Article published on the 2009-12-09 Latest update 2009-12-09 17:05 TU
Logging paths are visible from the air over the desnse forest of the Northern DRC
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now estimates that the cutting down of forests contributes almost 20 per cent of the overall level of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.
The Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change is a group of representatives from civil society and indigenous people's organisations from 30 countries who want their rights placed at the centre of negotiations.
Roger Muchuba from the Democratic Republic of Congo is part of that group, and spoke to RFI about the problems deforestation is causing to local people in the DRC.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has the second largest rainforests in the world, after the Amazon. "Forty million people depend on the forests [in the DRC] for food and medicine," said Muchuba.
In the DRC, logging companies had been given a wide swath in processing the 86 million hectares until 2009, when logging contracts for 12 million hectares were pulled in order to promote sustainable and socially responsible forestry management.
Forest communities have begun to have problems in gathering food and water, according to Muchuba.
Muchuba said that the non-governmental organisations who are currently at the Copenhagen conference are hoping that there is a permanent mechanism put in place to promote sustainability, and preserve the forests, which many call their home.
But one sore spot is the ownership of the forests, which belong to the state. "The community needs to get ownership, and with that, they can protect the forests and get benefits in future agreements," said Muchuba.