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

Corrective measures identified

See Decision30 COM 7A.7 (Vilnius, 2006), http://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/30COM/decisions/

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: Conservation Programme for the World Heritage properties of the DRC ("DRC Programme") funded by the United Nations Foundation (UNF), Italy and Belgium: approximately USD 320,000 from 2001 to 2005. UNF limited funding from 2005 to 2008.

Previous monitoring missions

2007: World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Armed conflict, lack of security and political instability;

b) Poaching by the army and armed groups;

c) Conflicts with local communities concerning Park boundaries;

d) Impact of villages located within the property. 

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 24 March 2011, the State Party submitted a concise report on the state of conservation of the property, providing limited information on progress achieved in the implementation of the corrective measures, but with little new information compared to previous reports:

a) Organization and implementation of a large-scale combined anti-poaching operation involving the management authority (ICCN) and the Congolese Army Forces (FARDC) in the most threatened areas;

The State Party recalls that a mobile intervention unit was set up by the park management authority ICCN in July 2009, composed of 25 park rangers selected on the basis of their integrity and efficiency. This unit received specialized training in 2010 and is fully operational. Surveillance activities, patrol rations and guard bonuses continue being covered through a European Union funded project. Twenty former poachers from the four local communities were also integrated into the park ranger staff.

The report further notes that at the end of 2010, a joint mission was organized to the property by the FARDC and the National Police to evaluate the security situation and investigate the problem of poaching in the property. According to the report, this will result in increased cooperation with FARDC and the police to address the poaching problem. The report further notes that 7 notorious poachers, who had been apprehended by the park authorities, were condemned and imprisoned after a court case, which also raised awareness of this issue amongst the local communities.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the report provides no information on the large-scale security operation intended to combat armed poaching, which was announced in 2009. However, the World Heritage Centre received the final report on the grant provided by the World Heritage Fund, requested at the 34th session. Non-spent funds were returned to the Fund. The report confirms that this security operation has not been undertaken yet because of lack of consultation at the site level. The funds have been used to prepare an anti-poaching strategy and road map, training of ICCN staff, purchase of equipment and organization of awareness raising campaigns. The proposed road map to combat poaching inside the property has received support from local communities and regional governors, but has not yet been implemented due to lack of funding.

b) Creation of a permanent consultation mechanism between the provincial political, administrative and military authorities of the four provinces covered by the property in order to address in a coordinated manner, the elimination of illegal activities, specifically large-scale poaching, in the Park;

The report notes that the Conference of Governors, a tripartite monitoring structure, which was established in 2008 between the four concerned provincial authorities, the army and the protected area agency ICCN to monitor and assess the anti-poaching plan, still exists but needs to be re-vitalized. A new meeting of the Conference is foreseen in the first half of 2011. The report notes that the protected area authority continues to maintain bilateral contacts which each of the Governors. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN reiterate the need to ensure close cooperation between the provincial political, administrative and military authorities of the four provinces in order to combat illegal extractions of the natural resources, in particular poaching.

 

c) Implement the recently-developed anti-poaching strategy 

The State Party report notes that the training programme for the park guards, developed in partnership with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), enabled the training of 60 guards. The training was conducted by three IFAW instructors and two instructors from the army. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the report again provides no information on the implementation of the anti-poaching strategy, which was developed in 2007. 

d) Initiate a process to resolve the conflict concerning the use of Park resources through a participatory approach

As mentioned in last years report, the State Party notes that work on the participatory delimitation and demarcation activities is continuing and that the process to establish participatory structures with local communities is underway. The report notes that discussions are underway to relocate some communities living inside the property on a voluntary basis but that funds need to be identified to cover re-installation costs.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that no information has been provided on the content of the agreements being negotiated between the park and local communities, as was requested in Decision 34 COM 7A.7.

e) Develop and implement a strategy to minimize and mitigate the impact of villages in the Park

The State Party reiterates the information included in the previous report that the strategy has been developed and integrated into the 2009-2011 triennial strategic plan for the property. While funding is lacking for its implementation, the implementation of the strategy is planned anyway through the new project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Regional Protected Area Network (RAPAC).

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the strategy has not been submitted to the World Heritage Centre, in spite of the specific request in Decision 34 COM 7A.7.

f) Link the two sectors of the property in the framework of a management plan for the property

The report notes that the preparation of the General Management Plan is well advanced and should be finalized by the end of the first semester of 2011. The General Management Plan foresees the creation of a corridor in consultation with the local communities. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that no information is provided on the results of the consultations with the local communities, the preliminary studies, or the detailed feasibility study which were mentioned in the 2009 and 2010 State Party report.

g) Establish a special fund for the rehabilitation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) World Heritage properties

Work on the development of a trust fund for the DRC protected areas is ongoing: the characteristics of the Fund have been developed by a technical group of experts and have been discussed with relevant stakeholders in January 2011 with a facilitator. The report reviews the options under DRC laws to set up a foundation but confirms that it is preferable to set up the Fund in the United Kingdom. It was further decided to focus the objective of the foundation on funding "operational protected areas that are prioritized by the national conservation strategy". The World Heritage properties correspond to these criteria. The final report will be reviewed by the Steering Committee in May 2011 to endorse the final report, as well as a work plan and budget for the next 12 months. It is planned that the Foundation will be set up by June 2012.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the World Heritage Committee regret that the State Party’s report provides little information on the progress in the implementation of the corrective measures and its impact on the state of conservation of the property, and that the different documents which were requested in Decision 34 COM 7A.7 have not yet been submitted. In light of the apparent delays in the implementation of the corrective measures, they consider that a reactive monitoring mission should be sent to the property, to assess the state of conservation of the property, in particular the current status of poaching and the efforts to address this issue. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN reiterate the need to provide the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible and before the mission, with information : on the strategy to minimize and mitigate the impact of villages located within the Park, agreements under discussion with the local communities on the use of the natural resources, preliminary studies conducted on the establishment of a corridor between the two parts of the property as well as the draft for a General Management Plan.

In view of the current situation at the property, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the World Heritage Committee maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, and continue the application of the Reinforced monitoring mechanism.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7A.35

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7A.32, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Commends the State Party for the organization of the high-level meeting on the Conservation of the World Heritage properties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007);

4. Welcomes the Kinshasa Declaration in which the Prime Minister on behalf of the State Party makes the commitment to implement all the corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee to rehabilitate the Outstanding Universal Value of the five World Heritage properties in Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to create the necessary conditions to allow for the implementation of the Strategic Action Plan proposed by the Congolese Park Authority ICCN;

5. Urges the State Party to ensure a full implementation of these commitments, in particular securing the properties, reinforcing the operational capacity of the Congolese Park Authority, reducing commercial poaching, stopping the illicit exploitation of natural resources, strengthening the efforts of peaceful evacuation of illegal occupants of protected areas as well as respecting the requirements of the World Heritage Convention, the national nature conservation law and the mining code;

6. Also urges the State Party to address a number of important threats to properties through a comprehensive approach involving the different relevant Ministries, in particular mining exploration and exploitation concessions attributed by the Ministry of Mines, the oil exploration concession granted by the Ministry for Hydrocarbons in Virunga National Park. The State Party must also address the issue of the illegal settlements in the corridor of Kahuzi-Biega, the relocation of the Nyaleke army training camp in Virunga National Park and the issue of the continued involvement of elements of the Congolese Army in illegal exploitation of the natural resources of the properties;

7. Calls upon the international community to continue its support for the efforts in securing and rehabilitating the World Heritage properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7A.7

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7A.7, adopted at its 34rd session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Reiterates its concern about the delay in the implementation of the corrective measures established by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), in particular the anti-poaching strategy and the joint operation between the park's management authority (ICCN) and the Congolese Army to remove poachers and armed groups from the property;

4. Regrets that no information was provided on the strategy to minimize and mitigate the impact of villages in the Park, the agreements under discussion with the local communities on the use of the natural resources and the preliminary studies conducted on the establishment of a corridor between the two parts of the property as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session and urges the State Party to provide this information as soon as possible and before the requested reactive monitoring mission to the property, together with a copy of the draft of a General Management Plan;

5. Reiterates its request to the State Party to reinforce its efforts to implement the corrective measures, and to report on a regular basis on its implementation as part of the Reinforced monitoring mechanism;

6. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to evaluate the state of conservation of the property and progress achieved in the implementation of the corrective measures, to develop a draft Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger in cooperation with the State Party, and to update the corrective measures and the timetable for their implementation;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1February2012, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property and progress achieved in the implementation of all the corrective measures, in particular those regarding the organization of a combined anti-poaching operation in cooperation with the Congolese Army (FARDC) to secure the property, and on the implementation of the strategy for anti-poaching, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012;

8. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced monitoring mechanism;

9. Also decides to retain Salonga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-11/35.COM/7A, WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add and WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add.Corr),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: