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

New Year’s resolution for oil and gas industry: make World Heritage Site Virunga no-go area

Oil industry should pledge to avoid World Heritage Sites, article by  Chris Tomlinson Houston Chronicle columnist. A park ranger stands near an elephant in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Oct. 10, 2014. Environmentalists have been fighting to keep a British oil company from drilling in Virunga, Africa´s oldest national park. (Uriel Sinai/The New… Read More

Protecting Virunga, Livelihood Security and Conflict Prevention

Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai speaks on the relationship between scarce natural resources and global conflict. The following insight from the platform for exchange on Environment, Conflict and Cooperation (ECC) highlights the importance of nature protection in securing vital livelihoods and supporting the reduction of conflicts. One more piece of evidence that protecting Virunga and its vital ecosystems will contribute to livelihood… Read More

Global Witness investigates oil-lobby tactics during UNESCO meeting on Virunga

When an oil company promises to suspend hugely controversial work in Africa’s oldest national park it should be cause for celebration. But the commitment by British oil company Soco to withdraw from Virunga National Park—a Congolese World Heritage Site that is home to rare mountain gorillas—was rife with ambiguity. If it sounds too good to… Read More

#WRD – IUCN: Rising murder toll of park rangers calls for tougher laws

With poachers responsible for more than half of ranger deaths over the past two years, IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the International Ranger Federation (IRF) call for a toughened stance against wildlife crime globally, marking World Ranger Day celebrated across the globe on 31 July. Fifty-six rangers have lost their lives… Read More

Message 12 North-Kivu Civil Society and UNESCO United to Preserve Virunga for Communities and Humanity

On July 11th of this year North-Kivu Civil Society Groups wrote a Memorandum to the Director-General of the UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova, reiterating their views against oil exploration in Virunga National park and expressing their deep concerns in front of the possible redrawing of the park boundaries in order to accommodate oil exploration and exploitation… Read More

IUCN: ‘No’ to extractives in Unesco World Heritage – Virunga

IUCN welcomes emphatic ‘no’ to extractives in World Heritage 19 June 2014 | News story Following IUCN’s advice, the World Heritage Committee has sent a strong message to oil and gas and other extractive industries not to operate in World Heritage sites. The message came during discussions about World Heritage sites in Danger, including Africa’s… 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

No Victory for Virunga: Park boundaries could be redrawn to accommodate Oil Exploration

DR-Congo’s member of the parliament interview sheds even more light over why SOCO’s chairman Rui de Sousa said a few days ago at the company’s AGM : “We have not pulled out – it’s not the point” Francois Nzekuye: “We can then ask for the declassification of part of Virunga National Park” “Nobody has lost, nobody has… Read More

Pressure mounts to save Africa’s Eden from drillers: Virunga vs. SOCO

New Scientist by Andy Coghlan For years an oil company has been planning to drill in one of Africa’s key national parks. Now conservation and heritage organisations are joining forces in a bid to stop them. In the aftermath of a brutal civil war, a majestic natural landscape teeming with exotic wildlife is being threatened by… Read More

JAN 2014 – Last Chance to Fix DRC Oil Bill: Critics Raise Transparency and Environment Worries

Global Witness Announces Last Chance to Fix DRC Oil Bill… 14th January 2014 The Democratic Republic of Congo’s lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, has begun to debate a new oil bill which has been criticised by campaigners, MPs in Congo and donor governments. Global Witness is extremely concerned that the weak provisions of… Read More

Hot off the Press: New oil Law Threatens Corruption and Environmental Damage – and UK SOCO is first in the queue

A murky deal for the Congo as oil exploration threatens corruption and environmental damage – and London-based Soco International is first in the queue . Weeks after putting down a rebellion, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo is preparing new oil laws that could open it up to vast corruption and put its… Read More