The European Parliament today adopted a resolution that outlines the measures the EU should take to contribute to protecting Virunga National Park, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Virunga National Park is the most biologically diverse park in Africa, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. However, a victim of the resource curse, oil and logging concessions were authorised there, notably for the benefit of European Companies, in violation of international environmental agreements signed by the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park has also become a site which is subject to illegal practices, such as poaching. Moreover, the presence of armed groups that control these concessions gives rise to abuse and serious violations of human rights.
Linda McAvan, Chair of the Development Committee, said:
“During our study mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo in April 2015, we saw the need to strengthen the EU’s commitment to supporting clean mining, domestic resource mobilisation, the fight against poaching, and illegal logging, mining and corruption.”
Marie Arena, S&D spokesperson on conflict minerals, said:
“Damage caused by mining activities affects not only the environment but also the health of the population. At a time when the international community has just reached an historic agreement to fight climate change, good intentions alone are not enough. Multinational corporations must assume their share of responsibility. This is why, in the Committee’s trade strategy and in the new trade agreements negotiated by the EU, we will defend the implementation of binding mechanisms, which require companies to comply with international commitments on the protection of the environment and sustainable development.