Cablegate: Drc Instills Corporate Social Responsibility


DE RUEHKI #1036/01 3291411
R 251411Z NOV 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary: Since the approval of the Forestry Code by the
Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (GDRC) in 2002,
the Congolese government has engaged in several mandatory reforms.
In fact, the GDRC has begun to recognize the multiple social,
economic, and environmental values of forests and is incorporating
the rights of traditional forest-users including local communities
into its approaches to forest management. In its strategy, the GDRC
has cancelled illegally-obtained logging contracts or those which
were approved before the new 2002 code, taken steps to implement
participatory forest zoning, and worked to insure that transparency,
participation of civil society, rural people and local communities
become part of the forestry conservation and management effort.
Introducing corporate social responsibility has appeared as a key
mile stone for the sustainable use of forestry resources. While the
DRC has made good progress on sound management of its forests with
various donors' support, there are still many steps which need to be
implemented. End summary.

Workshop to clear draft "Cahier des Charges"

2. (U) A workshop to analyze and propose principles and procedures
for local communities to share benefits from logging concessions was
held November 4-6, 2009 in Kinshasa under the authority of the DRC
Minister of Environment, Conservation of Nature, and Tourism and
sponsored by the German Agency for Development (GTZ), United States
Forest Service (USFS), USAID's Central African Regional Program for
the Environment, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). (Note: The
U.S. Department of State transferred funds to USFS to help organize
the workshop. End note.) The purpose of the workshop was to
discuss corporate social responsibility in the forestry sector and
to develop a model agreement ("cahier des charges" in French) and
approaches for timber companies to fulfill their social
responsibilities with local communities and nomadic peoples under
the DRC Forestry Code. The model of the agreement and negotiation
guidelines were drafted by a local NGO called the Council for
Environmental Defense by Legality and Traceability, known under its
French acronym CODELT.

3. (U) The workshop gathered key national stakeholders of the DRC
forestry sectors, including representatives of forestry companies,
NGOs, local communities, and the Ministry of Environment,
Conservation of Nature and Tourism staff. Participants divided into
four different committees. They analyzed the process of drafting a
cahier des charges and examined guidelines drafted by a preparatory
committee. They also reviewed a model cahier des charges and tools
for the training of key actors, including representatives of the
local communities, forestry companies, and forestry administration

Judicial and Technical Bases of the "Cahier des Charges"
--------------------------------------------- ----------

4. (U) DRC's 2002 Forest Code requires a contract ("cahier des
charges") between timber concessions and local communities and
nomadic peoples (pygmees). Ministerial Decree No. 28/CAB/MIN/ECT-T
27/JEB/08 of August 7, 2008 provides some models of forest
concession contracts with local and nomadic peoples. The workshop
focused largely on the social aspect of the contract. That is, the
Qfocused largely on the social aspect of the contract. That is, the
workshop explored ways for forest concessions to meet their social
infrastructural (i.e. hospitals, schools, roads and transport)
responsibilities to local people as required by the Forest Code.
This law requires the timber concessionaires to finance
socioeconomic infrastructures to benefit local communities.

5. (U) On a technical level, the workshop attempted to
operationalize the principles proposed at a forest concession title
workshop which took place from March 4 through 6, 2009. The March
2009 workshop proposed subsequent steps to be taken after the
process of title verification reduced the number of forestry
concession titles from 156 to 65. In order to achieve a sustainable
management of the new concessions, the March "post-conversion"
workshop suggested launching a participatory forest zoning process
to build consensus on which forest areas should be biodiversity
reserves, production forests, rural community forests, or converted
to other uses. (Comment: The guidelines are still in draft form.
End comment.) The workshop recommended that the "cahier des
charges" should be regarded as a summary of rights and
responsibilities between the forestry concessionaire and the local
community. The "cahier des charges" is a mechanism designed to
directly spread forestry-sector revenues and foster local economic
development. In order to comply with the provisions of Ministerial
Decree No. 28, the concessionaire must prepare a management plan and

have it approved by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation of
Nature and Tourism within four years from the date of the conversion
of the forestry titles. During the intermediate period, the
concessionaire would work on the basis of a business plan.

Workshop Boosts CSR in Forestry

6. (U) The workshop enhanced tools already used in the field, and
paved the way for the implementation of key steps decided during the
March 2009 post-conversion workshop. All the stakeholders agreed on
key principles that may guide the implementation of corporate social
responsibilities within the DRC forestry sector: the social
agreement engages reciprocally both sides, the payment should be
done at two levels (construction of socioeconomic infrastructures on
a per cubic-meter of harvested timber payment basis and in-kind
payment for actions of common interest. End note.)

7. (U) First of all, beneficiaries would be communities and omadic
peoples holding a customary use of the concession; which means that
there would be as many agreements as local communities are
identified by the participative zoning area (Note: Local
communities do not own the forest, which belongs to the central
government. They have certain rights of use listed in the Forest
Code. These rights were established in 1960 and are now enshrined
in the new code, but local people have not been subsequently
informed or aware of the law. Consequently, many communities
mistakenly believe they own the land. End note.) The proposals
from the workshop would require that a map be attached to the
agreement defining the boundaries of the local communities' forest,
as well as listing the specific local community affected by the
agreement. Secondly, a management committee would be set up to run
the fund made available by the concessionaire. The fund would remain
under the management of the concessionaire, who would recruit
manpower within the local community. The concessionaire would
compensate the local community for any damages. Thirdly, the local
community would collaborate with the concessionaire to fight against
illegal logging and poaching and also participate in a sustainable
management of forest resources. A local committee would be set up
and led by the administrator of the territory. Finally, the
agreement signed by the local community and the forestry company
would be publicized, and put into a national register.

8. (U) Comment: The workshop engaged different stakeholders
successfully to deepen their perspectives of the DRC forestry
sector. In this way, it will help to avoid traditional
misunderstandings often prevalent in the DRC during the
implementation of policies and will add substantial clarity toward a
sustainable use of the resources of the world's second-largest rain
forest. However, the process initiated by the post conversion
workshop has been slow to occur, according to some observers.
Reform in the DRC forestry sector is an uncompleted task and it is
lagging behind the time frames stipulated in the laws and decrees
for this process. Unnecessary delays have already occurred as the
draft "cahier des charges" must be validated by yet another
workshop. Moreover, some participants pointed out weaknesses in the
process. They alleged that the period of four years required to
Qprocess. They alleged that the period of four years required to
prepare the environmental plan is too short, and some provisions of
the agreement simply ignore the pre-existence of the civil law in
the country. Additionally, there is no insistence on taking into
account the eventual pre-existing planning for provincial
development. End comment.


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