World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Local pressure mounts against oil in Virunga

Citizens concerned about possible oil exploration in Virunga National Park are calling on the international community for its support in the fight against a foreign petrochemical company. Gathering at meetings in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over the past two weeks, multiple groups of community activists have signed declarations asking that oil activities be stopped in Africa’s oldest national park.

Residents are worried that UK-based oil company Soco International PLC has been given a contract to explore in Virunga, which is a protected World Heritage Site. The UK government has spoken out against Soco’s operations in the park, and the UNESCO World Heritage Committee has called for the cancelation of oil permits overlapping the site.

Under DRC law, activities that could damage national parks, like oil and mining, are prohibited. Currently, Soco is exploiting a legal loophole that allows for scientific activities, but more invasive exploration activities appear to be imminent. The company says that it has been given permission for seismic testing on Virunga’s Lake Edward. The lake provides fish and freshwater to 50,000 nearby residents.

Fishermen and their families fear that they will be restricted from the lake or that it could become polluted. Oil exploration in DRC’s Bas Congo province has proven to be highly damaging to the environment. It also failed to provide promised jobs. Those living near the park say they would like to better understand their sustainable development alternatives to oil.

Analysis commissioned by WWF found that if developed sustainably, Virunga National Park could grow in value to over US$1 billion per year and could be the source of 45,000 permanent jobs. As the most biodiverse park in Africa, Virunga has tremendous tourism potential from its rare species like mountain gorillas, okapis and migratory birds. Revenue from tourism is shared equitably with local communities, whereas oil profits are likely to be repatriated abroad to the benefit of Soco’s investors.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Whaling: Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research In Defiance Of World Court Ruling

The ICR Today Filed Court Briefs Stating They Intend to Return to Antarctica to Hunt Whales in 2015-2016; Will Seek to Enjoin Other Sea Shepherd Entities from Obstructing Their Operations More>>

Ukraine: UN Urges 'Maximum Restraint' Amid Situation In East Ukraine

Deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for maximum restraint and appealed to all sides to work towards calming the situation, which has the 'growing potential' to ... More>>

United Nations: Children Can Now Lodge Complaints With The UN

GENEVA (14 April 2014) – United Nations child rights experts have hailed a new treaty that allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights. More>>

India: Election But A Ritual In Nation Lacking Rule Of Law

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) congratulates the people of India for their participation to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The process has attracted, as usual, considerable media attention across the world. Media claims the process to be 'the largest democratic ... More>>

Solomon Islands: Thousands Remain Affected After Flash Floods

An estimated 52,000 people remain affected in the worst-hit areas of Honiara and greater Guadalcanal following last week’s devastating floods which killed at least 23 people. More>>

ALSO:

World: Some 437,000 People Murdered Worldwide In 2012 - UN

Almost half a million people across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, with the highest murder rates logged in the Americas and Africa, and the lowest in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the United Nations Office on ... More>>

Central African Republic:: Security Council Establishes UN Peacekeeping Mission

Deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation and ongoing human rights abuses in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Security Council today approved the establishment of a nearly 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping operation ... More>>

ALSO:

Parliament: NZ Sending Aid Flight To Solomons

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced further support for the response to severe flooding in Solomon Islands. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news