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Committee Decisions

32 COM 7A.4

Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 63)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7A.4, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Expresses its sincerest condolences to the families of guards who were killed during operations related to the protection of the property;

4. Regrets that, despite the peace efforts undertaken by the State Party in the eastern part of the country, and the Peace Conference, permanent insecurity inside and around the property continues to hinder conservation activities;

5. Notes with concern the results and conclusions of the Reinforced Monitoring mission of August 2007 indicating that the Outstanding Universal Value for which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List is becoming increasingly threatened and that the accumulating threats could have an irreversible impact on the property and its integrity;

6. Urges the State Party, in cooperation with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), to implement the Act of Commitment adopted on 23 January 2008 at the end of the Goma Peace and Development Conference in the two Kivus that provides for the disarmament of all armed national and foreign groups in this region;

7. Requests the State Party to implement the urgent actions recommended by the Reinforced Monitoring mission of August 2007, in particular :

                        a) halt all production of charcoal inside the property and promote alternative sources of energy;

                        b) withdraw the non-strategic military postings;

                        c) take steps to improve security in the property and its periphery, and in this endeavour to seek any cooperation that may be extended, consistent with its mandate and capabilities, by MONUC;

                        d) ensure transparent management of income resulting from tourism and develop and implement a profit-sharing strategy with local communities;

                        e) strengthen communication activities and awareness raising for the authorities concerned and local populations;

8. Also requests the State Party to implement the other recommendations of the Reinforced Monitoring mission of August 2007, in particular the recommendations for the institutional strengthening of the management authority for the protected areas, ICCN, as well as the corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius 2006);

9. Brings to the attention of the State Party that the presence of the Nyaleke army training and reunification camp inside the property, as well as the granting of mining and oil exploration concessions endangers the integrity of the property;

10. Further requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the conditions of integrity as well as a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

11. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, before 1 February 2009, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including an update on the disarmament of the armed groups within the property and information on monitoring the state of the threatened species, the extent of encroachment and deforestation in the region, and the level of poaching, as well as progress accomplished in the implementation of the recommendations of the Reinforced Monitoring mission and the corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

12. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring mechanism to the property;

13. Also decides to retain Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Documents
PDF Original Decision Document
Context of Decision
PDF WHC-08/32.COM/7A
Themes: Conservation, List of World Heritage in Danger
Properties: Virunga National Park
Session: 32COM