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

The following corrective measures have been identified by the World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission in 2007 and adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007):

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;

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;

c) Implement the recently-developed anti-poaching strategy and an operation system of Law Enforcement Monitoring (LEM);

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

e) Urgently discuss the issue of the status of the villages in the Park;

f) Link the two sectors of the property in the framework of a development plan for Salonga National Park by a buffer zone;

g) Establish a special fund for the rehabilitation of the DRC World Heritage properties to which the Government would contribute. 

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: (2001-2005): approximately USD 320,000. (2005-2008): UNF limited funding. 

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 2010

On 8 February 2010, the State Party submitted a concise report on the state of conservation of the property. This report contained limited information on progress achieved in the implementation of the corrective measures:

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 reports 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 is now operational in the region and is currently being trained in paramilitary techniques in order to be able to participate in mixed patrols with the Congolese army. The report also mentions the deployment of a special anti-poaching unit of the National Police since September 2009, which will work in synergy with the mobile intervention unit. The report also notes that surveillance activities, patrol rations and guard bonuses continue being covered through the European Union funded ECOFAC IV project. Currently efforts are also underway to integrate 20 former poachers from the four local communities into the park ranger staff.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the report provides no information on the large-scale security operation to combat armed poaching, which according to last years report had been planned for the second half of 2009 and which received support from the World Heritage Fund. The World Heritage Centre is still awaiting the final report from WWF on the grant which was provided from the Fund. The State Party report also does not provide any information on the impacts of these operations on the poaching pressure in the property.

At the yearly meeting of the DRC protected Area Agency ICCN with its conservation partners, the Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism announced that a large scale military operation could be implemented soon to evacuate the armed groups from the property. The World Heritage Centre on 24 April 2010 received additional information from the State Party, that the President had recently discussed the problems of poaching in the property with the Provincial Authorities, and that a decision was taken to conduct a large scale operation in May by the Congolese army to chase poachers out of the park.

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 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, is still in existence but failed to meet in 2009. The State Party report mentions that ICCN is undertaking efforts to revive this structure. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN regret that the consultation mechanism has not been operational in 2009 and call upon the State Party to revive the anti-poaching plan and ensure cooperation between the provincial political, administrative and military authorities of the four provinces in order to address, in a coordinated manner, the elimination of illegal activities.

c) Implement the recently-developed anti-poaching strategy 

The State Party report notes that a partnership was developed with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to train ICCN park guards. This training, which will be conducted by three instructors recruited by IFAW and two instructors from the army, was planned for December 2009 but had to be postponed till February 2010 as a result of the security issues in the east of the country. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the report 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

The State Party reports that participatory delimitation and demarcation activities are continuing. Participatory structures were established and the negotiation of “convergence contracts” with local communities is underway. The report notes that an awareness raising programme to incite poachers and illegal occupants in the Park to leave the park is being implemented. Three awareness raising sessions have also been conducted with local leaders.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that no information has been provided on the content of the agreements being negotiated, nor on progress achieved in addressing the resource use conflicts with the local communities.

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

The State Party notes that this strategy has been developed and integrated into the 2009-2011 triennial strategic plan for the property, but that unfortunately funding is lacking for its implementation. With the signature of a new project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Regional Protected Area Network (RAPAC), implementation of the strategy is scheduled for this year.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the strategy mentioned in the report has not been submitted to the World Heritage Centre. Apart from the threats of poaching, the impact of the villages inside the property is one of the major threats to its Outstanding Universal Value and, in particular, its integrity. It is therefore important submit this strategy for review and input as quickly as possible.

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

The procedure continues, but will require intensive consultations with the different parties concerned. A detailed feasibility study is said to be underway. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that no information is provided on the results of the consultations with the local communities or the preliminary studies, which were mentioned in the 2009 State Party report.

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

See the report on Kahuzi-BiegaNational Park (Document WHC-10/34.COM/7A).

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN regret that the report provides little factual information on the progress in the implementation of the corrective measures and its impact on the state of conservation of the property. In particular, they express concern with regard to the accumulated delays in the implementation of the corrective measures, in particular the anti-poaching strategy and the joint operation between ICCN and the Congolese Army to clear poachers and armed groups from the property, which has been planned since 2008, and the lack of reporting on the assistance provided by the World Heritage Fund. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also request the State Party to provide as soon as possible information on the strategy to minimize and mitigate the impact of villages in the Park, which is reported to have been developed, on the agreements under discussion with the local communities on the use of the natural resources, and on the results of the consultations with the local communities and the preliminary studies conducted on the establishment of a corridor between the two parts of the property.

In view of the current situation at the property, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that it be maintained on the List of World Heritage in Danger, and to continue application of the reinforced monitoring mechanism.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 34 COM 7A.32

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7A.31, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Expresses its utmost concern about the consistent reports from all the properties concerning involvement of elements of the Congolese Army in illegal exploitation of their natural resources and the lack of progress on a number of significant threats to the different sites, including the attribution of mining exploration and exploitation concessions and oil exploration concessions in the properties, the relocation of the Nyaleke army camp, and the measures required to address illegal occupation of the Kahuzi-Biega corridor;

4. Considers that these issues should be addressed through a comprehensive approach involving the different relevant Ministries and should be discussed at the high level meeting requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007); 

5. Notes the proposal made by the Minister of the Environment to organize the high level meeting before the Conference commemorating the Yaoundé Declaration planned towards the end of the year and urges the State Party to set a definite date for this meeting as soon as possible, in consultation with the Office of the Director General of UNESCO, the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee and the President of IUCN;

6. Welcomes the continued commitment of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) in the and the financial support provided by numerous donors to the conservation of the properties and in particular the new contributions by Belgium and Spain to the third phase of the World Heritage Biodiversity Programme in Democratic Republic of Congo;

7. Also recalls its request to all States Parties to the World Heritage Convention to raise international awareness and promote the implementation of the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee.

Decision Adopted: 34 COM 7A.7

The World Heritage Centre,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7A.7, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

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 Management Authority and the Congolese Army to clear poachers and armed groups from the property; 

4. Also expresses concern about lack of reporting on the assistance provided by the World Heritage Fund for the implementation of the anti-poaching operation;

5. Urges the State Party to intensify 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 submit as soon as possible, but not later that 1 December 2010, information on the strategy to minimize and mitigate the impact of villages in the Park which is reported to have been developed, and on the agreements under discussion with the local communities on the use of the natural resources, as well as on the results of the consultations with the local communities and the preliminary studies conducted on the establishment of a corridor between the two parts of the property;

7. Reiterates its request to the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including conditions for integrity, as well as a proposal for the Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011;

8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, 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 to secure the property, and on the implementation of the anti-poaching strategy, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011;

9. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism to the property;

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

Decision Adopted: 34 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-10/34.COM/7A, WHC-10/34.COM/7A.Add and WHC-10/34.COM/7A.Add.2),

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