On 24 and 26 October 2016, at the invitation of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo, represented by the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature - ICCN), met with Permanent Delegates from Uganda, Central African Republic and South Sudan, at UNESCO Headquarters to discuss the state of conservation of Garamba National Park (GNP), a World Heritage property that has witnessed increased insecurity and poaching in recent years.
Garamba National Park is located in the savannah of the Eastern Province, in the northeast region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its location makes it particularly vulnerable in light of the presence of groups of poachers. Despite the constant efforts of ICCN and the "African Parks Network" (APN - the managing authority mandated by ICCN), the park’s staff has to contend with heavily armed groups that have proven to be professional poachers. Since 2014, attacks by these groups have unfortunately resulted in the deaths of over 15 rangers of Garamba National Park rangers.
In response to this situation, the World Heritage Committee in its Decision 39 COM 7A.6 (Bonn, 2015) and 40 COM 7A.37 (Istanbul, 2016) requested UNESCO " to organize, in cooperation with United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), a high-level meeting between the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and South Sudan, as well as Central African Republic and other potential stakeholders on how to improve security in the region and address the poaching issue”.
The meetings follow an initial consultation held in July 2016 in Istanbul during the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee. That encounter enabled the representatives of the States Parties present to exchange on the threat of poaching affecting Garamba National Park and on the general issue of insecurity in the region. These discussions will lead to a high-level meeting, involving all relevant stakeholders and institutions concerned , with a view to implementing the Decisions of the World Heritage Committee, as well as ,elaborating solutions to combat poaching at the regional level as this scourge adversely affects GNP and many other World Heritages properties in Africa.
Garamba National Park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1980.