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 2017 Reactive Monitoring mission (https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/documents), but the biological indicators still need to be quantified based on the results of a census of large mammals available at late 2018

Corrective measures identified

Adopted in 2017, see page http://whc.unesco.org/fr/decisions/6954 

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page http://whc.unesco.org/fr/decisions/6954

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1980-2018)
Total amount approved: USD 140,970
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 1,003,900 from the United Nations Foundation (UNF), and the Governments of Italy and Belgium and by the Rapid Response Facility (RRF)  

Previous monitoring missions

1996-2006: several World Heritage Centre missions in the framework of the DRC Programme; December 2009 and April/May 2017: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions

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 2019

On 15 March 2019, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/documents/, containing the following information:

In February 2018, UNESCO addressed a letter to the State Party, concerning tension between the Park and the local communities. ICCN informed UNESCO that a reconciliatory meeting, held last August, between the different stakeholders and itself, resulted in the signature of a protocol for a resumption of collaboration between the management team and the local populations.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

Very important progress has been achieved with the total evacuation of the ecological corridor between the highland and the lowland sectors of the property. The sustainability of this achievement is crucial to facilitate, on the one hand, the reestablishment of ecological connectivity between the highlands and lowlands, and on the other, the restoration of the integrity of the property. Furthermore, the deployment of patrols in this sector, uncontrolled since 2016, and the cancellation of land titles are significant accomplishments. The State Party may be commended for this important progress and it is recommended that the Committee again request the State Party to provide additional information, including maps, to precisely assess the state of conservation of this sector. This data will enable the evaluation of the impacts of these human activities on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. It is also recommended that a rehabilitation plan of this zone be developed to facilitate the regeneration of natural vegetation.

The strengthening of collaboration between ICCN and the different national and provincial authorities are positive signs of progress resulting in the partial recovery of some sectors of the lowlands.  These zones remain infiltrated by armed rebel groups who carry out illegal mining activities and continue to hamper the surveillance work of the property, despite the relative improvement in security reported in 2018.

The closure of the illegal mining camp sites inside the property is appreciable, as is the establishment of an awareness-raising procedure for the peaceful evacuation of the illegal miners. However, it is worrying to note that other artisanal mines could still exist since the patrols are unable to cover the entire surface of the property.

Progress is also noted concerning the management of the property, notably the training of guards and the improvement in their work conditions. However, the lack of financial means remains a major preoccupation, especially as it is crucial for the consolidation of the current achievements.

It is also noted with regret that the report does not provide any numerical data concerning wildlife, in particular as regards the gorillas, following the inventory of the property which was begun in 2014. As requested in Decision 42 COM 7A.48, these results are crucial for the evaluation of the OUV of the property. The Committee should remind the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre the results of the inventories for analysis by IUCN.  The State Party is also encouraged, based on this data, to prepare indicators for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) project.

The signature of the agreement protocol in August 2018, between the management authority of the property and the local populations, notably the Batwas, is warmly welcomed. ICCN is encouraged to continue these initiatives, as well as the community conservation activities for the benefit of the local communities.

Taking note of the lack of action for the sustainable funding of the property, it is recommended that the Committee launch an appeal to donors to support conservation efforts undertaken by the State Party for the integrality of the property.

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

Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7A.8

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7A.48, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Congratulates the State Party for the evacuation of the illegal occupants of the ecological corridor between the highlands and lowlands which answers a major concern of the World Heritage Committee and notes that it is crucial to guarantee the ecological connectivity between the highland and lowland sectors for the restoration of the integrity of the property;
  4. Requests the State Party to develop a rehabilitation plan for this zone to facilitate the regeneration of natural vegetation and to submit to the World Heritage Centre all information, including maps, to assess the impact of encroachment on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  5. Expresses its concern as regards the continued reduction in the surveillance coverage of the property and encourages the donors to continue their financial and technical support to consolidate the important conservation efforts undertaken by the State Party for the entirety of the property;
  6. Notes with satisfaction the capacity-building activities for new guards, the increase in bonuses and salaries as well as the development of infrastructures to strengthen surveillance and improve the difficult work conditions of the ICCN guards and also requests the State Party to continue these efforts;
  7. Commends the State Party for the implementation of community conservation projects encouraging the autonomy of the local communities and the recognition of the rights and traditional means of subsistence of the local communities, and particularly those of the indigenous Batwa, and also encourages it to continue these actions in this direction;
  8. Further requests the State Party to submit the results of the wildlife inventory to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN;
  9. Reiterates its request to the State Party to prepare, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, indicators for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) project, once the results of the wildlife inventory are available;
  10. Urges the State Party to continue the implementation of the corrective measures, as updated by the 2017 mission;
  11. Requests furthermore 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;
  12. Decides to continue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism;
  13. Also decides to retain Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 43 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/19/43.COM/7A, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3 and WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3.Corr),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: