Save Virunga Roundup 2016: The Fight For Africa’s Oldest National Park Continues!

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

July 2016: Virunga’s Last Stand before UNESCO’s 40th session of World Heritage Committee

Today will start the 40th session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee where the state of Conservation of Virunga National park will be discussed. The World Heritage Committee comprises representatives from 21 States Parties to the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972). The 21 States Parties of the current World… Read More

1921: A Journey in the History of Virunga National Park #1

In the Footsteps of the Museum’s Virunga Gorillas* Carl E. Akeley was an American naturalist and explorer. Her was also known as Carl Ethan Akeley, born in May 19, 1864 in Clarendon, New York. He Died in November 17, 1926 in Virunga National Park, Belgian Congo. He was buried only a couple miles away from where he encountered his first gorilla in 1921 (1). … Read More

How do we keep Virunga Safe? Listen to Communities and Avoid Manipulations

Keeping the Focus During the past week much attention went to the renewed danger to Virunga National Park coming from oil exploitation.  The DRC government officially announced presence of oil in Block V and an oil bidding process in Uganda was opened in a block that not only borders Virunga National park but also includes the Ugandan… Read More

Celebrating #PeaceDay: Virunga Partnership for Sustainable Peace

The exploitation of natural resources has proven to be a major driver of conflict in DRC and the Great Lakes region. Oil exploration in Virunga has followed the same track with a poor local engagement, the total exclusion of communities from decision making and the criminalization of local protests against oil.  In light of the… Read More

JUN 2015: Global Witness: UK Oil Company Bankrolled Soldiers Accused of Bribery and Violence Against Oil Opponents

AGM scandal for British company at centre of Leonardo DiCaprio-backed Oscar-nominated film. Cheques and receipts revealed by Global Witness show oil company Soco International paid over $40,000 in just two weeks to Congolese military officer accused of bribery and violence. Officer and his soldiers implicated in bribing, intimidating and even killing Soco opponents. Company dogged… Read More

JUN 2015: Virunga’s Future: Last Stand before UNESCO’s 39th session of the World Heritage Committee

On June 28th will start the 39th session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee where the state of Conservation of Virunga National park will be discussed. The World Heritage Committee comprises representatives from 21 States Parties to the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972). Virunga was designated as a World… Read More

FEB 2015: Church of Engeland Joins Virunga Communities and asks Independent Inquiry of Soco’s operations

Move follows film backed by Leonardo DiCaprio and pleas by local NGOs, environmentalists, transparency campaigners and members of the UK Parliament to protect Congo’s Virunga park. The church – led by archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, a former oil executive – has said that it may sell its near £3m stake in Soco International unless… Read More

DEC 2014: DiCaprio brings Local Voice for Virunga’s Survival to Worldwide Audience – Netflix

The actor turned environmentalist adds of ‘Virunga’: “You have grassroots people on the ground risking their lives for these last remaining places that are so vital” Leonardo DiCaprio has been an avid environmentalist for over 15 years, and started his own foundation in 1998 to preserve endangered species and their habitats, among other goals. This… Read More

NOV 2014: Sir David Attenborough facing new battle to save Virunga Gorillas

Sir David Attenborough facing new battle to save the gorillas: An oil company’s alleged interest in primates’ habitat sparks outrage  An oil company’s alleged interest in primates’ habitat sparks outrage JAMIE MERRILL   . It is more than 35 years since Sir David Attenborough was memorably prodded, poked and groomed by rare African mountain gorillas in front… Read More

SEPT 4, 2014: Global Witness investigates SOCO’s Oil Exploration Activities in Virunga

‘Drillers in the mist’: How secret payments and a climate of violence helped UK firm open African national park to oil British oil company Soco Internationaland its contractors havemade illicit payments, appear to have paid off armed rebels and benefited from fear and violence fostered by government security forces in eastern Congo, as they sought… Read More

June 17, 38th Session World Heritage Committee: Virunga’s Next Battlefield

The 38th session of the World Heritage Committee threatens to become the next major battle for Virunga’s survival. As DRC Member of the parliament, Francois Nzekuye explains the oil company SOCO has only committed to wait for drilling in Virunga until the UNESCO and the DRC government agree that such activities are not incompatible with its… Read More