Virunga’s Future: The Congolese Park is at a Crossroads…

Video: ecotourism provides alternative to oil exploration in Virunga

Virunga National Park in DR Congo is at a crossroads: should the Congolese people choose to invest in sustainable development, or in oil exploration? In a newly launched video, produced by IUCN NL, local communities and park management weigh the pros and cons.



Emmanuel de Merode, director of Virunga, believes that sustainable development offers much more perspective for both nature and people than oil exploration. De Merode:

“Virunga is the most valuable park in Africa. When for example ecotourism is re-launched, it can be one of the greatest job creators in this region.”

On the other hand, the Congolese fear that oil exploration will not contribute to the local economy. In the video, local people express their concerns to the Congolese government, which will discuss the status of the oil bill in the coming weeks.

Local communities and environmental organizations also worry that the search for oil will damage the vulnerable ecosystems in the park. Many people depend on these ecosystems for their daily fish catch and their water supply. Moreover, the upcoming oil industry may spark social unrest. DR Congo has dealt with years of conflict. “Sustainable development is necessary to prevent these conflicts on natural resources from flaring up again”, says Tina Lain from IUCN NL.

Source: IUCN NL