Republic of Congo promulgates new forest code
The republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) definitively adopted law n° 33-2020 on a new forest code on July 8, 2020. This new law is under discussion since 2018 and was still under debate in the National Assembly in April 2020. The new forest code introduces new concepts like certification, verification of legality, consideration of riversides communities, deforestation and reforestation, the fight against climate change, carbon credits, etc.
Sustainable management and certification of forest concessions have become major priority in the exploitation of forests resources in Republic of Congo, which is shared by all stakeholders, including the public sector, the private sector, civil society, and by local communities and indigenous people.
VPA and REDD + processes in Congo, confirm the country’s wish to involve all the actors concerned in the development of Congolese forest timber sector. In this same dynamic, the Congo also signed a letter of intent with the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) in September 2019. Concepts and modalities of the FLEGT VPA are outlined throughout the text of the new law (verification of legality, certificate of legality, SIVL, etc.).
Measures having a significant impact on the forest-wood sector are amongst others:
- The obligation for forest companies to certify the management of their managed concessions or the legality of their exploited and processed products from there (art. 72);
- Recognition of certification for the verification of legality (art. 65) and the establishment of a national forest certification system (art. 70);
- The introduction of simplified management for medium-sized forest management units (art 77);
- The obligation to mainly process forest products on national territory, leading to a ban on the export of logs, with the exception of logs of heavy and hard wood species whose machining requires specific technology (art. 97);
- The introduction of the plantation timber valuation agreement (art. 118);
- The introduction of two new taxes: the occupancy tax and the residue tax (art. 110 and following).
Several important new modalities will still be defined by future implementing texts, or under specific laws.
News item adapted from ATIBT News
The full text of the new forest code is available here (in French)