Réseau Ressources Naturelles, the project partner in DRC, published the first DRC Annual Forest Transparency Report for 2011 on 14 June. The first report shows the state of transparency and governance in the country's forest sector, and highlights critical gaps and areas of improvement.
"Our aim is to achieve good governance and transparency in the forest sector in the country, which means the proper implementation of numerous norms. Most of the Laws are here. What's needed is implementation" said Joseph Bobia, RRN National Coordinator. According to him, the Free Prior Informed consent of people should be a priority, as communities need to be consulted when a project affecting their forest is about to start.
The 2011 Report Card has been elaborated by several civil society actors and is built on 20 key indicators around the availabilty of information related to the forest sector.
Mrs. Vivianne Faida stated that "the production of numerous legal and regulatory texts is not enough to achieve real progress in the forest sector. The current situation shows that reform stalled because of a lack of political will. Forests are only considered from an industrial point of view, which fails to deliver benefits to the population, in contradiction with provisions in the Constitutions". A Freedom of Information law as well as both the Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union and REDD all have the potential to improve this situation.
Réseau Ressources Naturelles also recommends to the government to adopt the draft decree on community forestry, to maintain the current moratorium on new forest concessions until all lessons from the conversion process of old logging titles are drawn, and to realize a participative micro-zoning.
The Ministry of Environment, Conservation of Nature and Tourism should publish all logging concession contracts and their annexes, such as concessions maps and management plans; and strengthen transparency requirements in the forest sector in general.
The international community should maintain its transparency requirements related to economical governance matrix and use its influence to maintain the moratorium on new forest concessions until the aforementioned conditions are met.