Avoid Irreversible Damage to the Virunga National Park, says the EP (DRC)


European Parliament, PR Newswire Star Africa

Date Published
Translated from French by an automated online translation service, so please excuse the roughness. See link for original. Thank you to Anne Dillon for volunteering her time to find these French articles and doing the online translating.

The Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo, has become one of the most dangerous places in the world in terms of wildlife conservation, the Parliament stated in a resolution adopted Thursday. MEPs called for measures to protect this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is also the refuge of species of endangered mountain gorillas.

Cessation of All Exploration and Exploitation of Oil
Parliament expressed its deep concern at the irreversible damage that could be caused to the Virunga National Park (PNV) following exploration and oil production that is “not compatible with World Heritage status.”
The resolution, adopted by a show of hands, pointed the finger at the British oil company SOCO International, which, in violation of international conventions, conducted a petroleum exploration in and around Lake Edward, an area that is home to chimpanzees, elephants, crocodiles, and lions, some of which are endangered. The company should “stop all exploration and exploitation in Virunga permanently,” says the resolution.
Sustainable Management of Natural Resources
Parliament encourages the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to develop sustainable energy and economic alternatives to extractive industries. “Sustainable management of land, water, and wildlife of Virunga will have direct and indirect economic benefits for communities that rely heavily on the park’s natural resources,” says the resolution. According to a 2013 report by the WWF, tourism linked to mountain gorillas could generate $30 million a year and create thousands of jobs.
During a debate on December 2, MEPs asked the commission to take steps to help protect the park, to address the root causes of armed conflict and corruption, and to support sustainable development strategies and consolidation of peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo.