Non-implementation of the World Bank’s safeguard policies in the Democratic Republic of Congo - Letter from FPP to the President of the World Bank Group

Non-implementation of the World Bank’s safeguard policies in the Democratic Republic of Congo - Letter from FPP to the President of the World Bank Group

19 March 2004

James D. Wolfensohn World Bank Group 1818 H Street, N.W. Washington DC 20433 USA Fax: +1 202 522 3031 Email:


Dear President Wolfensohn,

The World Bank’s involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Forest Peoples Programme is writing in support of the recent open letter to the World Bank and the FAO sent by an alliance of over one hundred Congolese civil society and indigenous peoples’ organisations. As you will recall, the topic of the letter is the Democratic Republic of Congo’s extremely undemocratic policy making process in regards to the DRC’s Forest Code.

The DRC’s Forest Code was pushed through by the World Bank under an emergency loan, therefore lacking the implementation of the Bank’s own safeguard policies. In addition, the current non participatory process by which the implementing decrees are being developed is also being supported by the Bank. According to the information available to us, this piece of legislation was established without any effective consultation with the 35 million Congolese people that rely on the forest for their livelihoods and future. The Forest Peoples Programme was dismayed to learn that the legal framework established by the Code is one based almost entirely on industrial logging, without reference to the needs and aspirations of the peoples it will affect.

The main demand made by the Congolese civil society is for a complete moratorium on the elaboration of the Forest Code’s implementing decrees, and this to be maintained until the safeguards and policies of World Bank and the FAO are put into full effect for implementation and civil society’s effective participation is taking place fully and at all levels. They also demand that, with the full participation of civil society in the Congo, all of the texts relating to the Forest Code are revised to ensure that they comply with the World Bank’s safeguard policies and the Democratic republic of Congo’s international commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity and all other international conventions and forest-related commitments to which it is signatory.

We urge you, President Wolfensohn, to act upon the demands expressed both in this letter and the original Congolese letter to the World Bank, the FAO and the Congolese government officials, and to use your influence to halt this undemocratic and abusive process.

We look forward to learning how you plan to deal with this situation.

Yours sincerely

Emily Caruso Campaigns Assistant

cc:     Callisto Madavo,            VP for Africa           J5-507 World Bank Group           1818 H Street NW           Washington, DC 20433           USA                       Fax +1 202 477 0380           Email

Assistant Dir General, Forestry Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 00100 Rome Italy Fax : + 39 06 5705 3152 Email :