Issues and Local Voices

What is Happening in Virunga and with the Communities?

Virunga National Park

The Virunga National Park  is Africa’s oldest and most biodiverse park. It is a 7800 square km National Park that stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the South, to the Rwenzori Mountains in the North, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Rwanda and Uganda.

The Oil Threat

The park’s future is threatened: oil has been discovered, and the Congolese government has awarded three concessions for oil exploration, which cover 85% of the park. Oil becomes the most important threat to the park, to the communities and to the ecosystem.

Lake Edward

Lake Edward is one of the Great African Lakes, on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
The lake was named by the explorer Henry Morton Stanley in honour of Prince Albert Edward, The Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII.

The Oil Company

SOCO International plc is an international oil and gas exploration and production company, headquartered in London. SOCO holds rights on the oil concession in BLOCK V (85%).SOCO’s contract allows them access to a big part of Virunga National Park threatening the park with disruptive seismic tests, forest clearing, underground drilling and the laying of oil pipelines.

The Communities

Virunga’s fauna and flora, as well as the political and security situation in the Great Lakes region are tied closely to the people and to the protection and preservation of this ecosystem. Disruptions in one element will lead automatically to changes in the others.

The local Defenders

Since the beginning of SOCO’s exploration operations in Virunga National Park, Environmental and Human Rights defenders have been fighting for the survival of the park and the respect of community rights. Many of them are facing threats when fighting for Virunga and promoting the sustainable development option for the region and communities.

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Save Virunga brings out the power of local communities and conveys their messages to protect Virunga and preserve the integrity of its ecosystems for future generations.
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Latest Updates

Ahead of COP26, 234 Congolese and International organizations call on the Head of State of the Democratic Republic of Congo to put an end to the illegal exploitation of protected areas. The Group of Civil Society NGOs working for the protection of the environment in DRC, ROPE, and supported by 43 international civil society organizations,… Read More

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by Stephan Doempke[1] Over the past two weeks, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee came together for its annual meeting. Since it had been cancelled last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, parts of last year had to be made up, which is why the conference was extended from 10 to 14 days. At the same time,… Read More

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Eighty five percent of wetlands have disappeared, and critical tropical forests continue to burn. Humanity is pushing against the planet’s boundaries. But there are fewer and fewer places left to go. Some of the few, undeveloped places left in the world are those located within internationally recognized areas, such as World Heritage, Ramsar, Biosphere Reserves, among… Read More

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Impacted Protected Areas The oil pipeline would directly or indirectly impact the following areas: Burigi-Biharamulo Game Reserves Recognized as an IUCN Cat IV site in Tanzania. Spanning approximately 350,000 hectares, the Burigi-Biharamulo. Game Reserves comprise of two separate reserves that are managed as a single unit. It lies within the Lake Victoria Basin, and is… Read More

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Shocking “fake publicity stunt” shames oil giant for real deadly pipeline September 14, 2021 PARIS — On Monday, before a chic ballroom full of journalists and business leaders, representatives from supermajor oil company TotalEnergies unveiled RéHabitat, a “habitat-equivalency” conservation program that would rescue animals living along the route of their impending giant East African Crude Oil Pipeline… Read More

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Monsieur Bruno Oberlé , IUCN Directeur général,  Dear Dr. Bruno Oberlé,  We are respectfully writing to you to call your attention to a grave situation that requires urgent action in order to avoid further preventable damage to our Common Home.  We are seeking your support to help stop the massive Lake Albert oil project in Uganda and… Read More

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Testimonials

What Our Supporters Think

 “For all of the people in the local communities of Virunga: We are listening, and we stand with you to protect Virunga and to protect the people in the Virunga region.”

“The idea of drilling a UNESCO world heritage site for oil is shocking. We have to keep it for future generations and protect the inhabiting species and not let them disappear in front of our eyes. I pray that the organisations and governments can put enough pressure on the DRC to recall any licences for oild explorations.”

“Thanks as always for these updates on the situation with oil exploration in Virunga.”

“A perfect and intelligent representation of the plight of the gorilla and draws all our attention to what is happening to this and so many other endangered species that we say we treasure-do we really?”

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