starkness

Excerpt from article "Black Gold", The Economist (Oct 2002), republished at Global Policy Forum website: "...Why are Americans suddenly flocking to western Africa?...In September Colin Powell paid a flying visit to Angola and Gabon; early next year George Bush is expected to follow suit. Last month ten African heads of state visited the American president...The reason is oil. Walter Kansteiner, America's assistant secretary of state for Africa, suggests that “African oil has become of national strategic interest to us.” In quiet moments he confides that it is the only American interest in Africa..."

There are strategic reasons why western countries and firms are keen. Dick Cheney's National Energy Policy Report suggests that the region is one of the “fastest-growing sources of oil and gas for the American market”. African oil already provides 15% of American imports; that is likely to rise to 25% by 2015, lessening to a degree dependence on supplies from the troubled Persian Gulf. More African exports would also mean more non-OPEC oil... Investments are not driven by American strategic interests alone. “It is more important that African oil is good quality and companies can get good recovery rates,” says Duncan Clarke, an expert on African oil. Though not as pure and light as Saudi oil, west African crude is easily good enough for refineries on America's east coast. It is also usefully close, half the distance of Persian Gulf supplies..."

 

Importance of African oil to U.S. economy: Kansteiner speaks

Excerpt from article by By Jim Fisher-Thompson, Washington File staff writer posted on U.S. Embassy in Nigeria website "U.S. Officials Cite Importance of African Oil to U.S. Economy" (Assistant Sec. Kansteiner speaks at seminar, Jan 2002): "...U.S. officials stressed the growing importance of African oil to the U.S. economy at a recent energy seminar, among them Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner, who rushed from a meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell to make that point...Kansteiner, a former businessman with the Scowcroft Group, an international consulting firm, spoke at a January 25 breakfast meeting entitled "African Oil: A Priority for U.S. National Security and African Development," sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS). "It is undeniable," he said, "that this [oil] has become of national strategic interest to us." According to Kansteiner's assistant, James Dunlop, who also spoke at the event, the United States now gets 15 percent of its total oil imports from the African continent -- and that figure is growing...In terms of development for Africa, John Flynn, a former British foreign service officer who is now an executive with Chevron/Texaco, agreed with the U.S. officials' assessment, saying, "U.S. investment is crucial in Africa," and he told his audience, many of whom represent companies that do business on the continent, "If you lead, others will follow."

U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, a political/military officer assigned to the secretary of defense's Office of African Affairs, also emphasized that "Africa is important to U.S. national security." Noting that she was speaking as "a U.S. government policymaker in the area of sub-Saharan Africa and national security interests," she said, "The U.S. relationship to African countries is non-colonial, based on a generally positive history, past and present trade, and shared interests in democratic and accountable governance." Referring to the National Intelligence Council's "Global Trends 2015" report, which came out last December, Kwiatkowski pointed out that 25 percent of U.S. oil imports in 2015 will come from sub-Saharan Africa. The prime "energy locations" identified in the study are West Africa, Sudan, and Central Africa. It follows, the Defense Department official explained, that "U.S. trade, freedom of movement, government transparency, protection of U.S. interests are even more important in these [regional] areas." She cited a number of areas of interest for government policymakers, including: - "more fully understanding the challenges of U.S. energy companies and investors in sub-Saharan Africa; -"working where we can to improve today's security for U.S. investments and operations; and "working where we can to increase the level of accountable government and overall economic development that comes with adherence to rule of law, freedom of the marketplace, freedom of the media, and well-trained, small, professional and apolitical militaries." Robert Murphy, an economic specialist with the State Department's Office of African Analysis, told the seminar that Africa is important to "the diversification of our sources of imported oil" away from the troubled areas of the Middle East and other politically high-risk areas. He noted that "political discord or dispute in African oil states is unlikely to take on a regional or ideological tone that would result in a joint embargo by suppliers at once."

In addition, Murphy said, "much of West Africa's oil is offshore, thereby insulated from domestic political or social turmoil, and can be delivered via open sea-lanes devoid of canals or narrow straits." With "proven reserves of well over 30 billion [30,000 million] barrels of oil, and over 40 different types of crude," the official said, "under current projections, we will import over 770 million barrels of African petroleum in 2020." While oil is critical to the U.S. economy, the revenues Africans earn from its production also play a key role in their nations' development, Murphy noted. "When we hear of a Chevron or Exxon oil well in Africa, we think of the oil companies as investors, but they are also service providers, sellers of services, and contractors of services. By 2003, investment in the African oil industry will exceed $10 billion [thousand million] a year. Between two-thirds and three-fourths of our foreign direct investment in Africa will be in the energy sector," he said.

 

Congo Basin Forest Priorities

Excerpt entitled "African Oil: A Priority for U.S. National Security and African Development" by the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies" from IASPS document archive:

SYMPOSIUM: FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, 2002

* * *
The symposium was held in University Hall, the University Club, 1135 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., at 8:30 a.m.

SPEAKERS:

TOM CALLAHAN, Department of State
JAMES R. DUNLOP, Department of State
JOHN FLYNN, Vice President ChevronTexaco
THE HON. WILLIAM JEFFERSON, U.S. House of Representatives
WALTER H. KANSTEINER, III, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
LT.COL. KAREN KWIATKOWSKI, African Affairs, Department of Defense
MALCOLM MORRIS, President, Stewart Title Guaranty Company
ROBERT BARRY MURPHY, Bureau of Intelligence Department of State
THE HON. EDWARD R. ROYCE, Representative, U.S. House of Representatives
BARRY SCHUTZ, Foreign Service Institute, State Department
JANICE VAN DYKE WALDEN, Vanco Energy
PAUL MICHAEL WIHBEY, Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies

 

Transparency

Excerpt from Transparency International website: "...Corruption in aid is generally associated with: (a) grand corruption or corruption in major contracting projects involving public officials or politicians and private companies (b) corruption of domestic origin in the recipient country spilling over into foreign assistance, mainly in the form of petty corruption (c) corruption that is directly linked to internal policies and practices of donors themselves...A common argument is that foreign aid presents perverse incentives to recipient governments by, for example, investing in sectors not prioritised by the government...Privatisation policies are criticised for creating opportunities for corruption in countries with weak regulatory capacities. Aid agencies are also accused of ignoring, or even denying, evidence of systematic corruption and large-scale capture, especially if the disbursement of their own aid money is not directly involved...Within the academic discourse it has been argued that aid flows, much like natural resources, provide opportunities for wealth. They can be spent on public investment or be diverted for private use by public officials. According to Coolidge and Rose-Ackerman (2000) aid can also be diverted by governing elites towards projects that provide more opportunities for rent seeking such as capital-intensive projects versus community-controlled and basic needs programs..."

 

Charite bien ordonee

Republished article "Charité bien ordonnée" par Elise Colette, Jeune Afrique (Aug 2003):

"...Personne ne manque à l'appel : Banque mondiale, Nations unies, World Wildlife Fund, Organisation internationale des bois tropicaux (OIBT), Commission européenne, États-Unis, France, Japon, et même Afrique du Sud... Tous les acteurs importants de l'échiquier africain dans le domaine de l'environnement ont répondu favorablement au cri d'alarme lancé par les pays du bassin du Congo. Miné par l'abattage anarchique de ses arbres, par une agriculture désordonnée, par la corruption des entreprises qui l'exploitent, le deuxième poumon de la planète craint de porter en lui une maladie incurable. Des quelque 190 millions d'hectares qui le composent, éparpillés sur six pays d'Afrique centrale - Cameroun, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Guinée équatoriale, République centrafricaine et République démocratique du Congo (RDC) -, cette forêt pourrait perdre un cinquième de sa superficie d'ici à quinze ans si rien n'est fait. Une destruction des ressources naturelles qui serait catastrophique pour les 500 millions de personnes qui vivent grâce à elles, pour l'écosystème mondial et pour les espèces animales en voie de disparition.

Dans un élan de solidarité, lors du Sommet sur le développement durable qui s'est tenu à Johannesburg en septembre 2002, les grandes puissances occidentales se sont mises d'accord avec les responsables des pays africains concernés pour tenter de sauver ce qu'il restait de bonobos, chimpanzés, et autres gorilles menacés par la déforestation, pour rationaliser les concessions forestières et créer 10 millions d'hectares de parcs naturels protégés. En janvier 2003, lors du lancement officiel du partenariat pour la forêt du bassin du Congo, les Américains ont promis de verser 53 millions de dollars sur quatre ans, tandis que la France réaffirmait son engagement à hauteur de 50 millions d'euros sur trois ans.

Les deux plus gros bailleurs de fonds se sont montrés très concernés par les problèmes écologiques que connaît aujourd'hui l'Afrique centrale. Et ne se sont pas fait prier pour venir en aide aux gouvernements africains. Les États-Unis s'intéressent « passionnément » à la protection des forêts du bassin du Congo, a affirmé WALTER KANSTEINER, secrétaire d'État adjoint chargé des Affaires africaines, en mars dernier, en mettant en exergue le programme Carpe (Central African Regional Program for the Environment) mis en oeuvre par le gouvernement américain dans la sous-région. Tandis que la France rappelait l'engagement de l'Agence française pour le développement (AFD) au Gabon, au Congo-Brazzaville et en Centrafrique sur les mêmes questions, ainsi que l'existence préalable du programme européen Ecofac (Conservation et utilisation rationnelle des écosystèmes forestiers d'Afrique centrale). Une philanthropie évidemment bien calculée à l'heure où les deux pays se disputent les faveurs de cette région, certes premier poumon d'Afrique, mais également bien pourvue en pétrole. Tout comme les entreprises privées sont aujourd'hui sommées par les populations de prouver leur respect de l'environnement, les gouvernements qui s'intéressent à l'or noir préfèrent mettre en avant leur « passion » pour des ressources naturelles plus propres.

Si l'argent promis arrive jusqu'aux racines du mal dénoncé, il ne faudra pas s'en plaindre. Après tout, que la forêt en péril suscite autant d'intérêt aujourd'hui prouve une relative moralisation des politiques internationales, même si elles sont dictées par des motivations économiques. « Pour les États-Unis, c'est de l'argent bien dépensé, avait affirmé Jeffry Burnam, sous-secrétaire d'État adjoint à l'Environnement. Nous ne demandons rien en retour. Il n'y a pas d'arrière-pensée politique, seulement un objectif géostratégique. Nous le faisons parce que c'est nécessaire. » La distinction entre politique et géostratégie pourra sans doute paraître trop subtile à établir. Certes, les arbres qui ne seront pas arrachés, grâce à l'argent des États-Unis et de la France, devront leur survie à l'extraction des barils de brut du golfe de Guinée. N'est-ce pas finalement le résultat qui compte?..."

 

Monkeys uncle

Excerpt article by Jessica Allen, Washington File staff writer posted on the US Department of State, United States Diplomatic Mission to Italy website: "...Why Does America Want to Help Save African Rain Forests?" (Rep. Royce outline commitment at House hearing) Washington.

"...Why is the United States Government donating $25 million to preserve a forest halfway around the globe in sub-Saharan Africa? What compels America's representatives, agencies and the Department of State to devote so much time and money -- up to $53 million by 2005 -- on this area and issue?...On March 11, House Africa Subcommittee Chairman Ed Royce (Republican of California) told government officials, legislators, the press and interested on-lookers why the U.S. cares about "Saving the Congo," the world's second largest forest. According to Royce, when a tropical rain forest is destroyed by overlogging and other industrial development, its precious biochemical information that could spark advances in medical, agricultural, and industrial technologies is lost forever. Royce added that it is important to realize that as the forest is depleted so are the natural mechanisms that provide the world with clean air and water. And if clean air and water, possible cures for diseases, and the evolvement of technology and agriculture are not sufficient reasons to save the Congo rain forest, "the 20-plus million people who rely on its resources to survive are."...According to the Environment and Development Group, a respected non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to conservation worldwide, American efforts in the Congo River basin have been a "worthwhile enterprise" that is "worthy of support."

While the Subcommittee gave answer to the "why" of saving the Congo River Basin, the question of "How it can be saved?" was raised of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Africa Constance Berry Newman. "The people [of the Congo] and their government are concerned about the deterioration of their environment and want action to be taken," she said. In order to help them, she explained, USAID is funding an initiative called the Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) that facilitates partnerships with NGOs to help preserve the vanishing rain forest...The U.S. official said CARPE works to improve logging policies and practices, enhance protected areas within a lived-in landscape, encourage better environmental governance, and strengthen local resource management systems. To accomplish these goals, Newman said, CARPE partners with a variety of environmentalist organizations and wildlife protection agencies around the globe by supplying funds for the individual organizations to enact programs to meet their - and CARPE's - conservation goals...For example, CARPE funds the Wildlife Conservation Society to improve logging policies in the Congo through its work with Congolaise Industrielle des Bois, a major European logging company. "Such collaborations between logging companies and NGOs is new in the area but is proving to be a promising partnership," according to the U.S. official. "CARPE funds are also helping innovative resource management make citizens of the Congo feel a sense of ownership of the forest," said Newman. The U.S. partnership with field-based workers in the area has also improved monitoring of the forest through remote sensing techniques.

 

III. LAWS OF THE JUNGLE: DYNAMICS OF FORESTRY SECTOR REFORM IN THE CONGO BASIN

Excerpt from Forest Peoples Programme documment archives: "...The 2nd Heads of State Summit for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Central African Forest Ecosystems, was hosted in Brazzaville by the Republic of Congo in February. This meeting was a follow up to the 1999 Yaoune Declaration which enabled the Conference of Ministers in Charge of Central African Forests (COMIFAC) to establish a regional framework for the management of the biodiversity of the Congo Basin, now known as the COMIFAC Convergence Plan. This plan covers a diversity of region-wide initiatives to support better forest management and conservation, including the establishment of two transboundary protected areas between Central African Republic, Cameroon, Gabon and the Republic of Congo. Under the facilitation of the US for the past several years a regional conservation initiative known as the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) has been enabled through the COMIFAC framework. Funding for this has come mostly from the US and Europe, with Europes proportion expected to rise now that the French government has taken over the facilitation role within the CBFP...The CBFP facilitating the provision of financial support to extend the total area destined for protection in Central Africa through the establishment of 11 so-called landscapes or eco-regions covering up to 20% of the Congo Basin. The theory is that these landscapes will be zoned to accommodate a mixture of exploitation and conservation, with the involvement of local communities where appropriate. Experience elsewhere in the Congo Basin suggests, however, that the extension of conservation and logging will lead to increased restrictions against local communities, especially indigenous communities relying on hunting and gathering to secure their subsistence needs. This threatens to exacerbate the negative social and economic impacts on indigenous communities from conservation and logging...In most forest planning, local and indigenous communities have so far been unable to secure representation in discussions on new plans for forests, in spite of clear donor guidelines requiring this..."

 

WCS-Congo in September 2006

Excerpt from Environment News Service "Congo Creates New Wildlife Protection Areas" September 2006: "...These two new protected areas are a tremendous addition to the Republic of Congo's protected-area network and to global protection of biodiversity," said Dr. Paul Elkan who directs WCS's Congo program. "There is already a great deal of local community support for the creation of both these protected areas. We look forward to working with the Congolese Government in making these effective protected areas and foundations for landscape scale management in the Congo basin...The announcement comes in the wake of a deal brokered by the World Wildlife Fund to work with the Danzer Group, an international timber giant and leading producer of hardwood, to promote sustainable forest management through Africa. As part of the cooperation, Danzer's subsidiaries in Congo, which manage a combined total forest area of more than 12,000 square miles, are scheduled to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) starting in 2008. This is the largest concession in Africa currently being prepared for FSC certification...The announcement was made at the United Nations by Congo's Minister of Forestry Economy Henri Djombo along with officials from the U.S. based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Djombo said his nation depends on forest resources for much of its economic development, but it is also "deeply committed to biodiversity conservation and sustainable forest management..."

 

Greenpeace in August 2005

Excerpt from "Greenpeace Report on the site visit to CIB in Congo-Brazzaville, December 2004" (published August 2005): "...Rather than bringing sustainable development, the current logging system has been for many decades a driving factor for environmental degredation, corruption, social conflicts and poverty..In this highly problemmatic political, social and economic context, Greenpeace does not support any further expansion of logging in the region. Without drastic improvements in transparency and governanace in general in the Congo Basin and in the forest sectors in particular, it is an illusion to hope that industrial logging will bring sustainable development. There currently are few indications that sufficient political will exists - both in African States and at the international level - to implement the reforms required...A reform of the forestry sector will take time. Meanwhile, the logging industry in the Congo Basin is still impacting the lives of millions of people depending of these forests and the many thousands of people depending on the employment generated by the logging sector. Many of the active logging operations are occurring in areas which are very ecologically and culturally significant. Therefore, it is imperative and urgent to drastically improve the environmental and social performance of current logging operations. The FSC is currently the most credible global forestry certification system to guarantee responsible forestry standards. Greenpeace considers the development of FSC in the Congo Basin as one of the tools to help protect biodiversity and the communities depending on these forests. However, FSC is not yet established in any country of the region. It is important that multi-stakeholder national FSC working groups develop appropriate national standards for the Congo Basin. Meanwhile, FSC certifiers working in the absence of such national standards will need to take great care in interpreting FSC's international principles and criteria for forest management..."

 

Consortium of central African NGOs in February 2005

Excerpt from Rainforest Foundation website on COMIFAC: "....We, the undersigned non governmental organisations from Central Africa, which attended the ministerial conference of AFLEG or participate in the implementation of the Forest Code in the Democratic Republic of Congo, note the organisation of the 2nd commit of heads of state on the conservation and sustainable management of forest ecosystems in Central Africa, held in Brazzaville 29th January to 6th February 2005...We encourage such meetings which address important issues around sustainable management of forests in central Africa, and the challenges that Central African states and civil society face in assuring the well being of local communities. We think that regional cooperation is a key means of resolving common problems faced in the region...In the absence of an invitation for the undersigned organisations to participate in the summit, and in the absence of a consultation on the issues to be discussed, we present below, in writing, our observations and recommendations..."

 

Rainforest Foundation in July 2004

Excerpt from forests.org website: 'Pygmy' peoples today urged World Bank President James Wolfensohn to halt plans that could unleash a wave of destruction on the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they live. The 'Pygmys' put their case directly to Mr Wolfensohn during a video conference organised by the Rainforest Foundation UK, which is challenging Bank plans for a massive increase in industrial logging in the Congo. The Bank is pushing through new laws and a 're-zoning' of the Congo forests - the second largest in the world - that could see up to 60 million hectares (an area the size of France) handed out to logging companies..."You must not forget that the lives of indigenous peoples depend on the forest," Adolphine Muley of the Congolese Union of Indigenous Women (UEFA) told the World Bank President. "For a 'Pygmy' to talk of forest exploitation is to talk of reinforcing misery and poverty. You must put strategies in place so that the 'Pygmy' peoples are not damaged by the system that you are developing."..Simon Counsell, director of the Rainforest Foundation UK said: "The World Bank must strictly apply its own environmental and social safeguards, and fully respect international laws, to avoid what could be the world's first major environmental and humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century. We will be working to ensure that the people of Congo have a say on the future of their forests, and that the rights of the people living in the forest are respected," he said.Responding to these pleas, James Wolfensohn pledged the Bank to further discussion with Congolese people and non-governmental organisations about the future of the of the country's rainforests...The Rainforest Foundation first raised its fears about the threatened 'carve-up' of Congo's rainforests with the World Bank in early December 2003. The UK All Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes Region and Genocide Prevention (APPG), which has a membership of 148 MPs and Peers, has said that it "intends to follow closely" the World Bank's response to the concerns of the Foundation and Congolese campaigners..."

 

Study commissioned by Tropenbos International in 2004

Excerpt from "The Position of Indigenous Peoples in the Management of Tropical Forests". NB: Report notes that findings and opinions are those of the authors of and do not necessarily reflect the position of Tropenbos International, Wageningen, the Netherlands (2004): "According to different estimates there are about 300 million indigenous people in the world with approximately 5,000 different cultures, which represent the larger part of the world’s cultural diversity. At present, the close relationship between cultural and biological diversity is widely discussed...Since the United Nations (UN) officially declared 1993 as the “International Year of the Indigenous Peoples”, which was followed by the announcement of the “International Decade of the Indigenous Peoples” (1994-2004), the international discourse on indigenous peoples has gained in relevance. The Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be discussed by the UN in the course of 2004. All major international donor agencies like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) as well as agencies for nature conservation such as the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) have issued policy guidelines for dealing with indigenous peoples in the implementation of their activities. Many individual countries have also followed these practices, and most western countries have issued similar policy guidelines. Furthermore, at the level of the Convention of Biological Diversity and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the protection of indigenous knowledge and practices is officially recognized. This recognition of particular rights of indigenous peoples in the development process, and also in relation to nature conservation activities, is the core element within these policy guidelines and convention texts. At present, many of these agencies are already in the second or third phase of policy revisions based on practical experiences with the implementation of these guidelines. Another important aspect is the increased level of organization of the indigenous peoples themselves and cooperation between the indigenous organizations. Furthermore, the representatives of the indigenous peoples have become more vocal. Although a number of individual countries have issued national legislation in line with international development in this field, other countries are more hesitant to do so. Simply because of the fact that they do not recognize the existence of indigenous peoples within their national boundaries..."

 

NGOs on AFLEG in 2002

Excerpt from Forests Monitor press release 2002: "...In a statement issued today in Brazzaville, at the African Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Ministerial planning meeting, the NGOs said “almost everywhere, forest resources are under the threat of criminal activities by unscrupulous loggers, traders, and corrupt government officials.” The NGOs amongst other things, also blamed the “unhindered trade in “Conflict Timber" and the lack of transparency in the logging sector” for the high level of illegal logging. They alleged that “regional governments and the international community have shown a high degree of indifference to these issues”...In a number of action points presented in their statement, the NGOs called on “regional governments and the international community to impose a ban on trade in conflict timber and for donors and the international community to integrate conditionalities directed at addressing the problem of illegal logging and other forest crimes, in aid and grant negotiations”. They also called on developed countries “to halt support and subsidies to their national companies engaged in illegal logging in Africa...The African Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (AFLEG) Ministerial Planning meeting convenes against the background of widespread failure of forest governance and law enforcement which is directly undermining African nations attempt to achieve sustainable economic growth, societal equity, and environmental protection..The meeting was hosted jointly by the Republic of Congo and the World Bank and was sponsored by the United States, United Kingdom and France..."

 

European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid in 2002

Excerpt of closing address by Poul Nielson, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Conference "Speaking Out: Indigenous Views of Development and the Implementation of the EU Policy on Indigenous Peoples": "...The Commission believes that securing access to land and natural resources is crucial for Indigenous Peoples. The Commission is supporting land reform processes throughout Africa and Latin America with the aim of providing legal frameworks that respect existing customary rights over land. However, in the case of indigenous peoples, the question of land rights goes beyond the traditional debate between property rights and customary tenure as both these concepts inadequately reflect the complex link between indigenous communities and the territory in which they have lived on for centuries. Indeed the rights of indigenous people to gain authority on and autonomy in the management of their territory have been often overshadowed in land reform processes. It is time to reverse this tendency and support Governments in devising land tenure laws that adequately take into account the special relationship of these communities with their land. This is a precondition for successful land reform. Participation in project design, implementation and monitoring is clearly important for the responsiveness of donor-funded projects to the needs of indigenous people. However, the revision of the legal framework is often beyond the scope of projects. In this event, the EC, through its policy dialogue with Governments, will be further promoting the development of appropriate frameworks that recognise such rights while supporting indigenous peoples' capacity to articulate their needs and expectations in negotiations with Governments, both at the macro level and at project level..."

 

Forests Monitor in 2001

Excerpt from "Sold Down the River" by Forests Monitor: "...Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon - all contain large expanses of rainforest that have provided livelihoods, building materials and medicines to millions of forest-dependent peoples. These countries' governments, often under strict structural adjustment and liberalisation policies imposed by multilateral and bilateral creditors, are promoting industrial timber exploitation in most of their forest areas whilst local people have no opportunities to participate meaningfully in deciding how best to use forest resources. Although governments and creditors actively promote transnational private investment in the forestry sector, they have done little to establish a framework for controlling these private interests. Forestry and environment laws, which provide a minimum operating standard, are often unclear and are rarely enforced. This has led to forest policies that, on the one hand, undermine the livelihoods and increase the insecurity of local peoples whilst, on the other, facilitate the dominance of unaccountable corporations..the EU continues to play an important role politically and economically in Central Africa, directly and indirectly shaping forest development and conservation policies. Secondly, EU-based logging companies continue to be significant players in the forestry sector of the region, controlling most of the logging concessions and processing plants and playing an active role in international fora on forest management in the region. Thirdly, the EU continues to be the primary destination for exports of timber products from the region. For these reasons, EU member states, and the multilateral institutions of which they are a part, can and should play a strategic role in establishing sustainable principles by which EU-headquartered companies should operate..."

 

Bush meat crisis task force in 2000

Excerpt: Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, Capitol Hill event transcript 18 May 2000:

Q: Which logging companies are causing the problem? Are any of them American?

A (Mittermeier): For the most part, they're not American companies; they're European companies. And then there are Malaysian companies and other southeast Asian companies that are a major issue. The Malaysian companies are all over the tropical world. And the European ones are mostly French, some Germans, Belgian, thats the bulk of it. And the European ones can be pressured to some extent. The Malaysian ones are fairly difficult to deal with...

Goodall: ...I wanted to add one thing about the logging companies, too. I was talking to one of the big German companies and it was explained to me that the responsible companies - that is, the ones that aren't clearcutting had got together and created a code of conduct: how many trees per hectare can be cut, and the size of the trees you mustn't cut anything if it is smaller than a certain diameter. The governments refused to allow them to sign it, because that would have meant less revenue for the government.

 

IV: THREE TROJAN ELEPHANTS: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, INTERNATIONAL FINANCE INSTITUTIONS AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR

Excerpt from the Forest Peoples Programme briefing on indigenous peoples and private sector project financing (August 2006): "...This briefing looks at international financing for private sector projects from three different sources: the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Equator Principles Banks (EPBs) and Export Credit Agencies (ECAs). In 2006, these institutions adopted or are in the process of adopting new policy standards on indigenous peoples. The IFC is part of the World Bank Group (WBG) and until recently employed World Bank policies on indigenous peoples and other issues. On 1 May 2006, a new set of IFC private sector-specific policies came into force, including a new instrument concerning indigenous peoples. The EPBs are 41 major commercial banks that have signed on to a set of environmental and social standards known as the Equator Principles. These Principles are based on the policies employed by the IFC and were recently updated to be consistent with the new IFC policies. ECAs are national level bodies owned and operated by most industrialized countries that provide loans and export credits to their own national companies for their operations abroad....The activities funded by these institutions are increasingly affecting indigenous peoples and arguably may now have greater impact on the territories, livelihoods and cultures of indigenous peoples than the public sector funding provided by the multilateral development banks. Together, the IFC, EPBs and ECAs provide the vast majority of private sector project financing around the world. The EPBs alone financed US$125 billion of direct foreign investment in 2005 and ECAs are estimated to support twice the amount of oil, gas and mining projects as all multilateral development banks combined. In addition to financing projects on their own, these bodies often co-finance projects, including those part-financed by public sector bodies such as the World Bank and bilateral development agencies. In fact, it is increasingly common for projects to be financed by a variety of sources and, therefore, it is important to know who these various actors are and what their policies, if they have one, on indigenous peoples require..."

 

Current concerns in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Excerpt from World Bank Inspection Panel Recommendations: "...The EESRSP is supported by an IDA Credit of SDR 35.7 million and an IDA Grant of SDR 117.0 million to DRC, approved on September 11, 2003. The Credit and Grant Agreements became effective on December 5, 2003. The closing date is set for September 30, 2008. The TSERO was approved on December 8, 2005 and is supported by an IDA Grant of SDR 62.1 million to DRC. The Grant Agreement became effective on December 27, 2005. The expected closing date is December 31, 2006...The Organisations Autochtones Pygmées et Accompagnant les Autochtones Pygmées en République Démocratique du Congo submitted the Request on their own behalf and on behalf of affected local communities living in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Representatives of local communities of Kisangani in the Orientale Province, of Béni and Butembo in the Nord-Kivu Province, of Kinshasa/Mbandaka and Lokolama in the Equateur Province, of Inongo in the Bandundu Province, of Kindu in the Maniema Province, and of Bukavu in the Sud-Kivu Province, are signatories to the Request..The Requesters claim that they have been harmed and will be harmed by the forestry sector reform activities supported by the EESRSP and the TSERO. They are concerned about possible negative effects of a forest zoning plan under preparation with IDA support and fear the implementation of a new commercial forest concession system that may cause irreversible harm to the forests where they live and on which they depend for their subsistence..."

 

Financing industrial logging and forest sector reform

Excerpt from "Request submitted to the World Bank Inspection Panel" by Indigenous Pygmy Organizations and Pygmy Support Organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (October 2005): "...We have learned of the submission, in the near future, to the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors of a new project entitled, “Transitional Support for Economic Recovery Credit”, which should include a “forestry governance” component. To date, while we have not had access to the details of this component, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight in this request the risks and issues associated with this project, and with any other forest-related projects that may soon be submitted to the Board of Executive Directors. If such a project were to once again be approved as a credit that fails to implement the Bank’s safeguard policies and procedures, and if this credit were to be disbursed without prior consideration of the interests of the indigenous peoples, without assessing the impact that it could have on both the environment and the inhabitants of the forests in the DRC, the World Bank would run the risk of further marginalizing the indigenous peoples, thereby compounding errors committed in the past, as was the case in Cameroon, reinforcing the industrial approach outlined in the Forest Code, and consequently, exacerbating the threats that the Congolese legislative framework poses to the rights and survival of the indigenous peoples....World Bank failures and negligence within the framework of the EESRSP - Failure to implement Operational Directive 4.20 - The World Bank decided that Operational Directive 4.20 on Indigenous Peoples would not apply to EESRSP activities, by specifying that “the Project is not supposed to include activities for areas inhabited by indigenous peoples.”..The Bank’s rationale is inconsistent with the prevailing situation. The Pygmies, who are the first inhabitants of the region, have for centuries, and even millennia, inhabited and moved around in the forests in the Equateur and Orientale provinces. These indigenous Pygmy peoples are the “people of the forest.” Their existence, survival, cultural identity, and traditional knowledge are intimately linked to the forest, their element and life source which they revere..."

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