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Civil Society Organisations ask Government to halt oil exploration plans in Virunga.
A joint press statement released by Civil Society actors in Uganda calls upon the Governments of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to halt plans of exploring or exploiting for oil in Ngagi block in Queen Elizabeth National Park located in the Greater Virunga Eco system . 

The statement, issued on 21st January 2016 was released under the auspices of the Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas (CSCO), a loose coalition of civil society actors working on petroleum issues in Uganda. 

The Civil Society Organisations assert that
 
"Virunga National Park is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its 'Outstanding Universal Value' including a 'wide diversity of habitats' and 'exceptional biodiversity, notably endemic species and rare and globally threatened species such as the mountain gorilla.' An estimated 200,000 fishermen and local people depend on the lake for their livelihoods and a valuable source of protein. 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. This could include adverse impacts from drilling, road construction, increased population or water pollution."

Given the outstanding universal value of the wider Virunga area we urge UNESCO and the governments of Uganda and the DRC to prevent any oil exploration, extraction or related activities in Virunga and Queen Elizabeth national parks and Lake Edward and cancel any oil-related licencing in the area indefinitely.

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By Harriet Bibangambah
Posted 22nd, January 2016
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