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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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.
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Latest Updates

As we begin the new year of 2019, we, the member organizations of the Synergy of Ecologists for Peace and Development, regret to draw a mixed assessment for the conservation of Virunga National Park during the year 2018. Indeed, the good news is that with the combined efforts of local communities – governmental conservation institutions… Read More

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Even though the planet is experiencing a climate crisis, the oil industry is expanding to new frontiers, with the majority of such frontiers being mature forests or very sensitive areas.  Currently the world’s oil reserves are 800 billion barrels. If these reserves are burned, more than 320 billion tons of additional co2 would be produced,… Read More

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has experienced significant conflict, including long spates of civil war (1996-2003) also involving neighbouring States, and political and ethnic conflict regionally which continues today. The ongoing conflict has led to the mass internal displacement of over 4.5 million people, predominantly from the Kasaï, Tanganyika and Kivu regions, with… Read More

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Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan activist and first environmentalist to win a Nobel Peace Prize, liked to tell a story about a determined hummingbird:  ‘A huge wildfire consumed the forest where the hummingbird lived, and as the fire raged, all the animals left the forest and stood watching, transfixed and overwhelmed. They all felt so overwhelmed… Read More

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“I am gorilla… I am flowers, animals. I am nature. Man Koko love. Earth Koko love. But man stupid… Stupid! Koko sorry. Koko cry. Time hurry! Fix Earth! Help Earth! Hurry! Protect Earth… Nature see you. Thank you.” In memory of Koko  (1971 – 2018) More ate : Buzzworthy Disclaimer Koko was invited to represent… Read More

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Below is Patrice Lumumba’s* Letter to his wife Pauline Lumumba in 1960 before he was assassinated. My beloved companion, I write you these words not knowing whether you will receive them, when you will receive them, and whether I will still be alive when you read them. Throughout my struggle for the independence of my country, I have never… 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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