Cross-border flows of timber in the Great Lakes Countries

Cross-border flows of timber in the Great Lakes Countries

DR Congo - 01 November, 2012

TBI DR Congo organised together with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN-DR Congo), a workshop on cross-border flows of timber between DR Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and national and local strategies to control the timber trade between these four countries.

On the east of DR Congo extraction of artisanal wood is an important activity. These woods are exported to neighbouring countries (Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi) and constitute an important economic activity that involves several actors. Often these activities are carried out illegally and the socio-economic impact of the exploitation and commercialization of this timber in the country where they are exploited is too low. Thus, two studies were initiated by IUCN-RD Congo for analyzing the regulation of artisanal wood in DR Congo and the sub-region of the Great Lakes and to identify the different actors involved in this sector.

Studies revealed that in DR Congo and even at the sub-region level, there is no regulation on the marketing of sawn timber. The sector is characterized by a multitude of actors. Among these actors, public services itself contain over 80% of the actors and the number of taxes and charges amounted to 107 among which only about ten are formal. These numbers reflect the disorder in which the timber trade takes place in the Great Lakes region.

The workshop brought together around thirty participants representing the stakeholders involved in cross-border flows of timber, namely the local and national forestry administrations, the government revenue-generating services, the private sector representatives and representatives of civil society. Participants discussed about the following themes: products and actors involved in cross-border flows of timber; the Congolese legal framework and the problematic of cross-border trade of timber at the national and provincial levels; strategies involving all stakeholders in the control of timber at the borders.

At the end of the group work, the participants formulated some recommendations:

Recommendations to the Government:

  • To revise as soon as possible, the legal and regulatory forestry framework
  • To regulate artisanal wood
  • To regulate the allocation of forests to local communities

Recommendations to the technical and financial partners:

  • To support administrative services in the implementation of traceability programs and control as well as the implementation of the law in the production and export of timber