1.         Salonga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 280)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1984

Criteria  (vii)(ix)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1999-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/280/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1985-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 149,900
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/280/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: The property received substantial support through the United Nations Foundation and Belgium funded programme for the Conservation of the DRC World Heritage properties. In the first phase (2001 – 2005), approximately USD 350,000 was disbursed for staff allowances, community conservation, monitoring, training activities and equipment. 

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Armed conflict and political instability;

b) Poaching by military and armed groups;

c) Conflicts with local communities on the boundaries of the Park;

d) Impact of villages included in the Park.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/280/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

On 30 January 2006, an updated report on the state of conservation of the five DRC World Heritage properties was submitted by the State Party, including information on the Salonga National Park. The report gives some information on the major threats to the property. The most important threat is poaching by armed groups, including by military of the DRC army (FARDC). At the time of the creation of the Park, certain villages were included within its boundary, in particular the Yaelima in the north and the Kitawalist in the south. Subsistence activities in these areas, in particular poaching and slash and burn agriculture are a permanent threat to the integrity of the property. Unclear Park borders also create many tensions with local communities.

On 7 April 2006, the World Heritage Centre also received a briefing note on several cases of poaching involving FARDC military from the WWF, which is implementing a project to assist the conservation of the Park, with financial support from the European Union and the US funded CARPE programme (Central Africa Regional Programme for the Environment). The report notes that poaching by armed groups and in particular FARDC military is increasing and is particularly destructive for the Park. ICCN Park guards have great difficulties combating this form of organised poaching, as they were disarmed during the conflict and so far have not been re-armed. Several armed clashes occured between Park guards and FARDC soldiers, resulting in two guards being killed since November 2005. At least 10 elephants are reported to have been killed by soldiers of the FARDC in Mbandaka and Boende. The report also noted that the military is also supplying local poachers around the property with weapons and ammunition, creating a climate of insecurity both for the local populations and Park staff. The report provides detailed information on a number of poaching cases in which the military were involved.

It is important to note that the management of Salonga National Park, with 36,000 km2, is one of the largest protected areas in the world and presents huge logistical challenges, especially in the context of DRC, where basic road infrastructure is lacking. The Park until recently received very little outside support, apart from support to cover guard salaries through the first phase of the UNESCO programme for DRC World Heritage sites and limited support through some smaller research projects, operating in certain areas in the Park. Since 2004, WWF started a support project for the Park, with funding from the European Union and CARPE/USAID. In November 2005, the project published a detailed analysis of the management situation in the Park. The study reviewed the administration, human resources, infrastructure, and equipment in the property and reviewed the conservation strategy used and the relations with local communities. The study also notes that there is no unified management of the Park and the different sectors are managed as separate entities with only limited contact between the different conservators as a result of the logistical challenges. Two third of the Park guards have a certain age, some have no official contracts and are unpaid, resulting in problems of internal poaching. Staff are also poorly trained. Park infrastructure is in a poor condition, most buildings being constructed with inadequate material.

With the assistance of UNESCO, all stations now possess long wave radios allowing communication with Kinshasa and between the stations but there is no VHF system allowing communication with patrols in the field. The Park has no vehicles or motor bikes and only has 15 dug out canoes, 4 outboard engines and 11 bicycles. The Park only has 49 functioning arms for 172 guards patrolling 36,000 km2 and very limited field equipment. The report also shows that patrol posts organise an average of two patrols per month, each between 4 and 21 days. Patrols are often visiting the same area and certain parts of the Park are not covered at all. There is little cooperation with the army compared to other properties in DRC, where joint patrols with the army are common. Population densities inside the property are low, with the exception of the Yaelima village in the south, comprising between 3,000 and 5,000 people and the Kitawalist in the north, estimated at 3,000 people. The Park has no community conservation or environmental education programme in place. The report also proposes a detailed list of recommendations to start tackling the above mentioned management problems, along with a timetable for their implementation.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7A.5

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7A.4, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Expresses its utmost concern over the continued reports of poaching involving members of the DRC armed forces and the increased number of armed clashes between Park guards and army soldiers involved in poaching, resulting in the death of two Park guards;

4. Urges the State Party to take urgent measures to stop poaching by soldiers of the DRC armed forces in the property and to take appropriate measures to punish members from the armed forces involved in poaching and in the recent killing of two Park guards;

5. Further urges the Park management agency ICCN, in cooperation with its partner NGOs, to implement the recommendations developed in the report on the management capacity in the property, prepared in the framework of the WWF support project to the property;

6. Requests the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission, to assess the state of conservation of the property and to develop recommendations which could constitute possible benchmarks in order to safeguard the outstanding universal value and integrity of the property;

7. Further requests the State Party to establish a trust fund for the rehabilitation of the DRC World Heritage properties, to which the Government committed to contribute at the 2004 UNESCO conference on Heritage in Danger in DRC;

8. Calls on international donors to support the efforts of the State Party to rehabilitate the property;

9. Requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report by 1 February 2007 on the state of conservation of the property for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007;

10. Decides to retain Salonga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-06/30.COM/7A and WHC-06/30.COM/7A.Add.Rev),

2. Maintains the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

   • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 30 COM 7A.22)

   • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, (Decision 30 COM 7A.23)

   • Azerbaijan, Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower (Decision 30 COM 7A.29

   • Benin, Royal Palaces of Abomey (Decision 30 COM 7A.16)

   • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.1)

   • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 30 COM 7A.31)

   • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.2)

   • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.3)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.8)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.6)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Virunga National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.7)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Garamba National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.4)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Salonga National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.5)

   • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 30 COM 7A.19)

   • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.9)

   • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.15)

   • India, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (Decision 30 COM 7A.13)

   • Islamic Republic of Iran, Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Decision 30 COM 7A.25)

   • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 30 COM 7A.20)

   • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 30 COM 7A.34)

   • Nepal, Kathmandu Valley (Decision 30 COM 7A.26)

   • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 30 COM 7A.10)

   • Pakistan, Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Decision 30 COM 7A.27)

   • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 30 COM 7A.32)

   • Philippines, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Decision 30 COM 7A.28)

   • United Republic of Tanzania, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Decision 28 COM 7A.17)

   • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.14)

   • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 30 COM 7A.33)

   • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 30 COM 7A.21)