Greenpeace Africa urges UNESCO and DRC government to release documents relating to decision to cancel oil blocks

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Kinshasa, July 24th, 2021 (CPA).- The international NGO Greenpeace Africa urged UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the DRC government to publish documents relating to the decision to cancel the oil blocks, indicates a press release from this organization for the defense of nature, which reached the CPA on Friday.

Greenpeace Africa is also demanding the publication of the map of the nine oil blocks in the central basin, object of the future auction.

This NGO has taken note of the cancellation of these oil blocks in the Salonga National Park (PNS) and also expects to see similar decisions taken for the Virunga park and the rest of the Central Basin threatened by the blocks. oil tankers.

A decision of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, on Monday, July 19, 2021, indicating the withdrawal of the Salonga National Park, in the center of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from the list of world heritage in danger. Indeed, the Congolese authorities have clarified the situation by canceling the oil concessions in the Salonga park. These oil blocks will be excluded from future auctions.

According to the source, oil blocks were awarded by the tenors of the former regime towards the end of his term. These boulders straddle the Salonga National Park and are found around the peatlands of the central basin.

“Vast areas rich in biodiversity provide drinking water, food security and medicines to local communities and provide environmental services to humanity,” explains the head of the international project for the Congo Basin forest, Irène Wabiwa Betoko.

The Salonga National Park (PNS), spread over 36,000 square kilometers (km2), is the largest reserve of dense rainforest in Africa and it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1984. It plays a fundamental role in climate regulation and carbon sequestration, and it is thus home to many endangered endemic species such as the dwarf chimpanzee (or bonobo), the forest elephant, the African crocodile with the tapering muzzle and the Congo peacock.

Protected area rich in fauna

This protected area, rich in fauna, was inscribed on the list of World Heritage in Danger in 1999, due to pressures such as poaching, deforestation and mismanagement, before the DRC government furthermore subsequently issued licenses for oil drilling, encroaching on the protected area and posing a threat to the site.

« The auctioning of oil blocks by the DRC not only lacked transparency and caused a scandal for particularly sensitive environmental areas, but it will not benefit the Congolese or the planet, » lamented Irène Wabiwa.

The diversification of the DRC economy should be done through investments in renewable energies which will make energy accessible and affordable for all ”, instead of favoring a small group of beneficiaries of the toxic fossil fuel industry, a – she concluded. ACP/Fng/nig