ROC: About CIB's operations (Pokola, Dabo and Loundougou)

*Excerpt from Forests Monitor report, which is well-researched and provides extensive citations : "Feldmeyer’s subsidiary in Congo is CIB, headquartered in Ouesso. Feldmeyer has a majority interest in CIB, which was created in 1968, and tt Timber International has a minority interest. The company has been the only commercially successful operation in the north of the country on a consistent basis...CIB has three concessions in the north of the country, totalling 1.15 million hectares - Pokola, which is its main base (480,000ha), Kabo (280,000ha) and Loundougou (390,000ha), the latter being held in reserve for future exploitation. The concessions are located in primary rainforest of high biodiversity. The area has a rich cultural heritage, being home to a relatively large number of forest hunter-gatherers, such as the Mbendjele and Baka, as well as many farming and fishing, Bantu and Ubangian language speaking sedentary ethnic groups, notably the Sangha Sangha, Bongili, Kabounga, Pomo and Kaka....Annual production is currently 250,000 cubic metres, with around 60% being processed in two sawmills at Kabo and Pakola.120 The company exports about 100,000 cubic metres of logs and 40,000 cubic metres of sawn timber each year.121 The two main species harvested are Sapelli and Sipo.

CIB used to float its logs down to Brazzaville and then send them to Pointe Noire by railway. This route has become so unreliable (due to civil war and problems with the run-down railway) that CIB has been obliged to construct a 150 kilometre road from Pokola to connect to the Cameroon road network, so it can send its logs by road through Cameroon for export from the Cameroonian port of Douala. This has enabled CIB to maintain production, even during the recent civil war, unlike other European operators in the country (see Congo (Brazzaville)). The road also, however, facilitated the commercial bushmeat trade in the area.

CIB is reported to be well regarded by most local people. There is some resentment among certain local groups who feel their traditional heritage is being exploited without adequate redistribution of the benefits. Yet the CIB is also perceived of as the local agent of development and provider of basic services, which the government has had difficulty doing. Its employment and living conditions are reported to be good and it operates within the law.126 The concessions are adjacent to the Nouabalé Ndoki National Park and are home to a substantial Pygmy population — a number of whom work for CIB rather than Bantu villagers. The very success of CIB’s venture has attracted newcomers to the locality and Pokola has grown from a small fishing village of 120 in 1972 to one of the largest centres in north Congo, with a population of around 8,000. The increased activities in the area have significantly increased pressure on natural resources and, according to a World Bank study, wildlife has been largely decimated in a 20 kilometre band around Pokola...

The company is considered to be one of the more economically sustainable and well-managed operations in the Central African region. However, CIB’s operations have not been without criticism. The facilities provided in Pokola are of a high quality but are provided by the company primarily for employees based in the town — other local people have varying degrees of access to them... A study conducted by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in 1996 found that traditional tenure, resource access rights and resource management systems, particularly those of the Pygmies, were rapidly breaking down within the Pokola concession... The company has great influence in the area and does not welcome potential critics. It invited selected international conservationists to visit the pilot projects in 1999, as long as the company approved the composition of the visitors. To date this visit has not taken place. In 1996, the company was reported to have used its influence to prevent a potential critic from visiting its concession area. Recent field missions to the CIB concessions by the international environmental NGO World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) found that the company still has some way to go to demonstrate its commitment to achieving sustainable forest management to FSC standards..WWF complemented the company, however, on its professional harvesting techniques and technical capacity to improve its operations further and praised the collaboration with WCS regarding bushmeat hunting.

CIB has received positive attention over recent years for its activities regarding the commercial bushmeat issue, particularly a joint initiative with the US-based NGO Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) (see below). The company has taken steps to discourage bushmeat hunting and to prevent the commercial exploitation of bushmeat in its concessions. It has established an education programme for local people and issued instructions to its workers not to illegally hunt endangered species. A "Protocole d’Accord" was signed in December 1995 to this effect by members of the local communities of Pokola and Ndoki and by CIB. A partnership agreement between CIB, WCS and the Ministry of Forest Economy (MEF) was signed in June 1999, consolidating work to establish CIB’s forest management units as buffer zones to the Nouabalé Ndoki National Park and to reduce the levels of bushmeat hunting in the concession areas. The park is being managed by WCS and is considered to be of considerable importance because of its high biodiversity. In the two pilot areas, WCS claim that bushmeat hunting has declined by 60%. However, recent evidence in the nearby community of Pokola, which is the largest timber-based settlement in the area, suggests that hunters may have simply switched their activities to other parts of the forest...WCS and CIB are sceptical that local communities have the capacity to manage resources responsibly. Partly in consequence of this belief, WCS employ eco-guards armed with automatic rifles to patrol the buffer zone and logging roads around the national park. This is very unpopular with local people who see this as a gross violation of their traditional rights.

In some cases, important elephant poachers are made eco-guards in an attempt to take them out of the poaching circuit. It has been reported in the past that these guards often intimidated local people, and allowed their former poaching colleagues to pass freely through checkpoints but confiscated local people’s small amounts of game. The system has created distrust and antagonism between some conservation workers and local people and, in certain places, may have strengthened the position of some of the best-connected poachers who are commissioned to hunt trophy animals. If these issues are not tackled in an open and transparent manner, based on input from local people, this potentially positive initiative may not bear the fruit it should.

Comments: Enregistrer un commentaire

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?