Virunga National Park: the DRC government called to renounce the proposed amendment of the Virunga park boundaries—The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) called on the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to abandon any project modification of the current limits of the Virunga National Park, located in the North Kivu province of eastern DRC and World Heritage of UNESCO, in a statement sent to PANA Sunday.
WWF, which reacted to statements by Prime Minister Matata Ponyo Congolese announcing the government’s willingness to hold talks with UNESCO in the sense of changing the boundaries of the protected area, urged the Congolese government to work for the realization of sustainable economic vision in the long term. According to WWF, such a change would cause irreparable disastrous consequences for ecosystems and economic opportunities offered by the park, the oldest in Africa.
In fact, he added, Lake Edward, which is part of the Virunga National Park, provides a livelihood for more than 50,000 people who live on its banks, and fishing alone generates nearly 30 million US dollars per year. Clean energy projects, such as hydroelectric dams Mutwanga and Rutshuru, are also a great potential for the sustainable economic development of the region.
In addition, the diversity of landscapes, which makes Virunga a unique place in the world, has tremendous power of attraction for tourism, 30% of revenues are invested in community projects. Three oil companies, including two British (Dominon Petroleum and Soco International) and a Congolese company (COHIDRO) have obtained the Congolese government’s permission to prospect in the Virunga National Park.
Created in 1925, Virunga National Park is rich in flora and fauna. It has one of the highest population densities in Africa, with more than 400 inhabitants/km2. It is packed in an area of ??800,000 ha of many iconic species, which include elephants, chimpanzees, mountain gorillas. But it is now ranked among the five sites in danger UNESCO World Heritage in DRC because it is faced with the actions of poachers and local and foreign armed groups still active in this part of the country, as well as the invasion and deforestation of their land by environmental populations.
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