The French Environment Minister and President of COP21, Ségolène Royal, has raised the possibility of compensating countries that protect their forests.
Royal was speaking in the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to the second largest tropical forest on the planet. Her visit came after the DRC’s interim Minister of Environment Elvis Mutiri wa Bashara confirmed that the country was considering lifting the moratorium on new industrial logging concessions.
Royal said: “Countries that make the effort to protect forests should obtain compensationbecause they […] are allowing the world to breathe.”
Singling out the DRC, which had kept its moratorium in place since 2002, she added that work to protect forests should also “produce economic development and income for local populations.”
For his part, Mutiri stated that the DRC could not lift the moratorium while negotiations regarding compensation remain underway.
National and international NGOs had reacted with alarm (FW213) to the DRC’s initial announcement that it might lift the moratorium, saying that it would expose the world’s second largest tropical rainforest to devastation, its people to social abuse and corruption, and would undermine efforts to combat climate change.
Image: Forest community in the DRC (Nick Hobgood via Flickr)