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 (https://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 https://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 2014

On 1 February 2014, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/documents/ (pages 13 – 28).

The report notes a general improvement of the security situation in particular in the lowland sector of the park following the defeat of the M23 rebellion. Other local armed groups have also been disarmed and integrated in the national army. This improved security situation has allowed park staff to start patrolling the lowland sector and resulted in a significant increase in patrol efforts in 2013 compared to 2012. Currently patrols cover 28,4 % of the park area.

The report also provides information concerning the implementation of corrective measures, in particular:

The report notes that the main challenge for the management of the park is currently the lack of staff and equipment, in particular arms and ammunition for surveillance activities.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The improvement in the security situation has allowed the park staff to again start patrolling the areas previously out of control.  The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that restoring the security is a pre-condition for implementing the corrective measures and restoring the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. They further note that at the moment the area covered by patrol remains limited and that the park is reportedly lacking patrol staff and equipment, in particular arms and ammunition, necessary to substantially increase patrolling efforts. They consider that it is crucial to take advantage of the current improvement in the security situation to step up surveillance efforts and to curb illegal activities, in particular poaching and mining, which increased during the period of insecurity.

While no progress was made in evacuating the ecological corridor, which is crucial to ensure ecological connectivity between the highland and lowland sectors, it is hoped that with the improvement of security, progress can be made swiftly on this important corrective measure. The report provides no information on the results of the inter-ministerial committee to deal with land use disputes, which was reported in the 2012 State Party report. The need to cancel all mining concessions encroaching on the property, in line with the Committee’s established position that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status continues to remain an outstanding issue.

Efforts are underway to undertake a comprehensive survey of fauna and flora in the park. The results of this will provide information on the current status of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and on how much time would be needed to restore it. It is recommended that a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission is invited to the property once the results of this inventory are available, in order to update the corrective measures, establish a timeframe for their implementation and finalize the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

It is also recommended that the Committee maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger and continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism.

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7A.38

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7A.5, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Welcomes the reported improvement in the security situation which has allowed the park staff to again start patrolling the areas previously out of control and notes that restoring the security is a pre-condition for implementing the corrective measures and restoring the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  4. Also welcomes the ongoing efforts of the State Party to carry out a survey of the main populations of wildlife in the lowland sectors of the property to enable an assessment of the state of its OUV, as well as the establishment of a timetable for the rehabilitation of the property;
  5. Also notes that the area of the property covered by ranger patrolling remains limited, and requests the State Party to take urgent measures to improve the efficiency and security of patrols and curb the illegal activities, in particular poaching and mining;
  6. Expresses its concern that no progress was made in evacuating the ecological corridor, which is crucial to ensure ecological connectivity between the highland and lowland sectors, nor in the cancelling of mining concessions 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, and the Committee’s established position that extractive activities are incompatible with World Heritage status;
  7. Urges the State Party to continue its efforts to implement the corrective measures to restore the OUV of the property;
  8. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property as soon as the results of the wildlife survey are available, in order to re-assess the state of conservation of the property, to update the corrective measures, to establish a new time frame for their implementation and to finalize the Desired state of conservation of the property for removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2015, a detailed report, including a 1-page executive summary, 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 39th session in 2015;
  10. Decides to continue the application of the Reinforced monitoring mechanism to the property;
  11. Also decides to retain Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7A.42

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7A.9, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013) and reaffirming the need to implement the Kinshasa Declaration adopted in 2011,
  3. Notes that the security situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has improved since the last session but that it still remains unstable and commends the courage of the staff of the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) and its efforts to protect the World Heritage properties;
  4. Urges the State Party to guarantee the implementation of the commitments undertaken in the Kinshasa Declaration and to ensure the execution of the Strategic Plan of Action and requests the State Party to approve the decree to officialise the creation of an inter-ministerial committee and allocate the necessary technical and financial means to ensure adequate monitoring in the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration;
  5. Reiterates its utmost concern as regards the Hydrocarbons Code that could make possible oil exploitation activities in protected areas and also urges the State Party to ensure that the protection status of the World Heritage properties be maintained;
  6. Also requests the State Party to review the mining and oil exploration and exploitation titles to exclude the World Heritage properties and not to grant further titles within the boundaries of the properties of the DRC and recalls its position that mining and oil exploration is incompatible with World Heritage status;
  7. Congratulates the TOTAL Company for its commitment not to carry out oil or gas exploration and exploitation activities in properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, a principle to which the Shell Company has already subscribed;
  8. Takes note of the press statement of SOCO not to undertake or commission any exploratory or other drilling within Virunga National Park unless UNESCO and the DRC Government agree that such activities are not incompatible with its World Heritage status, not to conduct any operations in any other World Heritage site and to ensure that any current or future operations in buffer zones adjacent to World Heritage sites do not jeopardize the Outstanding Universal Value for which these sites are listed;
  9. Warmly welcomes the support of donor countries in the conservation of the five DRC properties, and calls on the international community to continue to provide support in the implementation of the corrective measures and the Strategic Action Plan to create the necessary conditions for the rehabilitation of the Outstanding Universal Value of the five DRC properties;
  10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, a detailed report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration, the situation regarding mining and oil exploration and exploitation titles that encroach World Heritage properties, and the Hydrocarbons Code, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

Decision Adopted: 38 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-14/38.COM/7A and WHC-14/38.COM/7A.Add),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: