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Mass Deforestation in Congo Basin Will Lead to Poverty – Global Issues

Sylvie Djacbou, Communicating with Indigenous Communities and Inclusion in Civil Society Around the Impact of Cameroon’s Growth and Employment Strategy through Structural Projects such as Agri-Industry on Indigenous Communities. @inside their sacred forest, Assok / Mintom, South Region Cameroon
  • Idea by Sylvie Djacbou Deugoue (Yaound)
  • Joint press service

The growing tension between economic growth and healthy forest life over the years has led to the destruction of some of the world’s oldest forests and to the poverty of the communities there. . This massive deforestation has resulted in the expropriation of indigenous and local communities from their ancestral lands without their consent, increased carbon emissions, migration and the disappearance of culture and languages ​​of indigenous communities.

Instead of developing our country, the changes are impoverishing forest communities and making entire regions more vulnerable to climate change and disease.

The Congo Basin Rainforest, larger than the US state of Alaska, refers to six Central African countries (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Central African Republic) and is a forest of forests. The second largest tropical rain in the world after the Amazon.

Recently, just a few weeks after International Forest Day on the 21stst of March, the third part of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published shows us that much work remains to be done to limit the effects of climate change. And the Congo Basin forest is one of the front lines in the war.

This report once again sounds the alarm that, if nothing is done, the world could be on a path to climate degradation and extreme poverty.

By the end of this year, tUnited Nations annual climate conference (COP 27) will take place in Egypt, where world leaders will meet to agree on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including SDG 15 aims to “protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, prevent and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.” “.

We are expecting more action and less false promises from African leaders and for Africa’s youth to take the lead in holding their leaders accountable.

As we prepare for this event, it is important to think about how we can use that international platform to promote national governments, especially those from the Congo Basin, act with the speed they have pledged to tackle the climate change crisis.

The current economic development model in the Congo Basin is rooted in massive deforestation: more and more people are being concessioned to large-scale land for industrial agriculture such as palm oil and rubber.

The loss of the forest ecosystem – and thus the community’s spiritual and cultural heritage – is irreversible. The rainforests of the Congo Basin are being phased out.

The impact isn’t just economic: When forests are cleared, the carbon they store is released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. According to what’s recent Global forest monitoring data, in 2021, 3.75 million hectares of virgin rainforest (an important area for carbon storage and biodiversity) has been lost at a rate of 10 football fields per minute.

Cameroon, for example, has lost more than 80 thousand hectares of primary forest by 2021, almost twice the area of primary forest was destroyed in 2019. Democratic Republic of Congo has lost nearly half a million hectares of primary forest by 2021 (Increased by nearly 29% compared to 2020). Only to enrich a small minority of selfish elites.

At this rate, there is no way to reverse deforestation by 2030, because commit of leaders from 141 countries at last year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Even so, Cameroon still grants a company, like Camvert SA, tax-free to do so palm plantation project nearly 60,000 ha. This will not only lead to deforestation but also biodiversity loss along with loss of community livelihoods, but also plunge communities in areas into extreme poverty.

A forest resident told me: “Before this company, I was able to collect non-timber forest products and sell them. I can also seek treatment there when I am sick. Now, there will be no more forests and we are left to ourselves.”

Sylvie Djacbou Deugoue

However, the benefits of these deals do not reach the locals. They were rarely hired when these concessions were developed. My research shows that workers with experience in these concessions tend to come from other parts of the country and – even when local community members are hired – they are paid. a pittance.

While companies often brag that they are promoting development by paving roads, it is important to note that these roads are used primarily to supply timber to the market and are not open to the community. .

Congo Basin countries are not immune: The World Bank’s 2022 report shows the country is a long way from achieving significant poverty reduction, with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing people below the poverty line miserable and still fixed.

In the DRC, a IGF . Report showed that more than $10 million in forest royalties were not remitted to the state treasury between 2014 and 2020.

What’s worse, climate change that worsens deforestation will only add to poverty. Latest IPCC Report It is estimated that in the next decade alone, climate change will push 32-132 million more people into extreme poverty.

Yes, we need to grow. But at what cost? And who will that development benefit? Forest protection is a matter of preserving the livelihoods of local communities and eradicating poverty. Giving more forest concessions will not make us richer than we are now.

We need alternative development models that are relevant to the lives of indigenous communities and promote healthy forests. By leveraging the wisdom and knowledge of indigenous peoples, in forest management there is the possibility of developing while securing the land of the community and contributing to the bring global warming back below critical (2°C).

Achieving sustainable development and poverty alleviation in the Congo Basin will involve effectively stopping deforestation and implementing climate policies that ensure social equity and meaningful participation by all. community in the decision-making process.

The time has come for the various policy working groups on forest issues in the Congo Basin to consider more than their individual economic interests and more to the long-term need for healthy forests. strong for healthy life.

© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service

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