On 13 March 2009 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the latest maps of World Heritage sites produced by the Belgian universities of Louvain (UCL) and Gand (UGent), with the financial support of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) were officially presented to the Congo Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN).
The General Director for the ICCN, Mr Cosma Wilungula Balongelwa and the directors of Kahuzi-Biega National Park and Virunga National Park World Heritage sites, Mr Radar Nishuli and Mr Emmanuel de Merode, received the maps from Mme Brigitte Decadt of BELSPO. Maps of three other sites, Garamba and Salonga National Parks and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, had already been presented to ICCN three years earlier, on 14 March 2006.
Thanks to the support of the Belgian universities represented at the ceremony by Professor Philipe Defourny (UCL) and Mr Ruben Maddens (UGent), and of BELSPO, ICCN now has extremely precise maps for each of the five World Heritage sites in the DRC.
The production of the maps is part of an agreement between the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the Belgian Policy Centre, originally signed in 2002 and renewed in 2006. According to the agreement, BELSPO will provide scientific expertise in space technology in support of World Heritage site preservation for a period of five years. In this way it assists States Parties to the World Heritage Convention to acquire the knowledge necessary to manage World Heritage sites and use the latest technology for the conservation and restoration of cultural and natural sites.