The Curse of Oil : Lessons for Virunga, Leave the Oil in the Soil

The problem, in a nutshell, is that for fifty years, foreign oil companies have conducted some of the world’s most sophisticated exploration and production operations, using millions of dollars’ worth of imported ultramodern equipment, against a backdrop of Stone Age squalor. They have extracted hundreds of millions of barrels of oil, which have sold on… Read More

CSOs Say NO to Oil in DRC’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites Virunga and Salonga

DRC Civil Society united to protect Virunga and Salonga National park. These two UNESCO World Heritage Natural Sites represent an outstanding universal value and any project of partial disaffection could be considered as an inhuman act intentionally causing great suffering to the thousands of local communities and indigenous peoples who depend on these exceptional values… Read More

Good News For Virunga: Mountain Gorilla Numbers Surpass 1.000

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Rwanda, and Republic of Uganda release new census results. Rubavu, Rwanda, 31 May 2018 A recent survey documented 604 mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), the largest number of mountain gorillas ever recorded in the transboundary Virunga Massif, one of the two remaining areas where this Critically… Read More

Virunga Rangers: Last Wo-Men Standing and Upholding the Law

On average one Virunga National Park ranger is killed every month trying to protect the endangered animals living in this part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Poaching in central Africa has turned into a war in which heavily armed militia target elephants, rhinos and gorillas. The years of conflict have also added to the… Read More

Virunga: Can Environmental Damage by Oil Exploration be Prosecuted as a Crime under International Law? 

This week was marked by the announcement by Global Witness that “the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government is attempting to reclassify swathes of two UNESCO-protected World Heritage Sites –Salonga and Virunga National Parks – to allow oil exploration to take place”. At the same time the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, was concluding… Read More

Why is Effective Environmental Protection and the Rule of Law Important to Preserve Virunga?

Strengthening the rule of law is critical to protecting environmental, social, and cultural values and to achieving ecologically sustainable development.  Without the environmental rule of law and the enforcement of legal rights and obligations, environmental governance, conservation, and protection may be arbitrary, subjective, and unpredictable.  The environmental rule of law and robust institutions are essential… Read More

The Guardian – ‘We know we may be killed’: The Rangers Risking their Lives for Virunga’s Gorillas

The huge national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most dangerous conservation projects in the world. But thanks to the efforts of a committed force of rangers, populations of endangered species are recovering and locals say the park offers hope for the whole region. Jason Burke in Virunga national park,… Read More

Virunga: Preserving Africa’s National Parks through People-Centred Development

Home to rare and endangered species, the Congo’s national parks are also sites of human conflict. Without addressing the material drivers behind ecological degradation, conservation risks a losing battle. For Virunga, this was not an option– as Africa’s oldest national park, tackling socio-economic challenges facing local populations was a necessity in preserving its natural heritage.… Read More

Good News for Virunga: UN moves towards Recognising Human Right to a Healthy Environment

Formal recognition would help protect those who increasingly risk their lives to defend the land, water, forests and wildlife, says the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment. By Jonathan Watts Global environment editor It is time for the United Nations to formally recognise the right to a healthy environment, according to the… Read More

1.000 Reasons Save Virunga: Gorilla babies, babies, and more babies…

Virunga’s rangers couldn’t be happier with the way 2018 has begun. The first of seven births happened on January 7th, when Sebutimbiri of the Mapuwa family gave birth to a boy. Several days later four more babies were born within five days of each other. With January in the books, rangers understandably thought they had… Read More

Virunga: African Heritage and its Sustainable Development

The subject of African heritage and its sustainable development – or African heritage and sustainable development – has become one of the most discussed issues of late, both within and outside the continent. The discussion has not been confined only to heritage practitioners but has traversed the traditional boundaries, bringing in the practitioners, academicians, communities,… Read More

Defending the Environment has Become a Suicide Mission in Many Parts of the World #Virunga

“Almost four environmental defenders a week killed in 2017” Environmental Warriors Environmental activists around the globe are being killed as they struggle to protect fragile ecosystems. From Brazil to Congo, the Philippines to Tanzania, the toll is heaviest in countries beset by corruption and weak enforcement, where entrenched government and business elites break laws with… Read More