1.         Garamba National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 136)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1980

Criteria  (vii)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1984-1992, 1996-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 was prepared during the 2010 reactive monitoring mission (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/136/documents/) but indicators need to be quantified on this basis of the results of the main mammals censes.

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4082

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet established

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/136/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1980-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 248,270
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/136/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 910,000 from the United Nations Foundation, the Governments of Italy, Belgium and Spain and the Rapid Response Facility.

Previous monitoring missions

2006 and 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring missions 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a)  Armed conflict and political instability;

b)  Poaching by nationals and transborder armed groups;

c)  Unadapted management capabilities.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/136/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

On 25 February 2013, the State party submitted a summary report on the state of conservation of the property with brief information on the implementation of the corrective measures.

The report indicates that the presence of rebels of the “Lord’s Resistance Army”  (LRA) continue to disturb the security of the site and the populations, complicate management of the property and lead to an important increase in poaching.  On 5 June 2012, an important skirmish occurred at 12 km from Nagero, the Park station, between the Park guards and a group of about 50 armed men of the LRA. This attack has obliged the NGO African Parks Network (APN) mandated by the Congolese Nature Conservation Institute (ICCN) for the management of the Park, to evacuate a large number of its staff for fear of a new assault on the station, similar to the one in 2009, where 15 employees of the Park were killed and the station ransacked.  Several fire arms as well as elephant meat was found at the place of the skirmish.  With support from the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the Congolese Army (FARDC), an aerial reconnaissance of the Park was organized resulting in the discovery of a camp abandoned by the rebels, located at 20 km from where the skirmish took place. Although the staff have now returned to the site, the security situation remains a concern.

The following information is provided concerning the implementation of corrective measures:

a)  Take urgent measures at the highest level to halt the involvement of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in poaching activities

The report indicates that several meetings were held throughout 2012, with the FARDC, notably to raise awareness regarding the anti-poaching combat and to restrain the undisciplined soldiers involved in poaching.  The management authority has established an agreement with the FARDC stipulating that the soldiers present in the Park be accompanied by an ICCN agent. In exchange, the Park undertakes to provide rations to the military contingents.  ICCN reports a decrease in the involvement of the FARDC in poaching.

b)  Ensure that the ICCN guard force is correctly equipped, in particular with adequate arms and ammunition

The State Party informs that the guards at site are equipped with material but indicated that the lack of arms and ammunitions remains one of the biggest challenges to ensure the surveillance of the Park.

c)  Strengthen disarmament efforts within the communities living around the property

The State Party informs that the Park is not mandated to conduct disarmament operations within the local communities living around the property. It also informs that during the attack on 5 June 2012, ICCN was unable to respond to the assault by the LRA and that MONUSCO’s mandate ensures the security of the populations. The State Party also deplores the lack of collaboration on the part of MONUSCO.

d)  Renew contacts with South Sudan to strengthen transboundary cooperation with Lantoto National Park

The State Party informs that contacts with the South Sudan authorities and the National Park of Lantoto have been renewed.  Several meetings were held in 2012 that facilitate information exchange and contacts between the parks. Thanks to this collaboration, poachers identified in Garamba were arrested upon their return to South Sudan. Finally, the State Party indicates that an evaluation of the cooperation mechanism will be held during 2013.

e)  Ensure that a team of at least 200 operational guards are available

The State Party informs that 134 guards are operational, and that 80 agents have been “recycled” by a team of consultants specialized in security and conservation. In this group, 35 agents have received more specialized training in security to make up a rapid intervention team to respond to increasing pressure from poaching.  In addition, 32 agents are on the point of retirement. The State Party indicates that the park is going to recruit 80 guards in 2013 that will increase its staff to 182 agents.

f)  Gradually extend the surveillance area to include the total area of the Park and at least 20% of the hunting grounds, by 2015

The State Party informs that the surveillance area of Garamba National Park extends towards the northern part of the Park. Surveillance is now in operation in the north: from the Garamba River to Mont Magunda Molovia and Mont Bawesi, a sector that was abandoned for a long time, and regular aerial surveillance covers the totality of the area of movement of the elephants. According to APN, the surveillance area now covers 50% of the property.

g)   Establish a conservation strategy for the hunting grounds (DC) so they may fully play their role of buffer zone

The State Party indicates that the security problems in the hunting grounds prevent the global control of the property and note that currently it is impossible to oversee the 12,500 km2 of the property and its buffer zone. A survey on elephant movement equipped with a GPS (global positioning system) collar shows that the elephant population is concentrated in the property and also in the Gangala na Bodio hunting grounds in the south of the property. This work enables the targeting of surveillance in the zones of interest for elephants, thus all these zones are controlled by regular aerial patrols. In 2012, APN also equipped five giraffe to study their movements and envisage extending this procedure to lions in 2013. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN hope that the bio-monitoring data will be transmitted to them during 2013.

h)  Strengthen community conservation activities to improve relations with the local communities

As mentioned in the 2012 report, numerous activities targeting the local communities have been implemented, with support from the Spanish Government and the European Union. Environmental education activities continue with schoolchildren and in the future will be extended to adults and women’s associations that appreciate visits to the Park. Furthermore, the Community Conservation Committees (CCC) shows an increasing interest in the Park and the three districts wish to be associated with its conservation. Moreover, the Park supports many social activities, including the school at Nagero, the medical dispensary that will be officially inaugurated in April 2013, and the construction of a water pump.

i)  Finalize and approve the Management Plan for the property and ensure the means for its implementation

The State Party mentions that the General Management Plan (GMP) (2011-2015) has been completed and approved at the end of 2012, by the ICCN Directorate General.  The World Heritage Centre and IUCN have not yet officially received it.

j)  Wildlife status

The report notes that the last survey in 2012 indicated a decrease in the number of elephants and a slight increase in certain species, concentrated in particular zones without providing precise details. Although it was not transmitted by the State Party, the report of the 2012 survey is available in the data bank of the Specialist Group for African Elephants of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. The survey considers the elephant population to be around 1,600 individuals, a reduction of more than 50% compared to the last survey in 2007 (the population was calculated to be 3,600 individuals) and 85% in comparison to the survey in 1995 prior to inscription of the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger (the population was calculated at 11,000 individuals). It is evident that the property once again is facing a major increase in poaching of elephants, encouraged by the rise in the price of ivory. In April 2012, 22 elephants were killed in one day from an unidentified helicopter, demonstrating the presence of a network of organized and heavily armed professional poachers. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that an increase in elephant poaching is prevalent throughout Africa, including in several other World Heritage properties. Finally, it is noted that during the survey, no Northern White Rhinoceros were recorded.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the World Heritage Committee express its grave concern with regard to the results of the 2012 survey that shows on the one hand, an alarming reduction of 85% in the elephant population compared to the number indicated at the time of inscription of the site on the World Heritage List and on the other hand, this survey has not been able to confirm the presence of the White Rhinosceros in the northern part of the property, which reinforces the opinion of the IUCN Species Survival Commission that the sub-species is extinct in the DRC.

They consider that this increase in poaching is linked to the persistent pockets of armed groups, notably the LRA rebels as well as a network of well equipped and heavily armed professional poachers.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note the important efforts of the management authority to extend the surveillance area of the site as well as the efforts to increase the number of guards for the property, provide them with equipment, train them and establish a rapid intervention team to respond to the poaching crisis. However, they consider that the lack of arms and ammunitions endangers the life of the guards and that it is difficult for the guards to respond to armed groups like the LRA. They recall the commitments undertaken by the Congolese Government in the Kinshasa Declaration of January 2011, with regard to security at the sites and strengthening of the operational capacities of the ICCN, in particular to ensure the availability of mapping equipment for surveillance activities.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that asthe data of a new survey is available, the indicators for the Desired State of Conservation of the property for removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger should be completed.

For the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, the results of the survey clearly show that the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is extremely threatened despite the important efforts of the management authority and its partners to reverse the tendences of degradation.  They therefore recommend that the Committee maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger and the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7A.6

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7A.6 adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Expresses its utmost concern regarding the alarming reduction of the elephant population by 85% compared to the number present at the time of inscription of the site on the World Heritage List, and the fact that the presence of the Northern White Rhinoceros in the property remains unconfirmed;
  4. Regrets the increase in poaching due to persistent pockets of armed groups, notably the ”Lord’s Resistance Army” (LRA) as well as the network of well equipped and heavily armed professional poachers and notes that the lack of arms and amunition continues to pose important risks for the guards during patrols;
  5. Commends the efforts of the management authority and its partners to extend the surveillance area  well as efforts to strengthen the guard numbers, provide equipment, train and establish a rapid intervention team to respond to the poaching crisis;
  6. Recalls the commitments taken by the Congolese Government in the Kinshasa Declaration of January 2011, specifically regarding security of the World Heritage properties and strengthening of the operational capacities of the Congolese Nature Conservation Institute (ICCN), and the availability of arms and ammunitions for surveillance activities;
  7. Requests the State Party to continue its efforts to implement the corrective measures to rehabilitate the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;
  8. Also requests the State Party, based on the results of the survey of large mammal populations and in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to finalize the Desired State of Conservation of the property for removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger and update the required timetable, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2014 , a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property, including an update of progress achieved in the implementation of the corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;
  10. Decides to continue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
  11. Also decides to retain Garamba 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: