August 8, 2011
Virunga National Park is home to a quarter of the world’s mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, hippos, lions, forest elephants, okapi, and rare birds. It is one of Africa’s most bio-diverse parks and is classified by the United Nations as a World Heritage Site.
The United Nations, along with several conservation organizations have criticized the plan to allowing oil exploration in the park. The oil companies contend that they could improve the park’s security situation, which is unstable due to the presence of armed rebels. Over 130 rangers have died(on record) due to conflict with rebels in the past 15 years.
Only months ago, The Democratic Republic of Congo had suspended oil exploration in the park, until an environmental impact assessment could be conducted. This halted the oil companies, Soco and Dominion’s plans to explore for oil for a short time. In a statement from José E.B. Endundo, the Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, at that time: “We have rejected the recommendations of an environmental impact assessment conducted by the oil company, Soco, which we consider premature, superficial and which does not conform to the standards which we would expect”
On Thursday, July 7th, South Korea’s POSCO, the world’s third largest steelmaker, signed a resource deal with the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday during a visit by President Lee Myung-bak. Congo’s iron ore sector is in the exploratory phase and another agreement included a joint oil exploration agreement between South Korea and Congo. The president of the Import-Export Bank of Korea, Yong Hwan Kim, the president of POSCO, Joon-Yang Chung, and the Congolese Minister of Finance, Matata Ponyo, the Congolese Minister of Energy, Gilbert Tshiongo, and the Congolese Minister of Mines, Martin Kabwelulu, signed agreements in regard to resource development.
The implications of the oil extraction will jeopardize countless lives; chimpanzees, gorillas, migratory bird species. We request that all animal and environmental activists take the initiative and stand behind the effort to persuade the Democratic Republic of Congo to stop these oil companies from defiling Virunga National Park.
At AELLA, we will do our very best to support the effort against oil exploration in Virunga National Park. This operation will have an extensive impact on the ecosystems of the Congo. Oil extraction will affect Lake Edward nesting birds, resident migrate mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and has the capacity to ruin many human lives. Countless species of flora, which are home to an incredibly diverse number of animal species will be at risk. The threat to Lake Edward, to which some 500,000 families rely on to survive, is quite palpable.
Please voice your opinion to the Congolese officials and say no to this project!
Sign the petition, which will automatically email the Congolese authorities HERE, beginning with His Excellency, President Joseph Kabila.
Please also support IDPE(Innovation for the Development and Protection of Environment) by clicking the logo below and joining them on Facebook.
An IDPE(Innovation for the Development and Protection of Environment) demonstration at the park