British oil company SOCO International PLC (SOCO) has agreed to end its controversial operations in Africa's oldest national park. Oil drilling was resolutely opposed by local and international environmental groups and also drew criticism from the British Government, which said it was against all oil exploration within the national park or any other World Heritage Site.
International campaigns such as WWF's "Draw The Line," EcoInternet's global petition and SaveVirunga, as well as the recent film documentary ‘Virunga' produced by Orlando von Einsiedel put pressure on SOCO to withdraw from Virunga.
In October 2013, WWF filed a complaint against SOCO under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The company's commitment comes following mediation between the two parties as part of this process.
IS IT REALLY A VICTORY?
SOCO International has agreed with WWF in a joint statement to not undertake or commission any exploratory or other drilling within Virunga National Park "unless UNESCO and the DRC government agree that such activities are not incompatible with its World Heritage status."