The Battle Continues 2: Stop Oil Exploration Bids for the Ngaji Oil Block in Greater Virunga

Five community-based groups and civil society organisations representing over 272 members from Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have written an open letter to six oil companies. The community groups and CSOs are calling on the companies not to submit oil exploration bids for the Ngaji oil block, which covers Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP)… Read More

Virunga Congo’s Oil Saga: A story of shadowy deals, environmental burden and civil society protest

Theodore Trefon noted in 2016 that “Oil has become big business in the DRC and the subject of major deal making – more often than not by dubious partners. It is shrouded in secrecy and controlled by the presidency” (1). The oil and gas sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ranked 84th (among 89… Read More

Meet the Team that Protects Virunga: EU, GWC and Leo

After an exceptionally challenging year for biodiversity conservation across the world because of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union, environmentalist and Academy Award ® -winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) launched two initiatives to better protect the planet in 2021 worth €34 million today. Both initiatives -a Rapid Response for Ecosystems, Species… Read More

From Armed Groups to Politicians: The Same Dirty Game to Destroy Virunga

Virunga National Park has for more than two decades been going through a period characterized by various threats due not only to the activism of armed groups but also to the pressure exerted by local communities on natural resources, a phenomenon resulting from manipulations on the part of certain political leaders. Faced with this last… Read More

Dodgy Deal 1: Kipay and PowerChina’s Sombwe Dam in DRC Upemba National Park

About Sombwe Dam In June 2019, PowerChina and the Congolese company Kipay Investments Sarl signed a joint venture for the construction of the 150 megawatt (MW) Sombwe hydropower plant in the DRC. The proposed USD 400 million Sombwe complex includes a dam, reservoir, and road works. The hydropower plant is located inside Upemba National Park, one of the… Read More

Virunga Covid-19 and Africa’s National Parks: ‘Utter and Total Devastation’ 

Closed to tourists, pandemic is taking major toll on Virunga’s finances, local economy, as park reels from recent violence. SOPHIE NEIMAN June 2, 2020 Stretching some 3,000 square miles, Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the oldest and most biodiverse national park on the African continent. It was designated a… Read More

A Message From and For Virunga Team: We Mourn and Continue Working for Peace

“It is with great sadness that Virunga National Park confirms that today, 24 April 2020, there has been a significant attack by armed groups near Rumangabo …” Last Friday, 4 civilians & 13 colleagues and friends were slaughtered. Khadafi, Lumumba, Djamali, Junior, Jean-Louis, Joseph, Ruphin, Jeannot, Augustin, Jacques, Héritier, Moise and Justin. They were in their… Read More

Why Threatened and Endangered Animals May Become Additional Casualties of the Pandemic

Food for thoughts from Yashar Ali … Sadly, I’ve been expecting this. Soon, I’ll be sharing what I’m doing to help mitigate this crisis Source: NYTimes Threatened and endangered animals may become additional casualties of the pandemic This story is framed around how the loss of billions of tourism revenue is impacting the protection of… Read More

Murchison Falls National Park: An Oil Project in a Protected Natural Area, High Risks of Environmental Violations

Total is present in Uganda through its wholly owned subsidiary Total Exploration & Production Uganda B.V (hereinafter Total Uganda), developing an oil project called “Tilenga” on the shores of Lake Albert. Total owns 54.9% of the project and is its operator. Its partners are the Chinese oil company CNOOC, with a 33.33% stake and Britain-based Tullow… Read More

In an Imperfect World, Parks are Critical to Save DRC’s Natural Heritage such as Virunga, Maiko, Upemba…

The continuing importance of parks While community forests and conservation areas are a good way to build trust and a sense of stewardship and responsibility in the local community, national parks are still an essential conservation tool. “I think you still need parks, because you still need to have areas where biodiversity is totally protected,”… Read More

Destroying the Earth is a Sin and Ecocide a Crime Against Peace

Protection of the environment by criminal law It is true that the criminal response comes when the crime has been committed, that it does not repair damage or prevent repetition, and that it rarely has dissuasive effects. It is also true that, because of its structural selectivity, the sanctioning function usually affects the most vulnerable… Read More

From Virunga to Upemba: Keep Kipay Investments and PowerChina out of Upemba National Park!

When Rodrigue Katembo moved from Virunga to Upemba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015, after uncovering the corruption attempts by SOCO International to drill for oil in the park, he probably didn’t expect to be confronted  with a similar situation in his new home, endangering not only his conservation’s effort but also… Read More