Congo. The name alone inspires myriad emotive images: heart of Africa, endangered gorillas, impenetrable jungles, iconic wildlife, vivid cultures, political corruption, genocidal wars, mineral riches, desperate poverty and now, oil. This drama and wonder is embodied in the microcosm of Virunga National Park, a small but crucial part of the Democratic Republic of Congo bordering Uganda and Rwanda. Virunga is Africa’s first protected area and hosts the planet’s most diverse range of terrestrial ecosystems. Virunga was once paradise. It survives today against shocking odds. But many predict that, if oil is extracted, Virunga will become a hell on earth.
Cat Holloway, for the African Conservation Foundation, explores how drilling for oil in Virunga could change everything - and not only in Africa.
On the 10th of June 2014, British Oil Company SOCO International and WWF released a joint statement that SOCO will stop any oil operation in the Virunga National Park in eastern DRC. SOCO International is coordinating and undertaking seismic activities in Virunga since the beginning of this year. While welcoming the initiative to withdraw from the Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, local NGOs express their concerns.
Virunga National Park’s conservationists and activists are celebrating a victory today after British oil company SOCO International plc (SOCO) agreed to end its controversial operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). But the devil is in the details and many believe the war against drilling for oil in Africa’s oldest national park has just begun.
Carcasses of three elephants stripped of their tusks, probably poisoned, were recently discovered in Virunga National Park in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a local NGO announced on Tuesday. "All the remains of the poached elephants have the same characteristics: they are mutilated and their tusks are removed, but they bear no sign of bullets. Near the elephants fieldworkers of IDPE found 10 bodies of vultures, which had no impact of bullets either."
IUCN and10 civil society groups announce the launch of Enanga, an online platform sharing photo and video testimonies from across Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda on the problems and promises of natural resources. Enanga (www.enanga.org) combines community perspectives captured in photo and video documentaries with expert analysis to foster accountable and participative natural resource management solutions.
The film "Virunga National Park: Oil, Conservation and Sustainable Development" highlights the value of the park and the current challenges it faces. Oil developments planned in Block V have the potential to affect negatively the livelihoods of millions of people as well as the long-term survival of the park.
RUMANGABO, DR Congo -- After almost twenty years of armed conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Virunga National Park today released the details of a 10-year plan to re-invigorate the local economy and create tens of thousands of new jobs as a peace-building initiative in the conflict affected areas of eastern Congo. The plan, referred to as "the Virunga Alliance" will vastly increase the availability of clean energy for rural communities through large scale investment in a network of off-grid hydro-electric plants and associated agro-industrial development.
World Wide Fund for Nature - UK (WWF-UK) filed a complaint with the UK government today. The complaint concerns SOCO International's failure to seek to prevent human rights abuses and carry out comprehensive human rights and environmental studies for its proposed oil exploration in Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo, in violation of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines).
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - On Thursday, 19th September, Rodrigue Katembo Mugaruka a warden in Virunga National Park and recipient of the Abraham Conservation Award was arrested by Congolese security forces and taken to Goma. We, the undersigned, are extremely concerned about the ranger's well-being and the circumstances of his arrest.
The Head Ranger of the Central Sector of Virunga National Park, Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo, is held in jail already for five days by the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) in Goma. He was arrested by the military for opposing the execution of a project of UK oil company Soco International, local NGO partners in the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) explained on Tuesday, 24 September 2013.
The Word Wildlife Fund (WWF) calls on the Congolese government to enforce laws that prohibit the oil exploitation in protected areas. René Ngongo, WWF coordinator in the DRC, denounced the license for the exploitation of oil in Virunga National Park, which was awarded to the British company SOCO International.
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in Germany want to prevent the destruction of Congolese Natural Heritage Sites. The illegal exploitation of resources, particularly in eastern Congo - one of the main sources of violence against man and nature, according to the motion - was for the first time on the Bundestag plenary agenda.
Why is the profit of a small oil exploration company taking precedence over the safety of thousands of people and the survival of species found nowhere else on earth, WWF asked SOCO in an open letter published today.
Despite a commitment to honest and ethical business and in face of widespread opposition, including from the UK government, SOCO refuses to abandon its exploration plans in Virunga, a World Heritage and Ramsar site.
One of the world's most precious nature reserves, Virunga is home to critically endangered mountain gorillas but its area also encompasses mountains,
Kinshasa – London-based oil company SOCO has been granted permission to conduct aerial surveys for oil exploration in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The British foreign office said today that both SOCO and the DRC government must "respect the international conventions to which it is signatory".
Saint Petersburg: The committee overseeing World Heritage Sites yesterday cautioned that petroleum exploration in Virunga National Park could cause serious harm and should be halted. WWF, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Fauna & Flora International, the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Lukuru Foundation welcome this strong position and urge the DRC government and oil companies to act on it.