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Decision : 27 COM 7A.2
Properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Expresses its serious concerns about the continuing threats of poaching in all properties and encroachments and cattle farming in Virunga; 

2. Commends international conservation NGOs, the UNESCO/DRC/UNF (United Nations Foundation) Project and the Governments of Germany and Belgium for their commitment to support staff of the properties and to mobilize necessary financial and human resources needed to mitigate threats to the integrity of the five properties;

3. Invites the new National Unity Government of the State Party to commit itself to protecting the integrity of the five World Heritage properties and co-operate with United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and all other concerned UN, international and national authorities to ensure the complete removal of all armed groups from the territories of the five World Heritage properties;

4. Urges the new National Unity Government of the State Party to call upon all sections of society, including the military forces, local communities residing near the World Heritage properties and the broader public to commit to supporting the work of the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) at the national, regional and property levels and provide the necessary human, material and financial resources for the conservation of the five World Heritage properties and biodiversity resources of the DRC;

5. Requests the new National Unity Government of the State Party to enforce the legislation prohibiting mining and other resource extraction activities within the five World Heritage properties and to give careful consideration to the environmental impact of such activities, whenever they are planned for implementation outside the World Heritage properties;

6. Reiterates its call for urgent and high-level diplomatic initiatives to halt illegal encroachment and settlements threatening the Virunga National Park and to ensure that all authorities respect the international significance and neutrality of World Heritage properties and assist property staff and other conservation authorities to effectively protect those properties;

7. Expresses its appreciation to the United States Government, the European Union and other donor countries and international organizations for the launching of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership and invites them to work with the State Party and the Secretariat to develop a programme to consolidate the achievements of the UNESCO/DRC/UNF project;

8. Recommends that the Director-General of UNESCO consider, in co-operation with the Government of Belgium, IUCN, UNF, NGO partners and other appropriate States Parties, institutions and organizations, to launch an international campaign for supporting World Heritage and biodiversity conservation in the DRC and to ensure the full recovery of the World Heritage value of the five properties;

9. Decides to retain the Garamba, Salonga, Kahuzi-Biega and Virunga National Parks and the Okapi Wildife Reserve of the DRC on the List of World Heritage in Danger, and to examine their state of conservation at its 28th session in 2004.

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