A new report released by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) finds that 20 REDD+ projects in Mai-Ndome, a province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, do not address two primary goals of the strategy: forest conservation and economic development. In the report, RRI claims that the REDD+ projects are sidelining local communities and infringing on their rights to control what happens to their forest homes.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has announced that it will consider revising the boundaries of Virunga National Park in an effort to accommodate oil exploration in the area. The government announced the possible change following the voluntary halting of exploratory activities within the park by Soco International last year. The British company ceased operations in Virunga after completing seismic surveys, the results of which will be turned over to DRC officials. Changes to the borders would have to be approved by UNESCO, as the park was designated a World Heritage Site in 1994.
British oil company Soco International has announced that it will suspend oil exploration in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park. Virunga—Africa’s oldest national park—is home to a number of endangered species, including the mountain gorilla, okapi, and several species of rare birds. Although Soco’s exploratory activities in the park had been supported by the DRC's government, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other conservation groups have opposed exploration, fearing it will hurt the park’s fragile ecosystem.
Government officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are working with foreign logging firms to support illegal deforestation, according to a report by Global Witness. Many of the country's artisanal logging permits, meant for small-scale tree felling by Congolese citizens, are being awarded to foreign firms, in direct violation of Congolese law.