Target: Mozambique President Armando Emílio Guebuza
Goal: Cease all Mozambique timber exports to China indefinitely
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has recently uncovered a hidden network of Mozambique politicians and Chinese traders systematically involved with the illegal smuggling and logging of Mozambique timber. The EIA investigation has revealed that foreign-owned companies, predominately Chinese-owned, have illegally tapped into Mozambique’s resource-rich forests—with devastating effect. Of all the Mozambique timber exported to China, according to the BBC, approximately 48% of it is believed to be illegal. High-level Mozambique officials have actively colluded with Chinese traders in the illegal logging and smuggling of Mozambique timber. These officials must be sought out and prosecuted, for the environmental, economic, and social impact of their recklessness will be felt most by the country’s most impoverished citizens.
The illegal logging operations of foreign-owned companies in Mozambique’s forests present a myriad of economic and environmental concerns. Firstly, most Mozambicans live in rural-based communities, practicing a subsistence form of agriculture, so they often depend on the land for their most basic of needs. Deforestation fundamentally affects local ecosystems, as well as the native community’s cultural ties to the land. Community leaders in the Cabo Delgado province, for example, have complained of the high frequency of abandoned logs, the indiscriminate logging of small and large trees, as well as the large presence of foreign loggers in their province. It is estimated that illegal logging production accounts for about 50 to 70% of Mozambique’s national timber production. And since Mozambican forests are often sparse and open—making commercial tree species such as umbila, chanfuta, pau preto, and jambirre easy to access and extract—the country’s forests are logged two to four times their sustainable limit. The unsustainable logging practices of foreign-owned companies, therefore, present an imminent problem for the country’s predominately rural population.
The illegal logging practices of foreign-owned companies have also resulted in millions of dollars of lost tax revenue, contributing to Mozambique’s widening gap in wealth inequality and perpetual impoverishment. Although Mozambique’s GDP has seen positive growth over the last decade and a half, its main beneficiaries have been the country’s social and political elite, or the wealthiest 20%.
Mozambique should immediately impose a timber embargo on China and investigate the EIA’s account of internal corruption among Mozambique’s high-ranking officials. The deforestation, displacement of native populations, and illegal logging operations of foreign-owned companies need to be adequately addressed by the Mozambique government.
Dear Armando Emílio Guebuza,
A recent Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) report has uncovered a widespread, illegal network of foreign-financed timber production in Mozambique. The investigation found that foreign tradesmen, predominately Chinese, have colluded with high-ranking Mozambique politicians to illegally log and smuggle Mozambique timber. The EIA has estimated that 48% of the timber exported to China is illegal, meaning millions of dollars in lost revenue for the Mozambique government. Illegal logging operations account for about 50 to 70% of your nation’s total timber production.
As a result of the lost tax revenue and corruption, the gap in wealth inequality has widened and the perpetual cycle of impoverishment for the majority of your nations’ citizens has only grown.
Mozambicans have deep historic, cultural, and social ties to the land. With the current rate of deforestation, however, many Mozambicans will see their livelihood and ancestral claims vanish within generations. Cease all timber exports to China and investigate all allegations of corruption among high-ranking Mozambique political figures. The unsustainable rate of deforestation, millions of dollars of lost tax revenue, and rampant corruption need to be addressed.
Until the sources of corruption and illegal logging in Mozambique are stamped out, halt all timber exports to China.
[Your Name Here]