DRC Salonga and Virunga Parks, two World Heritage Sites still threatened by oil production
Aerial view of Salonga National Park, DemocraticRepublic of Congo
WWF is deeply concerned over the potential damaging impact any oil production could have on Salonga and Virunga national parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As recently released by the government, plans are underway to partially degazette both World Heritage Sites for oil exploration and exploitation.
According to the inter-ministerial meeting report obtained on 26th June 2018, the state confirms its intent to consider partial degazettement of the two parks, and gave the authorization to the country's oil ministry to set up two commissions to launch the process.
Salonga and Virunga are home to bonobos & mountain gorillas, two critically endangered emblematic species found in the DRC, and extractive activity poses a grave risk to their exceptional flora and fauna as well as the lives and livelihoods of neighboring communities. WWF which co-manages the Salonga National Park already expressed its concern over this decision in a statement released in March 2018.
WWF urges the DRC government to safeguard these sites of outstanding universal value and pursue a sustainable development path to build a better future for its citizen, local communities and indigenous people that live in these areas. WWF is working with partners and stakeholders on the ground, both in North Kivu and Salonga, to help develop green economy program that could protect these unique ecosystems while improving socio economic condition to people who depend on these natural resources.