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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Human well-being at risk. Landmark reports highlight options to protect and restore nature and its vital contributions to people Biodiversity – the essential variety of life forms on Earth – continues to decline in every region of the world, significantly reducing nature’s capacity to contribute to people’s well-being. This alarming trend endangers economies, livelihoods, food… Read More

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Cut Carbon Pollution, Show Political Willingness and Take on Corporate Power! PROBLEM “When we think about climate change, a recurring phrase is that we should ‘do our bit’ to reduce our footprint. Others harangue environmentalists for peddling ‘green guilt.’ Both of those, a positive and a negative, imply complicity: climate change is something we’re all… Read More

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Virunga, which was designated a World Heritage Center in 1979, has earned a reputation as one of the most dangerous national parks in Africa. It is home to unparalleled biodiversity, including lions, elephants, and the rare mountain gorillas, which have been threatened by habitat loss from farming and unrest stemming from DRC’s two civil wars—one… Read More

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A petition gathering more than 23,000 signatures opposes the exploitation of oil in Virunga and Salonga parks. Communities bordering Virunga Park continue to raise awareness about any oil exploitation initiative in this UNESCO World Heritage Park. Already in September 2018, they had sent to the Presidency of the Republic, a petition signed by over 23,000… Read More

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By Esther Nsapu, correspondent in Eastern DRC In a consortium in Goma, seven environmental civil society organizations from the North Kivu province called “Alliance for Green Livelihoods” (GLA) are protesting against the proposal of the Minister of Hydrocarbons, to decommission some of the Virunga and Salonga National Parks to conduct oil exploration and exploitation. The… Read More

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September 24 marks World Gorilla Day, when humanity celebrates one of its closest relatives, sharing 98 percent of our DNA as we do, plus we also have a common ancestor that lived not too long ago in evolutionary terms, around 10 million years ago. All species of gorillas are critically endangered according to the Red… 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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