Gateway to international timbertrade

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Forest resources


According to the 2018 study conducted by FRMi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had around 114.5 million hectares of forest in 2017, representing 49% of the total land area. Only about 10% of the DRC's forests are currently allocated for logging (WWF-DRC/FRMi).

The forest legislation (2002) divides the national forest territory into a public domain and a private domain of the state. (Verifor, 2008).

DRC’s forests cover closed high rainforests, open forests and woody savannah. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is part of Africa’s Congo Basin, together with Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. DRC is the most biologically diverse country in Africa and one of the most important centres of biodiversity in the world, encompassing over half of Africa’s tropical forest.  Overall, the DR Congo is known to have more than 15,000 plant and animal species, including 450 mammals, 1,150 birds, 300 reptiles and 200 amphibians, and more than 3,200 endemics such as the okapi, Congolese peacock, and bonobo (WWF-DRC). Mountains and high plains are at the eastern border with Uganda and Rwanda, including the Virunga National Parc, home of the famous mountain gorilla.

The country has suffered decades of tyranny followed by a civil war that has claimed the lives of many people. The chaos of the Mobutu decades and the failure to invest in infrastructure has meant that, up to now, relatively little of DRC’s forests have been exploited industrially (Fern, 2006).

Although the deforestation rate is relatively low compared with that of many other tropical countries (0.2% over the last 25 years), it represents an area of over 300,000 ha per year in the case of this vast country. It is among the highest deforestation figures in the Congo Basin and is rising. Main drivers of deforestation in DRC are slash and burn agriculture, uncontrolled bushfires, charcoal production for local and regional markets, cattle ranching, and, last but not least: illegal (artisanal) logging.

The DRC Forest Code (2002) distinguishes three categories of forests:

  • Forêts Classées (classified forests), such as Nature reserves, Fauna Reserves, Recreational Forests and National Parks – public domain: these forests are often called ‘protected areas’, but shouldn’t be mistaken with the next category of protected forests. The forests have been defined by an classification act and have juridical limitations on user rights and exploitation, based on their ecological values. Classified forest shall make out at least 15% of the total DRC territory.
  • Forêts protégées (protected forests) are those that are not defined by a classification act and they have less restrictions on user and exploitation rights. Protected forests can be part of a concession contract, for a term not exceeding 25 years. Also, a local community can obtain concession rights on the protected forest, for a part or the total area, when the community has customary rights on that forest. (Examples are the artisanal logging permit and harvesting permit).
  • Forêts de production permanente (permanent production forests) are subtracted from the protected forests, by public inquiry. The Forest Code’s regulations on exploitation apply. Forest concessions and Local community forest are examples of permanent production forests.

(Source: atlas forestier interactif RDC – WRI)

Production and export

The main logging areas are Mai-Ndombe, Equateur, Mongala and Tshopo, which are generally close to the Congo River and its larger tributaries. Most logging companies (nearly 95% of the administrative area) are foreign-owned (WRI atlas DRC).

Very few logging companies are present in the DRC, with only two groups of companies producing more than 10,000 m3/year (FRMi, 2018). In 2019, the timber industry sector was made up of 25 companies, 15 of which are currently active. Currently, the largest in terms of forest surfaces are SODEFOR, MANIEMA UNION, BOOMING GREEN, FORABOLA, CFT, IFCO and ETABLISSEMENT LOLA KITENGE (ERAIFT, 2019).

In DRC, formal wood production has never exceeded 400,000 m3 of roundwood or logs during the last 10 years. Industrial lumber production in the DRC is subject to a quarterly reporting regime to the relevant state agencies. In 2016, the four largest producers (COTREFOR-IFCO / MOTEMA / SODEFOR / FORABOLA) harvested 91% of the 206,000 m3 that were produced (FRMi, 2018). The project to support sustainable forest management (AGEDUFOR) has established a database covering the industrial forest sector production.

The companies in the DRC are fully integrated, they all transform a portion of their logs that are not exported, and there is no trade in logs between industrial operators within the country.

According to AGEDUFOR (2019), the industrial lumber logging permits issued to companies in 2018 allowed them to harvest an estimated gross volume of 1,760,347 m3, however, actual production for that same year was 173,384 m3.

The below table includes all timber stakeholders and not just the production of logging companies.

According to Chatham House (2014), nearly 90% of logging in the DRC is illegal or informal, small-scale logging to supply domestic and regional markets. The volume of this harvesting is estimated to have doubled in the last six years, in response to a growing population and income levels.

About 20 timber species out of 91 commercially valuable species (DIAF, 2018) are harvested and represent 98% of the last 4 years' production, including 40% of the production which is concentrated on 3 species (Wenge, Afrormosia and Sapelli) and about 80% of the production on these 11 species:

  • Afromosia (Pericopsis elata)
  • Wenge (Millettia laurentii)
  • Tali (Erythrophleum suaveolens)
  • Khaya (Khaya grandifoliola)
  • Sipo (Entandrophragma utile)
  • Tola (Prioria balsamifera)
  • Tiama (Entandrophragma angolense)
  • Padouk (Pterocarpus soyauxi)
  • Iroko (Milicia excelsa)
  • Kosipo (Entandrophragma candollei)
  • Boss éclair (Guarea cedrata)

According to national legislation currently in effect in the DRC (2002 Forest Code), forest concessionaires have the obligation to transform 70% of the logs they harvest within a processing unit (sawmill, rotary cutting unit, etc.). The country has a very low timber processing capacity - there are only 15 sawmills around Kinshasa, Mai-Ndombe and Kisangani and just 1 plywood factory in Kinshasa.

China and Europe are the main export markets, with a growing share of the Asian market and a sharp decline in the European market.

Maritime transport to the port of Matadi from the interior of the country requires the transfer of logs transported by river on a rail or road link in order to bypass the Stanley Falls located on the river downstream from Kinshasa. As for the port of Matadi, it has a limited capacity. A second privately owned port, Matadi Gateway Terminal, was commissioned in Matadi in 2016 and appears to be more functional than the public port. However, it is mainly used for imports.

Legality framework


Forest governance

The Constitution defines the exclusive responsibilities of the central power, the exclusive responsibilities of the Provinces and the concurrent responsibilities of the central power and the Provinces.

The central power is empowered to legislate on forest matters (Forest Code), it can transfer certain responsibilities to the Province for the enforcement of forestry laws. However, forest concession contracts are signed by the MEDD (Ministre de l’Environnement et Développement Durable - Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development). Most of the prerogatives regarding forest concessions are entrusted to the central government (including its decentralised departments).

As for the institutions in charge of forest management, the relevant directorates are:

DIAF: Direction des Inventaires et Aménagements Forestiers (Forest Inventory and Management Directorate), in charge in particular of validating management and development documents and of monitoring and implementing them.

DGF: Direction de la Gestion Forestière (Directorate of Forest Management), in charge in particular of drawing up permits for industrial lumber cutting, validating timber sale contracts, issuing phytosanitary certificates and establishing forest sector statistics.

CCV: Cellule de Contrôle et de Vérification (Control and Verification Unit), in charge of supervising the proper implementation of forest regulations and verifying the performance of the General Secretariat's administrative units.

DRCE: Direction de la Règlementation et Contentieux Environnementale (Directorate of Environmental Regulations and Litigation), in charge of preparing the draft legal texts that are submitted to the validation committee.

DEP: Direction d’Étude et Planification (Directorate of Studies and Planning), in charge of preparing the national forest plan and the programme for the revival and development of the forestry sector and nature conservation.

DCN: Direction de la Conservation de la Nature (Nature Conservation Directorate), in charge of managing hunting and formerly of managing quotas of endangered species of wildlife and plants within the framework of the International Convention on Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The latter role is currently carried out by the ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature - Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature).

DANTIC: Direction des Archives et Nouvelles Technologies de l'Information de la Communication (Directorate of Archives and New Information and Communication Technologies), in charge of collecting and disseminating all information on the state of the environment throughout the national territory and promoting the spread of this information using appropriate means.

CPE: Coordinations Provinciales de l’Environnement (Provincial Environmental Coordination), in charge of coordinating all activities relating to the environment, nature conservation and those affecting the sustainable forest management processes in the provinces.

The most relevant legislation and regulations on forest management are as follows:

  • Law no. 011/2002 of 29 August 2002 on the Forest Code;
  • Ministerial order no. 034/CAB/MIN/EDD/03/03/BLN/2015 of 3 July 2015 outlining the procedure for the elaboration, verification, approval, implementation and monitoring of the management plan for a timber production forest concession;
  • Ministerial order no. 84/CAB/MIN/ECN-DD/CJ/RBM/2016 of 29 October 2016 outlining conditions and rules for the production of lumber;
  • Ministerial order no. 072/CAB/MIN/EDD/DRCE/00/AAN/2018 of 12 November 2018 establishing the model agreement constituting the social clause of the specifications of the forest concession contract;

Ministerial order no. 102/CAB/MIN/ECN-T/15/JEB/2009 of 16 June 2009 on the rules and formalities pertaining to forestry law enforcement.

Legal rights to harvest

Since August 2002, the Congolese public authorities, with support of the international donor community, reorganised the forest sector with the adoption of a new Forest Code. The Forest Code lays down a balanced management system integrating ecological, economic, as well as social factors. The new forest legislation divides the national forest territory into a public domain and a private domain of the state. The only forest exploitation titles are Forest Concessions, granted in the form of a contract to a concessionaire or to a local Community. On top of this, a concessionaire shall have the rights to harvest, by obtaining a harvesting permit (‘permis ordinaire de coupe’, ‘permis de coupe artisanale’, etc.).

The acquisition of a Forest Concession Contract (CCF - Contrat de Concession Forestière) in permanent production forests is preceded by a public inquiry and has a 25-year renewable validity, which is included in this CCF. Different procedures apply depending on the size of the concession (larger or smaller than 300,000 ha). Article 83 of the Forest Code stipulates that concessions must normally be acquired through open bidding, although discretionary attributions (by mutual agreement) are allowed in exceptional circumstances.

Current forest concessions are the result of the conversion of former forest titles (Supply Guarantees, Letters of Intent), following a review process to verify the legal validity of these titles, defined by Decree no. 05/116 of 24 October 2005 establishing the terms for the conversion of former forest titles into forest concession contracts and extending the moratorium on the granting of logging titles. New concessions remain impossible as long as the "moratorium" extended by Decree no. 05/116 of 24 October 2005 remains in effect.

In order to give proof of the legal rights to harvest, a forest management company must possess several documents: on its legal existence (RCCM, National ID no., etc.), on labour and local community rights, on the environment, on the forest's management and harvesting, on traceability, on transport, on sales and on obligations in terms of taxation and incidental taxes. The key documents are listed in the complete list pertaining to current legislation below (see key documents) 

Taxes and fees

Tax returns on timber production have to be in compliance with rules and regulations. Timber harvesting companies are required to declare, every quarter, to the forestry administration the harvested timber volume of the previous quarter. The tax return includes data on the production and processing of forest products and is the basis on which fees payable by a logging company are calculated. The taxes to be paid depend on the category of operator Examples of taxes to be paid:

  • Surface area tax
  • Felling tax
  • Reforestation tax
  • Deforestation tax
  • Tax on the operating license (permis de coupe de bois d’œuvre)
  • Export tax
Timber harvesting activities

According to ministerial order no. 84 of 29 October 2016 on conditions and rules for the production of lumber, the lumber logging regime includes two modes of production: industrial production and artisanal production (Art. 3).
 

1. Industrial production of lumber
Industrial lumber production is carried out by industrial companies under the terms of the forest concession contract and the forest management plan.

The creation of a concession is subject to a prior investigation as provided for in Article 84 of the 2002 Forest Code. The tendering procedure is regulated by decree no. 08/09 of 8 April 2008 establishing the procedure for the awarding of forest concessions. This procedure, which falls under the exclusive responsibility of the central level, is strictly applied for the attribution of logging concessions, which can under no circumstances be attributed by mutual agreement. Again, it should be noted that the logging concessions currently operating in the DRC are all the result of the former forest title conversion process.

For new attributions, the forest logging procedure involves a public enquiry prior to the creation of the forest concession, an attribution by auction, the signing of the forest concession contract and lastly, the actual concession operations.

In accordance with article 88 of the Forest Code, the forest concession contract consists of two parts, namely the contract itself which determines the parties' rights and obligations, and a specifications document which sets out the specific obligations incumbent on the forest concessionaire.

The concession's operations must be based on an approved forest management plan, broken down into a five-year management plan and an annual operating plan in accordance with articles 24 and 27 of ministerial order no. 034 of 3 July 2015, outlining the procedure for the elaboration, verification, approval, implementation and monitoring of the management plan for a timber production forest concession. Private forest operators can only have access to the resource by virtue of an appropriate authorisation (Art. 97 of the Forest Code). The procedure for obtaining an industrial logging permit is regulated by ministerial order no. 84/CAB/MIN/ECN-DD/CJ/RBM/2016 of 29 October 2016 on conditions and rules pertaining to lumber production. This permit, specifying the number of stalks and the estimated volume by species, and issued by the Minister in charge of forests, is valid for 1 year with the possibility of extending it for up to 2 years following a substantiated request.

In addition, this logging operation must be carried out in compliance with the standards outlined in the Operational Guides. These include the Management Guide from the timber production series, which establishes the management parameters guaranteeing the sustainability of the relevant resource in order to calculate the forest's maximum allowable output, and the Reduced Impact Logging Guide, which establishes felling standards. (DIAF, 2018).

Not only do management and harvesting standards need to be respected, the forest concessionaire is also required to comply with the environmental requirements contained in his/her environmental and social impact study or his/her environmental and social compliance plan in accordance with law no. 11/009 of July 9, 2011 on the fundamental principles of environmental protection, (articles 21 and 86) and its implementation measures.

 

2. Artisanal production of lumber
Unlike industrial logging, artisanal logging is carried out outside of a forest concession and falls under one of two categories: 1st and 2nd category. The first category is carried out by a natural person of Congolese nationality on a cutting area not exceeding 50 ha and using rudimentary equipment (machetes, axes, pit saws, heavy pullers). The second category is carried out by a natural person or a company governed by Congolese law over an area of between 100 and 500 ha using specific equipment. (art. 11, AM 84 of 2016).

In addition to the corporate statutes or RCCMs (documents proving the company is registered), both categories of operators enter the trade by obtaining a provincial licence in accordance with the relevant local regulations. Each category is required to build socio-economic infrastructures for the benefit of the local community bordering the forest.

Timber cutting is conditional on obtaining a permit for artisanal lumber cutting. The permit covering an area of 10 to 50 hectares allows the 1st category artisanal logger to harvest timber and the permit covering an area of 100 to 500 ha allows the 2nd category artisanal logger to harvest timber at an annual cut rate within the artisanal forest unit in accordance with the management plan. These two permits are issued by the province's Governor for a one-year period.
 

Traceability:
Regulations require both industrial and artisanal forest loggers to mark all trees that are felled or cut and to keep a site register. The provisions are contained in articles 66 to 70 of ministerial order no. 84/CAB/MIN/ECN-DD/CJ/RBM/2016 of 29 October 2016 on the conditions and rules pertaining to lumber production.

Stumps of harvested trees are hammer marked or painted according to regulatory requirements. Billets of timber and logs in forest yards must be marked according to the rules so that they can be easily traced. Markings required on logs and billets of timber are: the tree number, the log or billet number, the company stamp or hammer, number of the felling permit, record of the harvesting site of the tree. (Guide to legal documentation – WWF DRC).

Beginning in 2010, a new independent chain of custody system has been implemented in selected provinces in the DRC by the international verification company Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS). The system includes all best practice elements, including tamper-proof barcodes and computerized databases that allow reconciliation of timber volumes at different points in the supply chain. The chain of custody system (PCPCB) is tied to a new forest management information system also developed by SGS. While the system follows best practice, it has a number of fundamental flaws. The eastern provinces of the country were not covered by the system except only the western part of the country for all timber leaving through the port of Matadi. To date, the SGS system is at a standstill and is not operational. In any case, it is unclear how the new system can safely determine the legality of exports, since, according to IM-FLEG, the regulations governing the export of logs and sawnwood are not yet in place. It is also unclear how the new system can safely determine legality of exports anyway, since, according to the OI-FLEGT, the regulations governing the export of logs and sawn timber are still not complete.

Third parties' rights

The contribution of forestry enterprises to local development takes place at two distinct levels:

The first level consists of the payment of taxes and usage fees. Among these taxes is the cutting permit tax paid, which goes entirely to the province. The Forest Code (article 122) provides for the retrocession of 40% of the concession area tax to the decentralised administrative entities from which the timber originates, distributed as follows: 25% to the Province and 15% to the relevant decentralised entity. To date, 100% of this concession tax is collected by the Province in accordance with Ordinance-Law no. 13/001 of 23 February 2013 establishing the schedule of taxes, duties, fees and charges of the Provinces and Decentralised Territorial Entities as well as their distribution conditions.

The second level consists of a direct contribution from the concessionaire, established in the Specifications' social clause. This social clause defines the post-negotiation commitments between the logging company and the local community(ies) and/or indigenous people in return for the development of the forests located on their customary territory. Ministerial order no. 023CAB/MIN/ECN-T/28/JEB/10 of 7 June 2010, establishing the model agreement constituting the social clause of the Specifications of the forest concession contract, formalises this agreement. Each social clause is co-signed by the Administrator of the Territory in which the forest concession is located, as witness and guarantor of its correct implementation, and is then validated by the Forest Administration. These agreements intervene throughout the duration of the forest concession's attribution, their periodicity being conditioned by the harvesting schedule outlined in the management plan of each new 5-year management block to be exploited. For the funding of the socio-economic infrastructures that are identified by local populations, a "Development Fund" is created and receives contributions from the forest concessionaire on the basis of a rebate per cubic meter of timber taken from the forest concession. The amount of this rebate varies, depending on the relevant species' classification, from $2 to $5/m3 (USD).

As of now, new social clauses from the Specifications are negotiated, on the basis of ministerial order no. 072/CAB/MIN/EDD/DRCE/00/AAN/2018 of 12 November 2018 establishing the model agreement constituting a social clause in the forest concession contract's specifications.

Trade and transport

In the DRC, although the evacuation of timber in the eastern areas to the neighbouring countries' borders is done by road, the same does not apply for the western areas, which present another situation, where transport is subject to several load breaks:

  • Timber produced in the forest provinces of Tshopo (1,800 km), Tshuapa, Mongala, Equateur (650 km) and Mai-ndombe (350 km) is evacuated solely by river to Kinshasa. During this transport, the timber must be accompanied by a transit slip issued by the Forest Administration that oversees the logging operation, otherwise the timber cannot be allowed to transit (Art. 71 of ministerial order no. 84/CAB/MIN/ECN-DD/CJ/RBM/2016 of 29 October 2016 on conditions and rules for the production of lumber).
  • From Kinshasa, timber transported to the port of Matadi (350 Km) by rail or by road and that is subject to the export conditions set out below.

Under the terms of article 94 of law no. 011/2002 of 29 August 2002 relating to the Forest Code, the forest concessionaire has the exclusive right to harvest, within the concession area, all exploitable timber for local processing or for export.

This law also establishes log export quotas (art. 109) at a rate of 30% of annual production. This objective is far from being achieved because of the difficulties encountered in achieving further timber industrialisation in the country.

The regulation of 25 March 2014 states that all exports are subject to a series of formalities and procedures, namely:

  • Obtaining the import-export number from the General Secretariat for Trade.
  • Obtaining the Export Verification Certificate, following the control of the batch of product ready for export from the Congolese Inspection Office.
  • Obtaining the various authorisations required, wherever necessary.
  • Subscribing to an export licence and validating it with an approved commercial bank or the Central Bank of Congo.

Export procedures are set out in ministerial order no. 035/CAB/MIN/FINANCES/2016 and no. 005/CAB/MIN-COM/2016 of 23 March 2016 which are a harmonised procedures manual applicable to the Foreign Trade Single Window.

The classification of the species into categories (logs, squared timber, forks, sawn timber, edged timber, spurs, planed and peeled veneers, plywood, panelling, parquet, profiles, skirting board, pre-planed boards, strips, decking and brackets) and timber qualities (LM stands for superior quality, B for standard/medium quality and B/C for inferior quality) or the classification of its derived products shall be determined according to the timbers' price list that is valid for the period. Minimum prices for timber or its derivatives (according to species and quality) shall be set, taking into account all internal and external economic parameters, by the National Price List Commission. The ministerial order no. 018/CAB/MIN-ETAT/COMEXT/2018 of 21 October 2018 which supplements and amends ministerial order no. 006/CAB/MIN-ECONAT & COM/2009 of 17 March 2009 determines the organisation and functioning of the National Price List Commission regarding the prices of marketed products exported by the DRC.

 Accordingly, the export of timber requires the following documents:

  • The sales contract validated by the Forest Management Directorate, with the pro forma and final invoice attached, as well as the packing list or the specifications list; 
  • The authorisation required from the competent authority, in particular the CITES export permit issued by the CITES Management Authority for the protected species listed in Appendix 2.
  • The report on the batch ready for export, which is established by the Congolese Inspection Office following verification of the batch ready for export at the log yard.
  • The EB export licence covering the exported goods declaration. It is obtained from a commercial bank after validation by the Central Bank of Congo.
  • The phytosanitary certificate and certificate of origin obtained from the Forest Management Directorate after disinfection of the timber.
  • The export and shipment verification certificate issued by the Congolese Inspection Office following the usual checks. Lastly, the maritime freight will intervene.

Key documents

The below listed key documents are based on the applicable legislation and are considered to play a key role in demonstrating legal origin. The full list of applicable legislation is accessible here (Forest Legality Initiative).

Harvesting

Signed and stamped notarial articles of association
Notary
Duly approved Articles of Association. Document required for legal existence in the DRC.
Deed of deposit of the deeds or documents of the company's incorporation
Registry of the Trade Register
Document required for legal existence in the DRC.
Notice of creation or amendment of the deed of partnership
Notary of the one-stop counter for company creation
Publication in the official journal. Document required for legal existence in the DRC.
Excerpt from the RCCM: proof of registration at the Trade and Personal Property Credit Register
Trade and Companies Registry
Proof of registration with the Chambre of Commerce and credits. Document required for legal existence in the DRC.
Forest concession contract
Ministry in charge of forestry
Proof of the rights to legally access forest resources.
Pre-approved employment contract
Ministry of Employment/ONEM
Proof of individual workers' rights.
Certificate of social security affiliation
Ministry of Labour/CNSS
Proof of social security affiliation
Training and professional development affiliation certificate
Ministry of Labour/INPP
Proof of registration for the training and professional development of its workers
Relevant corporate regulation
Ministry of Labour/Labour Inspectorate
Proof of the labour protection measure
Health and safety committee annual report
Corporate Health and Safety Committee
Proof of the health and safety protection measure.
Medical convention
Medical training
Proof of the health and safety protection measure.
Approved internal rules
Union delegation
Proof of the existence of employee representation.
Collective agreement or protocol
Ministry of Labour/Labour Inspectorate
Proof on the recognition of workers' rights.
Agreement on the specifications' social clause
Forest concessionaire & Local community
A Forestry Specifications Guide includes a "Specification Schedule" (appendix), which details the concessionaire's specific obligations (e.g. to the local communities).
Environmental and Social impact study/certificate
Forest concessionaire
Proof of the implementation of environmental measures for new forest concessionaires.
Environmental and social management plan
Forest concessionaire
Proof of the implementation of environmental measures for former forest concessionaires.
Certificate of conformity of the development plan project
Ministry in charge of forestry
Proof of validation of the management plan by the forest administration.
Development plan approval order
Provincial governor
Proof of the province's approval of the management plan for the relevant forest.
Validated five-year management plan
Ministry in charge of forestry
Proof on the implementation of the forest management plan.
Validated annual forest operations plan
Ministry in charge of forestry
Proof of the implementation of the forest management plan.
Industrial lumber cutting permit
Ministry in charge of forestry
Proof of the required authorisation to cut lumber in the forest concession.
Site register
Forest concessionaire
Proof incorporating the regulatory provisions relating to felling, marking and the traceability of timber.
Quarterly production declarations of timber produced
Forest concessionaire
Proof of the declaration of the timber produced to the forest administration and also for statistical purposes.
Transit slip
Local forestry administration
Proof on the transport of timber from the place of harvest to the place of transformation or sale.
Processing plant operating licence
Ministry in charge of forestry
Proof on the ownership of a classified facility.
Letter assigning the import/export number
Ministry in charge of Foreign Trade
Proof of registration with the timber import and export register.
Validated sales contract
Ministry in charge of forestry (DGF)
Proof of the existence of the contract for the sale of lumber between the forest concessionaire and the client.
CITES certificate
ICCN
Phytosanitary certificate and certificate of origin
Ministry in charge of forestry (DGF)
Proof of the phytosanitary inspection of the timber to be exported. Certificate of origin for the export of a specific batch of timber, indicating the country of origin.
Report on the batch ready for export
Congolese Inspection Office (OCC)
Proof of the verification of the specifications of the timber to be exported by species, quality and quantity.
Model EB license
Directorate- General for Customs and Excises (DGDA)
Proof of the declaration of the goods to be exported.
Declaration of goods to customs
Directorate- General for Customs and Excises (DGDA)
Proof of the declaration for the handling of timber by customs authorities.
Export and shipment verification certificate (CVEE)
Congolese Inspection Office (OCC)
Proof of verification demonstrating the compliance of all operations, including tax and customs obligations, prior to shipment.
Letter of assignment of the national identification number
Ministry of the Economy
Proof of registration with the administration regarding economic matters.
Letter of assignment of a tax number
Directorate General of Taxes (DGI)
Proof of registration with the tax authorities.
Declaration of company income
Directorate General of Taxes (DGI)
Proof of payment of the sales tax. Portion of the documents demonstrating compliance with tax obligations.
Receipt certifying payment of the profit tax (IBP)
Directorate General of Taxes (DGI)
Proof of receipt of tax payments on the company's balance sheet, with an audit demonstrating compliance with tax obligations.
Receipt certifying payment of the professional income tax (IPR)
Directorate General of Taxes (DGI)
Proof of receipt of the workers' compensation tax payments, demonstrating compliance with tax obligations.
Receipt certifying the payment of the Property Tax
Directorate General of Taxes (DGI)
Receipt certifying the payment of taxes on remuneration paid to the expatriate (IERE)
Directorate General of Taxes (DGI)
Proof of receipt of the payment of taxes on expatriate workers' remuneration, demonstrating compliance with tax obligations.
Bank certificate of payment of the forest surface area fees
Provincial Fiscal Authority
Proof of receipt of the surface area fee payment to the province where the timber originated.
Bank certificate of payment of the lumber cutting permit
Provincial Fiscal Authority
Proof of receipt of payment for the authorisation to cut lumber in the province.
Bank certificate of payment of the reforestation tax
National Forest Fund (FFN)
Proof of receipt of payment on reforestation, currently to be paid at the DGDA's one-stop counter.
Bank certificate of payment of the annual remunerative tax on classified installations
Ministry in charge of forestry/ Directorate of classified establishments
Proof of receipt of payment for classified facilities.
Bank certificate of payment of the phytosanitary tax
Ministry in charge of forestry/DGF
Proof of receipt of payment for the inspection of timber for disinfection by the relevant service.
Bank certificate of payment for CITES permits, if applicable
Congolese Institute for the Preservation of Nature (ICCN)
Proof of receipt of payment for the export of CITES-protected species. The certificate is issued by the CITES/DRC management authority.
Receipt certifying payment for the batch ready for export
Congolese Inspection Office (OCC)
Proof of receipt of payment for the timber inspection prior to the subscription of a declaration of goods (timber).
Bank certificate of payment for the EB model licence
Commercial bank
Proof of receipt of payment for the subscription of a licence for the declaration of goods (timber).
Liquidation slip certifying the payment of customs duties
Directorate- General for Customs and Excises (DGDA/ one-stop counter)
Proof of a customs receipt listing and certifying payment of timber exit duties.

Bans and quota

A moratorium on new logging concessions has been in place since 2002. The government is considering reopening its forests to new logging concessions, but Decree no. 05/116 of 24 October 2005 outlining the terms for the conversion of former forest titles into forest concession contracts and extending the moratorium on the granting of logging titles, establishes three conditions for the lifting of this moratorium, namely: the publication of definitive results of the conversion process (including the effective termination of unconverted titles), the publication of new rules for the attribution of forest allocations, and the adoption of a consultative, geographical process for future allocations within 3 years. 18 years later, this moratorium still hasn't been lifted.

Cites and protected species

There seems to be no special list of protected timber species at the national level apart from those listed by the CITES convention (DRC is a signatory country) and limitations given within each specific forest management plan. (Traffic / WWF-GFTN).

The DRC has a modern legal and regulatory arsenal for sustainable forest logging and management, which applies to the Afrormosia (known as P. elata) as well as to all of the country's forest species that are harvested and sold. This general legal framework for forest logging operations, highly demanding in terms of environmental sustainability, is potentially sufficient - if properly applied - to regulate and guarantee the sustainability of P. elata harvesting in Congo's forests.

  • Afrormosia (Pericopsis elata), one of the DRC's main forest species, is listed in Appendix II of the CITES, and is also considered endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

    To be eligible for international trade in compliance with the CITES, specimens of P. elata exported by the DRC must have been harvested under rigorously proven conditions of sustainability, in accordance with the regulatory provisions in effect: management inventories provide sufficiently reliable and rigorous data to assess the forest potential (i.e. the standing volume of harvestable trees) and are able to meet the requirements of sustainable tree population management. 

    The availability of management inventory data is therefore a key prerequisite to decide on - concession by concession - the sustainability of the exploitation of P. elata.

    Consequently, as of 1 January 2015, and in accordance with the ACNP of May 2014, the DRC only authorises the export of P. elata timber within the framework of the CITES on the strict condition that this timber comes from forest titles for which management inventory reports have been filed in accordance with legal provisions. Since 2015, exports of this species are subject to an annual quota determined on the basis of the results provided by the management inventories. The last updated ACNP dates back to March 2018. The Afrormosia quota for 2020 is 31,659 m3 in roundwood equivalent.
     
  • Prunus africana has been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a vulnerable species. This led to its classification in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In 2018, the quota stood at 102.00 kg of dried bark.
     
  • Since 2017, the Bubinga "Guibourtia demeusei" has been listed in Appendix II of CITES. The quota stood at 14,895 m3 roundwood equivalent for the year 2019, renewable for the year 2020.

National action on timber legality

The Democratic Republic of Congo is currently negotiating a VPA with the EU. Negotiations started in October 2010 with the signing on 21 October in Brussels of the Joint Declaration on the opening of negotiations between the two nations. It was followed by the creation of the Technical Commission for Negotiations through Ministerial Order no. 053/CAB/MIN/ECN-T/2010 of 27 November of the same year which was then amended and supplemented by Ministerial Order no. 014/CAB/MIN/EDD/AAN/KTT/02/2018 of 22 February 2018.

On 30 August 2019, the report entitled "Progress of the FLEGT VPA process in the Democratic Republic of Congo - 2010 to date" was published by the Forest Governance Observatory (OGF), as part of the CV4C project.

To date, the APV-FLEGT Technical Negotiation Commission has produced the legality grids for industrial, first and second category artisanal and local community forest exploitation. The vade-mecums of the grids for industrial and artisanal exploitation are published and available on the website of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

Third party certification

Although there is a regional FSC standard for the Congo Basin region (the FSC standard for the Certification of Congo Basin forests, 2012), the Democratic Republic of Congo does not have any FSC-certified forests.

On 16 May 2019, the Compagnie Forestière de Transformation (CFT) obtained a certificate of legality issued by NepCon according to the Legal Source standard for an area of 544,145 ha located near Kisangani and its processing activities.

On 10 April 2020, the Industrie Forestière du Congo (IFCO) company obtained a certificate of legality issued by NepCon according to the Legal Source standard for the Alibuku forest concession and for the processing plant in Kinkole.

Contacts

Ministère de l'Environnement et Développement Durable (MEDD)
Avenue Papa ILEO EX DE CLINIQUE n°15, Quartier Batetela, Gombe
Kinshasa, RD Congo
Ministry of the environment, nature conservation and sustainable development.
Formerly: MECNT ((Ministry of the Environment, Nature,
Conservation and Tourism)
Direction des inventaires et de l’aménagement forestier (DIAF)
On a national level, Direction des inventaires et de l’aménagement forestier (DIAF) is responsible for forest management and inventories.
Direction de la gestion Forestière (DGF)
Direction de la gestion Forestière (DGF) is responsible to keep track on exploitation.
Direction des archives et nouvelles technologies de l'information de la communication (DANTIC)
N°17, Limete 7ième Rue Industriel

Kinshasa, RD Congo
National level, directorate in charge of the gathering of information, analyses, education and the dissemination and sharing of this information
Direction générale des douanes et accises (DGDA)
Direction Générale des Impôts (DGI)
Part of the ministry of finance, in charge of collection of taxes.
Other department within the ministry of finance, in charge of tax clearance.
Registre du Commerce et du crédit mobilier (RCCM)
Chambre of Commerce and credit.
(formerly Registre de Commerce)
L’Institut congolais pour la conservation de la nature (ICCN)
Congolese Institute for nature conservation (ICCN) is the public body in charge of national parks in the DRC.
Fonds Forestier National (FFN)
In charge of management of funds for forest projects and surface tax.
The country office in Kinshasa opened in March 2004.
Observatoire de la Gouvernance Forestière (OGF)
Building BCDC, 12th floor
Boulevard du 30 juin, Gombe
Kinshasa, RD Congo
The DRC-based Observatoire de la Gouvernance Forestière (OGF) has a role as independent forest governance monitor, linked to VPA-FLEGT implementation framework.
Fédération des industriel du bois (FIB)
2165 Avenue des Poids Lourds, Gombe
PB 552

Kinshasa 1, RD Congo
Tel: +243 815032504 / +243 997 032 569
Professional union created in March 2006, a non-denominational non-profit association.

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