Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Congo: The World's Second Lung, An Earth Day Special

Congo and Climate Change - An Overview
By Rebekah Delling

Above the cacophony of, elephants, gorillas and the other 6,000 animal species living in peaceful pandemonium, a louder and more destructive sound is dominating the rainforest. It’s the sound of ax against wood coupling with the crack of falling timber. In the Congo River basin, an area once designated the “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, a battle is being fought over natural resources and nature is the losing party.

However, nature won’t be the only loser in the war for resources. Besides the obvious damage un-checked logging does to the 60 million people, 10,000 plants species and 6,000 animal species depending upon the forest for survival, there exists the global threat of climate change.
Clear-cutting the Congo River basin rainforest, the second largest continuous rainforest after the Amazon, will have a direct and disastrous effect on global warming. This effect, according to the United Nations Climate Panel, will include more flooding, heat waves, droughts and continually rising oceans.

Read entire article and find out more about Congo's significance to the world's climate>>

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Congratulations to Lynn Nottage

Brooklyn born Playwright Lynn Nottage became only the second African American woman to win a Pullitzer Prize for drama for her play "Ruined." The play depicts the struggles and triumphs of Congolese women who are trapped in a resource war in the heart of Africa.

Nottage proves that the Congo drama is a world story that is universal and deserves the focus and attention of the global community.

Read more about Lynn's prize...

Ruined at the Manhattan Theatre Club

LA Times Interview!

Bloomberg article on Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage Dramatises the Congo conflict: The Economist

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Few Benefits to the People of Congo From Mining Review

The Carter Center says that the people of the Congo will realize few benefits from the two-year mining review process with companies mining billions of dollars of gold, copper, cobalt, diamonds, and other minerals.

The Carter Center has drawn the following preliminary conclusions about the outcome of the process:

* Unwieldy: A major problem with the contracts was the vast array of divergent obligations that would be difficult to oversee and enforce even with a sophisticated regulatory apparatus, which the DRC lacks. That situation remains unchanged.
* Illusory: Most investors agreed to increased one-time, upfront payments; however, informed observers report that the payments are contingent and unlikely to be required under current economic conditions.
* Ephemeral: With the possible exception of conditions on debt financing for mining joint-ventures, there are no clear long-term benefits from the review. In the meantime, companies may still take advantage of weak provisions in many agreements to divert profits away from the investor company or to avoid paying taxes on real profits.

Read the entire statement from the Carter Center>>