Programme Paper

Sam Lawson

Although nearly all industrial logging in the DRC is licensed in some way, there are widespread and serious breaches of regulations in the production of much of this timber. 

Children slide down logs 13 June 2008 in Katwe, 160km north of the provincial capital Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Armed groups which continue to roam the lawless east of the country control much of the logging and charcoal industry. Photo by LioneChildren slide down logs 13 June 2008 in Katwe, 160km north of the provincial capital Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Armed groups which continue to roam the lawless east of the country control much of the logging and charcoal industry. Photo by Lionel Healing/AFP/Getty Images.

This paper is part of a broader Chatham House study which assesses illegal logging and the associated trade. The study, which began in 2006, measures the nature and extent of the problem, and the effectiveness of the response by both the government and the private sector in a number of producer, processing and consumer countries. 

  • Although nearly all industrial logging in the DRC is licensed in some way, there are widespread and serious breaches of regulations in the production of much of this timber.
  • A confused regulatory framework and lack of rule of law make independent verification or legal or sustainable timber production virtually impossible.
  • Nearly 90% of logging in the country is illegal or informal small-scale logging to supply domestic and regional markets, and the volume of this kind of harvest is estimated to have doubled in the last six years.
  • There is little transparency in the forest sector, law enforcement is weak, and government capture of revenue is limited.
  • While some progress has been made in recent years, including the implementation of measures to tackle the misuse of artisanal permits and the promotion of multi-stakeholder participation in decision-making, there is a great deal left to do if forest governance is to improve.

This report was amended in July 2014, as follows: corrections to Table 2, which outlines the gaps in legislation identified by the independent monitor; edits to the section on transparency on pages 12-13, which had incorrectly stated that the Forest Code requires that five year operational plans are shared with local communities; and amendments to the description of FSC's dissociation from Danzer.