BREAKING: CSOs Call on the Presidents of Uganda and DRC to Avoid Oil Exploration in Sensitive Ecosystems in Albertine Graben

The Albertine Graben is home to Virunga National Park in the Eastern DRC which is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site and accommodates 43% of Africa’s bird species, 27% of Africa’s mammals and more than 10% of its reptiles, amphibians, and plants in addition to several rare and endangered species that exist nowhere else… Read More

DRC Civil Society Conservation Review: Urgent Actions Needed to Save Virunga National Park in 2019

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

BREAKING: DRC Virunga Park Again Threatened by Oil, links to SOCO

It was believed that  Virunga was saved after the withdrawal in 2015 of the oil company Soco who wanted to drill in the park. It was an illusion: Kinshasa has been negotiating the renewal of the controversial permit to an offshore oil company. It was June 2014. At that time, the British firm Soco International, after an… Read More

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