The World Bank’s encouragement of industrial forestry as a means of economic recovery in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is counter to the organization’s legal commitment to protecting the environment, according to a new report. An independent inspection panel charges that the bank overestimated possible export revenue from forestry, leading to a logging scramble “at the expense of pursuing sustainable uses of forests, the potential for community forests, and for conservation.” The report also accuses the bank of endangering the lives of thousands of Congolese Pygmies living in the forest, basically by ignoring their existence. Says one Pygmy leader, “Roads are going ever deeper into the forests, opening it up. We are increasingly deprived of our foods and drugs. We have never seen anything from the bank except promises.”

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