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DR Congo to cancel two-thirds of logging contracts

Source:  Copyright 2008, Reuters
Date:  October 6, 2008
Byline:  Joe Bavier
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Democratic Republic of Congo plans to cancel more than two-thirds of its timber logging contracts under a World Bank-backed review aimed at cleaning up corruption in the sector, its environment minister said on Monday.

The central African state is home to the world's second-largest tropical forest after the Amazon, and the government is also concerned illegal logging is depleting a valuable resource and damaging the environment.

Logging, mining, and land clearance for farming are eating away at the Congo Basin, which accounts for more than a quarter of the world's tropical forest, at a rate of over 800,000 hectares annually, an area roughly the size of Crete.

In partial results of the review of 156 contracts released in Kinshasa on Monday, a government panel found only 46 deals lived up to minimum legal standards and international norms.

The remaining agreements were expected to be canceled, Environment Minister Jose Endundu told ...

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