State of Conservation
Garamba National Park
(Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
- Civil unrest
- Illegal activities
- Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Armed conflict and political instability
- Poaching by nationals and trans-border armed groups
- Unadapted management capabilities to address the poaching crisis
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
- Increased poaching
- Pressure linked to the civil war, thereby threatening the flagship species of the property
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6652
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2019
Total amount granted: USD 937,000 from the United Nations Foundation, the Governments of Italy, Belgium and Spain and the Rapid Response Facility
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 14
Total amount approved : 353,270 USD
Missions to the property until 2019**
2006, 2010 and 2016: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019
On 15 March 2019, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/136/documents/, providing the following information:
- Collaboration between the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) has been further strengthened. No cases of FARDC involvement in poaching were reported;
- 50 new guards and 12 security agents were recruited, trained and equipped, bringing the total number to 243 and 49, respectively;
- Transboundary cooperation with South Sudan continues to be a challenge due to the civil war, but efforts to establish regular radio communication with Lantoto National Park and contacts with the authorities in Juba were made;
- During 2018, 447 patrols were organized, covering 72% of the property and 29% of the adjacent Hunting Areas. The number of rapid response patrols increased from 47 in 2017 to 62 in 2018. Three bridges were built to facilitate the deployment of guards;
- The proportion of arrests leading to convictions decreased (4 in 2018), but the proportion of ivory found and seized increased (18 pieces for 42.6 kg). The number of other wildlife products and parts found decreased in 2018 compared to 2017. In particular, only 2 poached elephant carcasses were found in 2018. Collaboration with the Congolese National Police led to the seizure of some illegal wildlife products;
- Consultation workshops were held on the sustainable development and community conservation strategy for the Hunting Areas and its surrounding areas;
- Several activities to strengthen the economic development for communities around the property were carried out, including: financing the development of more efficient stoves; sensitizing communities on environmental protection; growth of mobile clinics and a park-run hospital. A strategy on the development of income-generating activities was finalized and its implementation started in September 2018;
- Operations around the property currently rely on the Business Plan, but there are plans to start the process of developing a General Management Plan (GMP) for the property;
- 43 elephants are currently radio-collared;
- 48 giraffes were recorded, including one new calf, and no cases of poaching were reported. A Strategy and Action Plan for the conservation of giraffes has been validated.
On 15 May 2019, the State Party provided updated information regarding refugee camps near the property. UNESCO and European Union’s interventions with UNHCR resulted in the interruption of the camps development. A new location at 35 kilometers away from the property was identified to accommodated refugees.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019
The State Party’s efforts to further strengthen its anti-poaching measures through collaboration between ICCN and FARDC are welcomed. The presence of over 200 guards (243) now meets the adopted corrective measure, and this achievement should be welcomed, whilst at the same time noting the importance of maintaining this level. The decline in the number of poached elephant carcasses and other seized wildlife products in 2018 provides hope that poaching has finally been brought under control, although it will be important to confirm this trend over a longer timeframe.
The ongoing unrest in South Sudan, which is preventing a collaborative transboundary management approach, is of concern but the State Party’s effort to communicate with the Lantoto National Park and the Government of South Sudan despite such challenges is appreciated. As soon as the situation in South Sudan stabilizes, it will be important to increase such cooperation to reduce the transboundary environmental criminal activities like poaching.
The radio-collaring of four additional elephants in 2018 is noted, and it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to continue its efforts to enhance the monitoring and protection of this species. While the observed decline in elephant poaching is excellent news, it will be important to monitor whether the population starts recovering from the ‘all-time low’ of less than 1,200 elephants in the 2017 survey. It needs to be recalled that the population was estimated at more than 11,000 animals before the start of the civil unrest in 1996.
Recalling that last year the State Party noted its plans to increase the Kordofan giraffe population to at least 60 by 2022, the recording of only one new calf is of concern. In addition, the currently reported figures indicate that two individuals were lost in 2018 to causes other than poaching. With a current total population estimate of less than 2,000 individuals across a limited range, the Kordofan giraffe is now considered critically endangered. With such a small population remaining in the property, it is critical to further enhance the surveillance efforts and support population recovery. While the reported completion of the Strategy and Action Plan for the conservation of giraffes is appreciated, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit a copy to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN.
The initiation of the efforts towards establishing a conservation strategy for the hunting areas is positive, but no detail of the outcomes of the workshops is provided. It will be important that this strategy establishes clear objectives for the conservation of the natural resources of these areas, which are crucial for the integrity of the property. There is also no mention of progress towards developing a recognized buffer zone for the property in order to strengthen the protection of its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) as specified in the corrective measures and Decision 41 COM 7A.7. Whilst the State Party previously reported that the GMP was being finalized, the current report appears to indicate the State Party’s intention to start the process. The State Party should therefore be requested to expedite this activity. The State Party’s report on the relocation of the refugee’s camps, outside the property, is welcome.
The continued absence of a State Party response on the finalized version of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) is of concern. With the 2016 aerial survey data and additional data available through the monitoring system, it would be important to develop clear indicators for the recovery of key wildlife populations in order to establish a realistic timeframe for a possible removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7A.7
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add,
- Recalling Decisions 41 COM 7A.7 and 42 COM 7A.47 adopted at its 41st (Krakow, 2017) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,
- Welcomes the State Party’s continued efforts to further strengthen its anti-poaching measures, leading to the deployment of more than 200 guards as defined in the Corrective Measures adopted in 2016 and encourages the State Party to maintain antipoaching surveillance at these levels;
- Also welcomes the decline in the number of poached elephant carcasses and other seized wildlife products in 2018, but notes that it will be important to confirm these positive trends over a longer timeframe;
- Notes with appreciation the State Party’s effort to engage with Lantoto National Park and the Government of South Sudan, and requests the State Party to continue strengthening this cooperation to reduce the transboundary environmental criminal activities, such as poaching and illegal trans-border trade in wildlife products;
- Also notes with appreciation the radio-collaring of four additional elephants and also requests the State Party to continue its efforts to enhance the monitoring and protection of this species;
- Expresses again its deepest concern for the 48 remaining Kordofan giraffes in the property, a subspecies considered critically endangered, and reiterates its request to the State Party to continue the efforts of ecological monitoring and protection of this species, and further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre the Strategy and Action Plan for the conservation of giraffes in the property, which has reportedly been finalized;
- Also reiterates its request to the State Party to provide an update on progress achieved towards developing a Buffer Zone for the property to strengthen the protection of its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
- Notes with concern the continued absence of a Management Plan for the property, urges the State Party to expedite the completion of the General Management Plan and submit a draft copy to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN;
- Notes the State Party’s confirmation of the relocation of the refugee camps outside the property and encourages the Park Management authority to continue its efforts to mitigate the threats in and around the property;
- Regrets once again that the State Party has still not submitted the finalized version of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and reiterates furthermore its request to the State Party to develop clear indicators for the recovery of key wildlife species populations based on the available data of the 2016 aerial survey and the monitoring system, in order to establish a realistic timeframe for a possible removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;
- Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020;
- Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism to the property;
- Also decides to retain Garamba National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
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”).