1.         Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 63)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (vii)(viii)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1994-present

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/63/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1980-1993)
Total amount approved: USD 152,160
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/63/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/63/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1993

The Bureau was deeply concerned to learn that due to recent political uncertainties in the country all donors, except WWF, have withdrawn their support to this Park. This has resulted in destruction of vegetation, poaching, agricultural encroachment and over-exploitation of fish populations in Lake Idi Amin. Since November 1992, the Park staff has not received salaries, and funds for operations and maintenance are not available. Several new settlements have appeared in the Park, particularly around Lake Idi Amin, and some gold mining and livestock grazing have also been reported. IUCN will report on an October 1993 field visit to this World Heritage site to assess current damage and suggest long-term options for conservation of the site.

 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The Bureau recommended that the Committee include the Virunga National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger, unless this IUCN/WWF site visit in October 1993 provides sufficient evidence to the contrary. A formal and acceptable request for emergency assistance from the competent national authorities responsible for the management of this property has been received and the project has been executed.

Decision Adopted: 17 BUR VIII.2

The Bureau was deeply concerned to learn that due to recent political uncertainties in the country all donors, except WWF, have withdrawn their support to this Park. This has resulted in destruction of vegetation, poaching, agricultural encroachment and over-exploitation of fish populations in Lake Idi Amin. Since November 1992, the Park staff has not received salaries, and funds for operations and maintenance are not available. Several new settlements have appeared in the Park, particularly around Lake Idi Amin, and some gold mining and livestock grazing have also been reported.

The Bureau was informed that an IUCN/WWF field visit to this World Heritage site is being considered for October 1993 to assess current damage and suggest long-term options for the conservation of the site. The Bureau recommended that the Committee include the Virunga National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger, unless the proposed IUCN/WWF site visit to in October 1993 provides sufficient evidence to the contrary. The Bureau agreed, in principle, to provide emergency assistance of US$ 20,000 for Virunga National Park which does not constitute a precedent, and subject to the receipt of a formal and acceptable request from the competent national authorities responsible for the management of this property.

Decision Adopted: 17 COM X

Virunga National Park (Zaire)

IUCN reported on the difficult social and economic situation which is creating serious negative impacts on Virunga National Park. However, the emergency assistance project funded by the World Heritage Fund and carried out by WWF since its approval by the Bureau in June 1993, had positive effects for the protection of the site. The Committee discussed in detail the impact of listing the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger and IUCN confirmed that Virunga National Park would definitely be a candidate for this procedure. After considerable discussion and a vote, the Committee agreed to address a letter to the Zairois authorities underlining serious concern for the protection and management of the site, particularly the serious recurring encroachments, and suggesting to the Government of Zaire to consider preparing a technical assistance request.