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First Kinshasa public gathering on oil organized in part by WWF

The issue of oil and its impact on people and their land was discussed by civil society, the oil industry and representatives from the Congolese government at a two day conference in Kinshasa, co-organized by WWF-Democratic Republic of Congo. It was the first time such a meeting on oil took place.

For the first time ever, members of civil society, representatives from the oil industry and Congolese government officials met to discuss emerging issues around oil exploration and its impact on the people and landscapes in DRC.

The high pertinence of the oil issue in the country was evident by the participation of over 80 individuals.

Oil is expected to bring more income to the country than mining, which could potentially change the country’s economy. However oil extraction is also threatening communities and some of the country’s most prized landscapes, including World Heritage sites such as Virunga National Park.

Floribert Masani from the Goma-based organization Réseau CREF came to Kinshasa to share his experiences with oil company Soco, which is operating in an area that contains part of Lake Edward and the Virunga National Park, a World Heritage and Ramsar site.

“We fear that oil will yet be the new resource triggering even more conflict in our region and will destroy our lake and its fish stock, on which we depend,” Masani said.

WWF co-organized the conference with Réseau Ressources Naturelles, the national network of environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and Southern African Resource Watch.

For the complete article, please see WWF.