by Edwin Mumbere
Recently the Democratic Republic of Congo said that is planning to redraw the boundaries of Virunga National park ,Virunga is the most bio-diverse National Park in Africa, home to countless endangered species including a quarter of the last remaining Mountain Gorilla. It is already subject to an unprecedented level of poaching and cannot be put at further risk by allowing oil exploration or extraction from the region.
The area of interest is Lake Edward which provides a livelihood to approximately 30,000 people through fishing, not to mention the tens of thousands who rely on the lake for drinking water and food. This could all be put at risk by allowing oil companies in both Uganda and Congo.
The Virunga national park which is neighboring Queen Elizabeth National, where is movement of animals and birds from one park to another could cause a high spread of diseases since animals that have been affected by oil activities in Congo, could cross and affect the ones in Uganda leaving tourism as the most affected and further more the livelihoods of Ugandans that have been benefiting from this lake could be shattered because of the pollution that could take place on the other side of Lake Edward in Congo.
The forests around the world are the world are disappearing at an alarming rate , we can’t allow the governments of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo to accept oil activities by redrawing the boundaries of this national to create space for oil exploitation and . It will set a global precedent and show UNESCO park boundaries are meaningless and subject to change when money is involved.
As if protection of the region wasn't reason enough, many well respected scientists from around the world are agreeing we cannot continue to use fossil fuels and if we have any chance of stalling climate change oil must be left in the ground.
Africa Institute for Energy Governance-Kasese Field Office