Thursday, January 24, 2008

Forestry is for profits not people

Not only has the World Bank been ignoring the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Democratic Republic of Congo forests - the Pygmies - in its promotion of the logging industry , the World Bank has failed to demonstrate any benefits for the local inhabitants . Who says so ? The World Banks itself says so .

"Unless strong measures are taken to ensure that the benefits reach local people, the concession system will not make the expected contribution to poverty alleviation of the local people," it noted.

A report, compiled by the bank's inspection panel, followed complaints by indigenous pygmy groups that the reforms had disregarded the rights of millions of forest-dependent people and ignored the existence of between 250,000 and 600,000 pygmies whose lives depend on the forests. According to the World Bank report, the benefits from the industrial harvesting of trees, at the core of the policy and administrative reform, are not going to the people living in and around the forest. Promised benefits to the communities from the concessions such as schools, clinics and other facilities, have also not materialised. The bank's forest projects promoted the interests of asset-stripping logging companies over indigenous groups who are dependent on the forests .

"Bank forest economists admit that they cannot point to a single example of industrial logging in the tropics alleviating poverty or delivering durable economic benefit..." said Patrick Alley, Global Witness Director

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