Protests against oil exploration in national park

Protests against oil exploration in national park
Protests against oil exploration in national park

Keystone-SDA

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June 21, 2024 – 01:01

(Keystone-ATS) An oil exploration permit granted by Brazzaville to a Chinese company threatens the ecosystem of a Congolese national park. It must be canceled, environmental defenders warned on Thursday, as June 22 approaches, World Tropical Forest Day

“Is there still time to stop oil drilling in one of the richest national parks in biodiversity in the Congo Basin?”, asks the US-based NGO Earth Insight in a press release. study carried out in collaboration with Greenpeace Africa.

As early as last February, Greenpeace protested against the decision of the Congolese government, taken in January, to grant an exploration permit to the company “China Oil Natural Gas Overseas Holding United” in the Conkouati-Douli national park, in the south. -west of the country.

Endangered species

This park, points out Earth Insight, is home to endangered wildlife such as “western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees and forest elephants”, and thousands of villagers “whose livelihoods depend on the forest”.

Around ten Congolese civil society organizations in turn asked the authorities, at the beginning of June, to withdraw this permit which, according to them, “goes against the numerous commitments made by the Republic of Congo at the international level and to the law on wildlife and protected areas”.

Stop international funding

Both these NGOs and Greenpeace also called for an end to international funding – European and French in particular – for conservation activities in the park until this permit was cancelled. The Congolese government did not react to these calls and did not respond to requests from AFP.

In its press release, and supporting maps, Earth Insight insists and underlines that oil exploitation in this area would endanger “the tropical forest, the endangered species and the local communities which have lived there for centuries”.

The Conkouati-Douli National Park, on the border with Gabon, is home to more than 5,000 km2 of coastal, maritime and forest ecosystems, recalls the NGO.

Behind the Amazon, the Congo Basin is the second largest forest area and ecological lung on the planet, with some 220 million hectares of forests spread across several countries, including Congo-Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon. .

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