Save Virunga gives a voice to local communities who depend on the survival of Virunga National Park for their livelihoods. We believe that local communities and civil society have a say in the decision and future of the region. Virunga should be a place where no oil extraction and pollution occurs, a place where people develop sustainable livelihoods based on healthy and intact ecosystems.

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Issues and Local Voices

What is Happening in Virunga and with the Communities?

Virunga National Park

The Virunga National Park  is Africa’s oldest and most biodiverse park. It is a 7800 square km National Park that stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the South, to the Rwenzori Mountains in the North, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Rwanda and Uganda.

The Oil Threat

The park’s future is threatened: oil has been discovered, and the Congolese government has awarded three concessions for oil exploration, which cover 85% of the park. Oil becomes the most important threat to the park, to the communities and to the ecosystem.

Lake Edward

Lake Edward is one of the Great African Lakes, on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
The lake was named by the explorer Henry Morton Stanley in honour of Prince Albert Edward, The Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII.

The Oil Company

SOCO International plc is an international oil and gas exploration and production company, headquartered in London. SOCO holds rights on the oil concession in BLOCK V (85%).SOCO’s contract allows them access to a big part of Virunga National Park threatening the park with disruptive seismic tests, forest clearing, underground drilling and the laying of oil pipelines.

The Communities

Virunga’s fauna and flora, as well as the political and security situation in the Great Lakes region are tied closely to the people and to the protection and preservation of this ecosystem. Disruptions in one element will lead automatically to changes in the others.

The local Defenders

Since the beginning of SOCO’s exploration operations in Virunga National Park, Environmental and Human Rights defenders have been fighting for the survival of the park and the respect of community rights. Many of them are facing threats when fighting for Virunga and promoting the sustainable development option for the region and communities.

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People Involved

The Team

SOPR

SOPR is a non-governmental organization that works to protect the rights of local communities and in particular the right to enjoy a healthy environment. SOPR focuses on the protection of the biodiversity and ecosystem of Lake Edward.

Save Virunga

Save Virunga brings out the power of local communities and conveys their messages to protect Virunga and preserve the integrity of its ecosystems for future generations.

Reseau CREF

RCREF is a network of non-governmental organizations that works to protect natural ecosystems and defends the rights and interests of the communities who depend on these natural resources.

IDPE

IDPE is an activist organization that works against ecosystem destruction and poaching with local communities. IDPE supports these communities in strengthening their position so that they have a say in the future of their environment.

CREDDHO

CREDDHO is a Human Rights non-governmental organization working to promote universally-recognized rights by defending the environment, democratic values and human rights.
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Latest Updates

When a place is designated a Natural World Heritage Site, it is a recognition that it has “outstanding universal value” and must be protected. But a new study shows many of these sites are being severely damaged by human activity and are deteriorating rapidly. BY RICHARD CONNIFF • FEBRUARY 2, 2017 By any standard, Australia’s… Read More

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As Donald Trump enters the White House, it is time to join the global movement of resistance. Find your trigger, your strength to change the world: You and I must take daily actions that make large-scale changes possible. Have courage. Challenging the status quo can attract ridicule. We need the quiet courage of decent people doing… Read More

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MUST SEE , TODAY MORE THAN EVER- There’s No Tomorrow is a half-hour animated documentary, from Dermot O’ Connor about resource depletion, energy and the impossibility of infinite growth on a finite planet. This movie is not about peak oil or energy per se, but an attack on exponential economic Growth. Inspired by the pro-capitalist cartoons of the… Read More

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When Save Virunga started 5 years ago our aim was simple: to give a voice to local communities who depend on the survival of Virunga National Park for their livelihoods and to protect Africa’s oldest National Park from oil extraction. We believed that Virunga should be a place where no oil extraction and pollution occurs, a place… Read More

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Every day we hear that the integrity of a protected area is being challenged by the expansion of infrastructure and industrial activities such as oil, gas and mining exploration. SERIES Park and Species Endangered

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Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth … these are one and the same fight.  We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all. Ban Ki-moon, address to the 66th UN General… Read More

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Testimonials

What Our Supporters Think

 “For all of the people in the local communities of Virunga: We are listening, and we stand with you to protect Virunga and to protect the people in the Virunga region.”

“The idea of drilling a UNESCO world heritage site for oil is shocking. We have to keep it for future generations and protect the inhabiting species and not let them disappear in front of our eyes. I pray that the organisations and governments can put enough pressure on the DRC to recall any licences for oild explorations.”

“Thanks as always for these updates on the situation with oil exploration in Virunga.”

“A perfect and intelligent representation of the plight of the gorilla and draws all our attention to what is happening to this and so many other endangered species that we say we treasure-do we really?”

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Steps to help local communities: say no to oil in Virunga

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