1.         Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 137)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1980

Criteria  (x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1997-present

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

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

A draft has been developed during the 2009 reactive monitoring mission (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/documents), but the indicators still need to be quantified based on the results of a census of large mammals.

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4081

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet established

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1980-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 119,270
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 980,000 from the United Nations Foundation (UNF), and the Governments of Italy and Belgium and by the Rapid Response Facility (RRF) 

Previous monitoring missions

1996 and 2006: several World Heritage Centre missions in the framework of the DRC Programme; December 2009: joint IUCN/World Heritage Centre reactive monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

The State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property on 25 February 2013. The report provides some information concerning the implementation of the corrective measures:

a)         Evacuate the armed groups from the property and extend the area of surveillance to the whole property

The State Party notes that after encouraging results achieved in 2011 in terms of securing the park, the security situation in the area has unfortunately degraded again as a result of the emergence of a new armed militia in the region “Raia Mutomboki” and following the M23 (March 23 Movement) rebellion in the East which started end of 2012. As a result, large parts of the lowland sector are again off limits to park staff and surveillance had to be suspended in the Lulingo, Itebero and Nzovu sectors.

b)         Close down all the illegal mining extraction operations within the property and officially cancel all the mining concessions encroaching on the property

The report does not provide any data on the situation of illegal artisanal mining in the property but press reports note that the Raia Mutomboki militia has occupied artisanal mining sites in the region. The report also provides no update on the situation with regard to the mining concessions which are encroaching on the property. However, the recommendations adopted at  the Conference organized by the Congolese Government on "Governance and transparency in the mining sector", held in Lubumbashi on 30 January 2013, should be underlined. (See General report on the World Heritage properties of the Republic Democratic of the Congo in document WHC-13/37COM/7A.XX).

c)         Evacuate the ecological corridor and initiate measures to restore plant species and connectivity

The State Party notes the dialogue at provincial level to address this issue is continuing with the objective of establishing a single and clear land register which takes into account the limits of the property in order to avoid future illegal land attributions. In December 2012, the protected area management authority also initiated a procedure to request the Governor of the South Kivu province to cancel all farming concessions illegally granted by the services of land rights and the cadaster. No information is provided on the results. The report also mentions that an inter-ministerial committee has been set up at national level to deal with land use disputes concerning protected areas, but that this has not yet produced tangible results.

d)         Develop, in a participatory manner, and implement a zoning plan to resolve the issue of the villages in the lowland sector, while maintaining the values and integrity of the property

The State Party notes that most villages inside the park alongside the Mumbili and Nkolo trail have been deserted as a result of the renewed insecurity. The populations of these villages have been displaced to the towns outside the property but community conservation park staff continues a dialogue with them to identify a solution for the land disputes in the park. The State Party further notes that discussions are underway with the communities adjacent to the lowland sector in order to establish a buffer zone for the park.

e)         Continue the efforts to reactivate surveillance mechanisms, while ensuring control of the whole Park

As mentioned above and as a result of renewed insecurity, a large part of the lowland sector of the park is again out of the control of park staff, reversing the positive trend reported last year. The State Party notes that a new configuration of the surveillance sectors was decided to facilitate surveillance activities.

f)          Complete and approve the Management Plan for the property and ensure the means for its implementation

The implementation of the first phase (2009-2011) of the Management Plan was evaluated using the “Enhancing our Heritage” methodology. The evaluation concluded that while there had been some encouraging results, the global implementation of the work plan of the first three years had been poor, partly because of security problems but also because of insufficient staff numbers and capacity. A three-years operational plan 2012–2014 has been developed.

g)         Species inventory

The State Party notes that in November 2012, work had started on the inventory of the sectors located in the lowland but that the activity had to be suspended following the increased insecurity. The State Party stresses that conducting the inventories remains a priority and work will be continued as soon as the security situation allows. Monitoring of the gorilla population and the small residual population of elephants in the high altitude sector is continuing.

h)         Limit local traffic to the part of Road RN3 crossing the property, ensure the means for control, and envisage a ring road around the property should the route towards Kisangani re-open

The State Party provides no new information on this issue. It mentions that plans for the construction of the Tshivanga park headquarters and the park stations and patrol posts have been approved by the park authorities but that building has not yet started. The headquarters will be constructed on the boundary of the park but the location of the other infrastructure has not yet been determined.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the World Heritage Committee express its utmost concern about the renewed insecurity which is again affecting the lowland sector, covering 90% of the park. They recall that this area had been inaccessible for park staff for many years and only recently park surveillance activities had re-started. The renewed infiltration of armed groups and the suspension of surveillance activities are therefore a significant setback for restoring the integrity of the property. They note that there is a significant risk that the progress which had been achieved in implementing the corrective measures will again be lost.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are of the view that restoring the security is the pre-condition for implementing the corrective measures and restoring the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. They recall the commitment of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the January 2011 Kinshasa Declaration to create the conditions for the implementation of the corrective measures by securing the properties.  

They recommend that the Committee maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger and the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism be applied.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7A.5

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7A.5 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Expresses its utmost concern about the renewed insecurity as a result of the infiltration of armed groups which has led to the suspension of surveillance in the lowland sector, covering 90% of the property;
  4. Considers that there is a significant risk that the achievements made in implementing the corrective measures will again be lost and notes that restoring security is the pre-condition for implementing the corrective measures and restoring the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;
  5. Strongly urges the State Party to take all necessary measures to restore security in the area and evacuate armed groups from the property in line with the commitments made in the Kinshasa Declaration and in order to create the conditions to allow the protected area management authority “Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature” (ICCN) to restore the surveillance in the entire property and continue the implementation of the corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010);
  6. Takes note of the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to deal with land use disputes and reiterates its request to the State Party to cancel land rights illegally granted in the property as well as mining concessions encroaching on the property, in conformity with the commitments made in the Kinshasa Declaration;
  7. Reiterates its position that mining and oil exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status;
  8. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to carry out as soon as possible a survey of the main populations of wildlife in the lowland sectors of the property to enable an assessment of the state of the Outstanding Universal Value and the establishment of a timetable for the rehabilitation of the property;
  9. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2014 , a report on the state of conservation of the property, including an update on the security situation in the property, mining concessions and land rights granted on the territory of the property, progress accomplished in the resolution of the problem of illegal occupation of the ecological corridor and in the implementation of the corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;
  10. Decides to maintain the Reinforced monitoring mechanism for the property;
  11. Also decides to retain the Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7A.9

 The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7A.36 adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Welcomes the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee, a framework agreement with the Mining Cadaster and the progress made in the establishment of the Trust Fund, also known as "Okapi Fund";
  4. Notes with concern the worsening of insecurity in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage properties in this region;
  5. Reiterates its request to ensure the full implementation of the commitments made in the Declaration of Kinshasa, and the implementation of the Strategic Action Plan, and requests the State Party to allocate to the inter-ministerial committee, the necessary technical and financial means to ensure adequate monitoring;
  6. Expresses its deep concern about the Hydrocarbons Code project that could make possible oil exploration activities in the protected areas and the World Heritage properties, contrary to the commitments made by the State Party in the Kinshasa Declaration and urges the State Party to ensure that the status of protection of World Heritage properties is maintained;
  7. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to review its mining and oil exploration and exploitation permits to exclude World Heritage properties, and not to grant them within the boundaries of the DRC properties, and recalls the incompatibility of mining and oil exploration and exploitation with World Heritage status;
  8. Also warmly welcomes the support of donor countries to the conservation of the five DRC properties, and calls on the international community to continue its support in the implementation of the corrective measures and the Strategic Action Plan to create the conditions necessary for the rehabilitation of the Outstanding Universal Value of the five properties of the DRC;
  9. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , a detailed report on the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration, the status of mining and oil exploration and exploitation permits which affect the World Heritage properties, as well as on the Hydrocarbons Code, for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.

Decision Adopted: 37 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-13/37.COM/7A, WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add and WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add.
  2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: