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Committee Decisions

36 COM 7A.8

Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 718)

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7A,

2.   Recalls Decision 35 COM 7A.8 adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.   Extends its deepest condolences to the families of guards killed during operations conducted to protect the property, since its last session;

4.   Warmly welcomes the efforts of the State Party and in particular the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation, in implementing the corrective measures;

5.   Expresses its strong concern with regard to the reports indicating an extremely serious deterioration of the security situation in the property, the total loss of control of all the south-eastern and south-western parts of the Reserve, the invasion by the Simba rebels, the increase in organized and commercial poaching of elephants, the reopening of the artisanal mines and the lack of collaboration of the military authorities based in Kisangani to assist in dealing with this situation and considers that these developments risk to cancel all progress achieved in the last five years;

6.   Notes the lack of progress in the cancellation of mining rights encroaching on the property granted by the Mining Cadastre, despite national legislation and recalls that the mining exploration and exploitation are contrary to the World Heritage status, in accordance with the position of the International Council on Minerals and Metals, and that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) including a clear conclusion on the potential impacts of the projects on the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property, should be carried out and transmitted to the World Heritage Centre for all mining projects adjacent to the property, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

7.   Strongly urges the State Party to initiate a dialogue/cooperation at the political level with the State services (Ministry of Defense, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Mines, Provincial authorities,…) to strengthen the efforts in the implementation of the current corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009), and more specifically to undertake immediate measures to halt the involvement of the FARDC military in poaching activities, regain control of the zones occupied by the Simba rebels and the immediate cancellation of the mining rights encroaching on the property, in conformity with the commitments undertaken in the Kinshasa Declaration;

8.   Requests the State Party to submit the final results of the wildlife inventory as soon as they are available and also recalls that the results are indispensable for the evaluation of the tendencies of the eight indicators defined for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;

9.   Also requests the State Party to invite a World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to assess the state of conservation of the property and the progress achieved in the implementation of the corrective measures, evaluate the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, and if necessary to revise the corrective measures and consequently their timetable for application, taking into account the situation in the field;

10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2013, a report on the state of conservation of the property, in particular the state of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property based on the final results of the 2011 survey, the progress accomplished in the implementation of the corrective measures and the other recommendations of the 2009 mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013.

11. Decides to retain the Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Themes: Conservation, List of World Heritage in Danger
Session: 36COM