State of Conservation (SOC)
Kahuzi-Biega National Park (1997)
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Total Amount Ap proved:93,870USD
|1995||Purchase of a vehicle for Kahuzi Biega National Park||30,000 USD|
|1994||Financial contribution for the protection of Kahuzi-Biega ...||25,000 USD|
|1992||Review of the state of conservation of World Heritage sites in ...||3,750 USD|
|1988||Purchase of a 4x4 Jeep for Kahuzi Biega National Park||20,000 USD|
|1980||Equipment for Kahuzi-Biega National Park||15,120 USD|
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Proposed construction of a highway (issue resolved)
- Armed conflict
- Uncontrolled arrival of refugees causing deforestation and poaching
Current conservation issues
IUCN has provided the Centre with a 3-page report, based on a WCS reconnaissance mission to the Park, undertaken after the outbreak of the civil war in the eastern parts of the country. The Park has been damaged due to: influx of 850,000 Rwandan refugees, during 1994-96, into areas around Goma on the border of the Park; deforestation, and poaching of elephants, chimpanzee and other wildlife for commercial and subsistence purposes; habitat destruction; looting of Park equipment; and guards and officials fleeing the Park. Rehabilitation would require collaboration between the new Government, Park administration and international NGOs to augment resources available for conservation, carry out censuses of wildlife and human populations and design and implement integrated programmes linking biodiversity conservation and the needs of human populations. IUCN has recommended 15 measures for implementation in and around the Park and eight actions with regard to co-operation with international conservation organisations. However, IUCN has stressed that the sending of a high-level mission to Kinshasa, as recommended by the Bureau at its June 1997 session, to be the most urgent action needed.
The Centre has discussed with UNESCO's Deputy Director-General for Africa the feasibility for organising a high-level mission to Kinshasa, with a view to drawing the attention of the new Government to its obligations under the Convention and clarifying its legal and policy framework for the conservation of World Heritage sites. The need to field such a high-level mission has been acknowledged; however, dates for the mission are yet to be fixed.
Link to the decision
VII.33 Okapi Faunal Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
At its last session in June 1997, the Bureau, noted that equipment and facilities in this site had been looted and wildlife poached. Fortunately, the staff in this site did not suffer any harm although they had not been receiving any salaries. The Bureau was informed by IUCN that recently a US-based conservation foundation has come forward with financial assistance to pay staff salaries. There are reports of illegal gold mining in the Park occupied by the militia, and the staff have neither facilities nor resources to manage the Park.
VII.34 Kahuzi Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
The Committee recalled the fact that this site has been significantly impacted by the influx of refugees. There are reports of a large presence of militia groups and illegal settlers in the Park which has led to fires, increased poaching, illegal removal and burning of timber. IUCN informed the Bureau at its twenty-first session that it has received several pleas from the staff of the Park for international aid for rebuilding Park infrastructure and staff morale. The Bureau noted that IUCN's monitoring report on this site included fifteen measures for implementation in and around the Park and eight actions for co-operation among international conservation organisations, which together could form a basis for the future rehabilitation of the Park.
In the light of the serious threats to the integrity of these two sites of the Democratic Republic of the Congo which have arisen as a consequence of armed conflict in the eastern parts of the country, the Bureau, at its twenty-first session in June 1997, recommended that the Committee include both Okapi and Kahuzi Biega in the List of World Heritage in Danger and requested UNESCO to undertake a high-level mission to the country. The Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has invited a high-level UNESCO mission to his country. UNESCO is intending to field such a mission as soon as the security conditions permit.
Furthermore, the Minister has submitted an emergency assistance request to the consideration of the Committee for purchasing one field vehicle for each of the four endangered sites of the Democratic Republic of the Congo: i.e. the Okapi Faunal Reserve and the Kahuzi Biega National Park and the other two sites of Virunga and Garamba National Parks, already included by the Committee in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee noted that IUCN's Regional Office for Central Africa is also planning site visits in 1998.
Preoccupied by the serious threats and dangers affecting these sites and the urgent measures required, the Committee included both Okapi Faunal Reserve and the Kahuzi Biega National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger, and invited the Director-General of UNESCO to write to the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, calling for his direct intervention to enable UNESCO to undertake the proposed high-level mission and plan rehabilitation measures for all World Heritage sites in Danger. The Committee requested UNESCO to field a mission, and invited the Chairperson to lead it, to the capital city of Kinshasa for meetings with the high-level authorities, even if visits to sites are deemed impossible due to the prevailing security situation in the eastern parts of the country. The Committee took note of the emergency assistance requests by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (see Section International Assistance of this Report) and requested the Centre to cooperate with international NGOs in rehabilitating the endangered World Heritage sites of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Link to the decision
VIII.4 The Committee examined the state of conservation reports contained in Working Document WHC-97/CONF.208/8BRev and decided to include the following natural properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
- Okapi Faunal Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park (Central African Republic)
The Bureau may wish to transmit the reports on Okapi Faunal Reserve and the Kahuzi Biega National Park to the Committee for examination and recommend the following for adoption:
"The Committee decides to include both Okapi Faunal Reserve and the Kahuzi Biega National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger and urges the Director-General of UNESCO to field the high-level mission to Kinshasa as soon as possible. The Committee set aside a sum of US$ 50,000 as emergency assistance for Okapi Faunal Reserve to enable the purchase of essential equipment as soon as security conditions allow safe transfer."
Democratic Republic of the Congo
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Inscription on the Danger ListYear: 1997
Threats to the Site:
Grave concern that portions of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park had been deforested and that hunting had been reported there, as well as war and civil strife ravaging the country, led the World Heritage Committee to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The property has been much affected by the influx of refugees. Park facilities had been looted and destroyed, and most of the park staff have fled the area. The park may also be serving as a hideout for large militia groups, as well as for illegal settlers. This has led to fires, increased poaching and the illegal removal and burning of timber.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).