Blog | March 9, 2016

Virunga: a new threat

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Watch and share our film on the urgent new threat to Virunga – Africa’s oldest national park.

On the 26th of February seven companies submitted bids to the Ugandan government in a licencing round which includes the Ngaji oil block which covers half of Lake Edward and large parts of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and forms part of the same continuous ecosystem as the Virunga World Heritage site. A Government spokesperson was reported in the Ugandan media today as saying that none of the companies submitted bids for Ngaji as a result of our campaign to save Virunga, but the government still plans to issue a licence for this area!

The Greater Virunga Landscape is one of the most bio-diverse areas on earth and home to Africa’s most iconic and endangered species like hippos, elephants and some of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas.  Lake Edward is a vital source of food for over 200,000 people and its waters feed the Nile and Congo rivers.

Any oil activities in this area could lead to significant damage to the lake, the broader ecosystem and the people and animals that depend on it. Global Witness has been campaigning for over four years to prevent oil drilling in Lake Edward and the surrounding ecosystem - read more about it here. We are calling on UNESCO and the governments of DRC and Uganda to negotiate a no-go area for extractives around Lake Edward.

It may only be a matter of weeks before Uganda issues the oil licence in Lake Edward, effectively opening up Virunga by the back door. Don’t let this happen! Share our animation to help us raise awareness of this issue and keep the pressure up on the Ugandan government.