British government uses aid money to back oil in UNESCO site; Maeve McClenaghan, Joe Sandler Clarke & Lawrence Carter; GreenPeace

British officials are using aid money to support oil drilling in a World Heritage Site in Africa, according to an Energydesk investigation.

Government documents, obtained through freedom of information (FOI), reveal that the Foreign Office pledged thousands of pounds in aid to support drilling in Lake Malawi, where the UN warns that a spill could wreck the fragile ecosystem.

UK oil company Surestream has a stake in two oil blocks overlapping the lake, while United Arab Emirates firm RAK Gas holds the rights to explore in the UN protected zone itself.

UN environmental agency UNESCO warned in a previous statement that: “An accidental spill anywhere in the lake would pose a potentially severe risk to the integrity of the entire ecosystem, including the aquatic zone and shoreline of the property.”

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