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Parliamentary questions
2 August 2012
Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on behalf of the Commission

In line with its policies for environment and biodiversity preservation, the EU and key donors working in the field of conservation in the DRC have intervened repeatedly since late 2010 to seek to prevent oil exploration in the Virunga National Park which would be contrary to Congolese legislation and international agreements signed by the DRC in relation to the preservation of Unesco World Heritage sites.

In early 2011 the EU agreed to fund a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of exploration and exploitation of oil across the Albertine Rift including the Virunga National Park. This assessment is underway and the EU, jointly with other donors, is following the process with a special attention given to Virunga. The assessment will take into consideration the exceptional biological value and the special legal status of the Virunga National Park. A properly conducted environmental assessment will be the best tool to inform Government decision-making and therefore the best guarantee for the safeguarding of the Virunga Park.

Heads of Mission have discussed the problem of oil exploration and potential extraction in the Virunga Park with the Congolese authorities who have confirmed publicly that if the strict conditions associated with the exploration permit were not respected by the oil company, the exploration license would be withdrawn. The issue has been raised on several occasions by the EU Head of Delegation with the new government in place since April 2012.

OJ C 124 E, 30/04/2013
Last updated: 17 August 2012Legal notice