Virunga: protecting Africa’s oldest national park

We’re working to keep Virunga National Park free from oil exploration

A sustainable future

UK oil company Soco has committed to end its oil exploration operations in Virunga. Whilst we have received several assurances that the company have dismantled their operations, we continue to monitor the situation in the park. But for Virunga to be safe in the long-term we need the DRC government to cancel all oil exploration permits (as requested by UNESCO) and for sustainable development to start. We still need your help to secure a sustainable future for this special place and its communities and wildlife in the long term. Help us hold the line.

People-power works. Together we'll hold the line.

About Virunga

Virunga is Africa's oldest national park and a treasured World Heritage Site. It's the size of a small country, straddling the equator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It's got more than its share of wonderful wildlife - not just huge numbers of unique birds, but African icons like lions, elephants, hippos, chimps and the remarkable okapi. And a quarter of the world's critically endangered mountain gorillas. People who live and work there know it's a very special place.

Campaign timeline

August 2013 Campaign launched

We launched our campaign to protect Virunga. Hundreds of thousands of you signed up in the first week

October 2013 Our Virunga film released

WWF Ambassador Anna Friel launched a film based on her visit to the area. Media around the world became interested in the issue.

7th October 2013 OECD complaint submitted

WWF filed a complaint alleging breaches of corporate social responsibility standards outlined in the OECD guidelines  the worlds best practice guidelines for businesses

14th February 2014 OECD complaint upheld

The UK government agency evaluating the case found that it merited further examination through the OECD complaint process.

June 2014 Soco agrees not to drill

Soco also agreed to end their oil exploration operations in Virunga

Next steps No more permits

We want all oil companies to stay out of Virunga and for the DRC government to cancel all permits.

The Future for Virunga

Soco's commitment to withdraw from Virunga is a victory for the people that depend directly on the parks resources and a triumph for everyone who values the rare plants, animals and habitats the park was set up to protect. Whilst we have received several assurances that the company have dismantled their operations, we continue to monitor the situation in the park. With the development of hydropower, fisheries and ecotourism industries, Virunga can have a prosperous and sustainable future.

Now is the time for the DRC government to reaffirm its conviction that Virunga has outstanding universal value for all humanity by cancelling all oil concessions overlapping the park as requested by UNESCO. Only then will Virungas outstanding value truly be secure for the future, and only then can the park reach its full potential to drive sustainable economic development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We will also continue to say no to the pressures putting World Heritage Sites in danger across the globe.

Thank you for your support – please join us in protecting more places like Virunga.