1.         Garamba National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 136)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1980

Criteria  (vii)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1984-1992, 1996-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Corrective measures identified

The following corrective measures were recommended by the 2006 World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission and approved by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006):

a) Ensure the protection of the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sudan within and adjacent to the property ;

b) Improve the efficacy of the military brigade posted around the property to secure the Park and adjacent hunting areas by replacing the current brigade by a brigade that went through the reunification and retraining programme and by ensuring they are adequately equipped;

c) Ensure that the ICCN guard force is properly equipped and, in particular, has adequate arms and ammunition;

d) Undertake, in cooperation with the United Nations Organization Mission to the DRC (MONUC), a disarmament campaign within the communities living around the property, whilst at the same time improving the security situation in the region;

e) Reinforce cooperation with the Government of Sudan to better control incursions of armed groups into the DRC and the property;

f) Maintain and strengthen anti-poaching efforts, in particular in the southern sector of the Park where the presence of Northern white rhino was confirmed by the 2006 survey;

g) Strengthen efforts to improve relations with local communities surrounding the Park, particularly through developing and implementing a community conservation progamme;

h) Take urgent measures to reinforce and reinvigorate the Garamba Park guard force;

i) Reinstate detailed monitoring of the rhino population in the property through a specialized monitoring team, building on the know-how available in ICCN and the African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG);

j) Establish a trust fund for the rehabilitation of the DRC World Heritage properties. 

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/136/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1980-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 248,270
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/136/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property : Conservation Programme for the RDC World Heritage properties ("RDC Programme") financed by the UNF, Belgium and Italy: (2001-2005) approximately USD 400,000; (2005-2008): USD 600,000. Two additional amounts from the Rapid Response Facility (totalling USD 60,000) training of guards and more recently replacement of communication equipment. 

Previous monitoring missions

2006: World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission. Several UNESCO missions in the framework of the « DRC Programme ». 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Armed conflict and political instability;

b) Poaching by nationals and Sudanese;

c) Ill-adapted management capabilities.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/136/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

In 1996, the consequences of the outbreak of the Great Lakes conflict that raged through the region for more than ten years, the retreat into the property of the armed bands and rebel groups, with the accompanying poaching and over-exploitation of the natural resources, led to the inscription of Garamba National Park (GNP) on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1997. The unsatisfactory state of conservation of the property and the continuing lack of security despite the official decree concerning the end of the conflict, and in spite of strong support to the property have led the World Heritage Committee to consider a more global approach to the issue of the deterioration of the situation in all the DRC World Heritage properties. In 2007, the reinforced monitoring mechanism, recently adopted by the World Heritage Committee (31 COM 7A.32), was applied to the property.

The World Heritage Centre received the state of conservation of the property on 2 February 2009. It is evident that most of the property’s conservation problems are connected to the presence of Ugandan rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) who have installed their base of operations in the GNP and in the surrounding hunting domains. Lack of security is particularly critical in the frontier region with Sudan.

Since the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee, the security situation has greatly deteriorated, particularly following the joint operation carried out by MONUC, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (AFRDC) and the Ugandan army against the LRA rebels installed in and around the property. This operation began in December 2008. Lack of security in the region has a negative impact on the Park.

Following this military operation, the LRA rebels resorted to guerrilla warfare directed against the local population and also targeting the road networks around the Park. These clashes with the LRA are the origin of a serious human crisis. Numerous civilians have been killed or taken hostage, women have been raped, houses ransacked and burnt and numerous people displaced. The Park has not been spared by the actions of the LRA who, on 2 January 2009, attacked the headquarters of the Park, resulting in several killed and seriously wounded. To this human toll, major material damage at the Nagero Station, the biggest in the Park, was sustained. Several buildings have been destroyed as well as extensive damage caused to transportation and communication equipment. Fuel stocks and rations for the patrols were also looted. Through the Rapid Response Facility (RRF), the World Heritage Centre was able to provide USD 30,000 for the replacement of essential communication equipment and the resumption of surveillance operations. On 10 February 2009, a Park vehicule was attacked and the three occupants were killed. On 23 March 2009, a new attack was reported at 5 km from the Nagero Station where a guard was killed.

At the request of the Park management authorities, the World Heritage Centre has undertaken to contact MONUC to request its support to the Park staff and to ensure a minimum of security around the Nagero Station.

The breakdown of security has had important repercussions on the implementation of corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006). As has been mentioned in earlier reports, an emergency plan which was being implemented at the property was beginning to produce positive results in the Park. Control of large-scale ivory poaching and bush meat had greatly improved. Furthermore, community conservation activities supported by the World Heritage Centre and aimed at improving relations with the local communities was pursued despite the conditions.

Another concern is the presence of the remaining Northern white rhino. In fact there is serious alarm that this sub-species has currently disappeared. Intensive searches have been unsuccessful. In view of the above-mentioned situation, discussion regarding translocation is no longer appropriate.

As indicated above, the breakdown of security has greatly perturbed the implementation of corrective measures:

a) Ensure the protection of the border between the DRC and Sudan in and around the property

Armed groups continue to operate between Sudan and the DRC. As indicated above, the constant presence of Ugandan rebels of the LRA is responsible for the continuing lack of security in the region.

b) Improve the efficiency of the military brigade posted around the property to secure the Park and adjacent hunting areas by replacing the current brigade by a brigade that has undergone the reunification and retraining programme and by ensuring they are adequately equipped 

As mentioned in the previous report, the military brigade posted around the Park was withdrawn in 2007 in the wake of serious incidents involving some of its members. Following the 2 January attack, military brigades of the AFDRC were temporarily deployed in the region, mainly around Dungu (region of the Azandé hunting domain), Faradje, Nagero and at Gangala na Bodio. The AFDRC military deployed in the region had logistic support from MONUC. Nevertheless, in the face of the guerrilla techniques used by the LRA, they have not yet been able to restore security in the region.

 

c) Ensure that the ICCN guard force of the property is properly equipped and, in particular, has adequate arms and ammunition

Most of the clothing and bivouac equipment provided by the African Parks Foundation (APF) in 2007 for the guards to work in optimal conditions for three years, was burnt during the LRA attack. According to the APF, the replacement of this equipment should be settled rapidly.

The major problem confronting the guards is the non-availability of arms and ammunition. This problem leaves them very vulnerable and is an important obstacle in the control of more distant regions occupied by the LRA and/or by Sudanese poachers. The AFRDC Headquarters has been approached with respect to the provision of appropriate scheduling of equipment.

d) Undertake, in cooperation with MONUC, a disarmament campaign within the communities living around the property whilst at the same time improving the security situation in the region

A MONUC brigade is posted permanently at Dungu but, as indicated in the previous report, little progress has been achieved in the implementation of this recommendation due to priority given to civilians. However, in the framework of the combat against poaching and thanks to a new « Information » team, the guards have been able to recuperate military weapons as well as those of artisanal manufacture from the neighbouring populations.

 

e) Reinforce cooperation with the Government of Sudan to better control incursions of armed groups into the DRC and the property

On 24 September 2008 a technical meeting was held at the Nagero Station between the South Sudan authorities, the ICCN Management Authority and authorities of the Garamba and Lantoto National Parks, with support from the African Park Network (APN). The objective of the meeting was the resumption of discussions concerning, on the one hand, transborder cooperation between the two countries and the strengthening of the combat against poaching to ensure the transborder conservation of these contiguous protected areas, on the other. This cooperation should entail the exchange of information regarding poaching, surveillance and research between the two parks. Cooperation in the field would depend upon the security situation in the region. The two parties also discussed a possible transborder extension of the property.

 

f) Maintain and strengthen anti-poaching efforts, in particular in the southern sector of the Park where the presence of northern white rhino was confirmed by the 2006 survey

In 2007, a strong presence of guards was maintained in the southern sector of the Park. An average of 1,500 man/day patrols per month was maintained. A recruitment plan and training programme have been established to strengthen the surveillance team, with recruitment of an additional 59 guards. Between January and April 2008, guards received special training and benefitted from support in the field throughout the year. The total current force of active guards numbers 120.

Moreover, numerous missions were carried out in the hunting areas of Gangala na Bodio and Mondo Missa as well as in the territory of Faradje to identify poachers and gather information on illegal activities. Twenty-seven poachers were arrested during these missions and ten weapons seized.

The property also benefits from aerial surveillance using an ULM. Two ULMs were burnt during the 2 January attack, but should be replaced rapidly.

g) Strengthen efforts to improve relations with the local communities surrounding the Park, particularly through developing and implementing a community conservation programme 

Staff of the Department for Community Conservation continue activities and collaboration with the thirteen local committees for Community Conservation (CLCD). Specifically, it facilitated the identification of 26 project proposals in three chieftaincies adjacent to the Park. Its teams visited 15 villages and organized numerous awareness raising meetings, workshops and training activities with the participation of more than 5,000 persons. The meetings organized by the Department of Community Conservation emphasized in particular the need to conserve the nature and to cooperate in rhino research. They also dealt with socio-economic issues and the presentation of micro-projects. Problems of security, notably in the Azande region, prevented any work in that area.

h) Take urgent measures to reinforce and reinvigorate the Garamba Park guard

i) Reinstate detailed monitoring of the rhino population in the property through a specialized monitoring team building on the know-how available in ICCN and the African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG)

Throughout the year, the Department of Research and Monitoring has concentrated on the search for evidence of the presence of Northern white rhino. In accordance with the recommendations of the last meeting in May 2008 of the African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG) in Arusha (United Republic of Tanzania) the research team concentrated its efforts on the hunting area of Gangala na Bodio (DCGB). The preconceived methodology was used during the intensive search operations carried out between July and December 2008. In April 2008, two Zimbabwean expert trackers reinforced the research team. They were relieved from October to December 2008 by two expert Kenyan trackers. In total, 4,709 km were covered between the hunting area of Gangala na Bodio and the southern part of the Park, with no conclusive results.

j) Establish a trust fund for the rehabilitation of the DRC World Heritage properties, to which the Government of the DRC committed to contribute at the 2004 UNESCO Conference on Heritage in Danger in the DRC

See the Report on Virunga National Park (Document WHC-09/33.COM/7A)

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are very concerned with regard to the breakdown in security in the property and the loss of human lives which could endanger the achievements of these past years, notably halting large-scale poaching of elephants and other flagship species. The Centre and IUCN are also very concerned by the fact that the major efforts deployed to seek the last Northern white rhino have been unsuccessful and it seems more and more probable that this sub-species is now extinct.

Since the 31st session, the property is the subject of the reinforced monitoring mechanism and the World Heritage Centre ensures a permanent monitoring of the state of conservation of the property through its « DRC Programme ». In view of the current situation at the property, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend the continued application of the reinforced monitoring mechanism.

 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 33 COM 7A.31

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7A.31, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Regrets that the State Party has not yet proposed a new date for the high level meeting requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007) and urges the State Party to set a 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;

4. Welcomes the continued commitment of MONUC to develop a Memorandum of Understanding with the protected area authority to improve cooperation for the conservation of the properties and also urges the State Party to follow up on this proposal, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;

5. Reiterates its request to the State Party to adopt a comprehensive approach involving the different relevant Ministries to address the urgent threats to the five World Heritage properties situated within the Democratic Republic of Congo, in particular in relation to the outstanding issues such as the cancellation of mining and oil exploration and exploitation concessions, the relocation of the Nyaleke army camp, and the measures required to address illegal occupation of the Kahuzi-Biega corridor;

6. Also recalls its request to the State Party and the international community to raise international awareness and promote the implementation of the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee and particularly the proposed corrective measures.

Decision Adopted: 33 COM 7A.6

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7A.6, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Expresses its most sincere condolences to the families of the guards killed in the course of operations linked to the protection of the property, as well as to the other victims of the different attacks against the park;

4. Notes with deep concern the most recent breakdown of security that continues to delay the implementation of conservation activities and risks to threaten the achievements of these past years that had halted large-scale poaching of elephants and other flagship species;

5. Expresses its great concern with regards to the possible extinction of the Northern white rhino of which no evidence has been identified to date, despite intensive searches within the property and in the adjacent hunting areas;

6. Urges the State Party, in cooperation with the Mission of the United Nations Organization for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), to strengthen its efforts to disarm all the national and foreign armed groups operating in and around the property and restore security;

7. Reiterates its request to the State Party to implement the corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee following the 2006 monitoring mission;

8. Reiterates its requests to the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies, to develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value and 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 34th session in 2010;

9. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to assess the state of conservation of the property and progress achieved in the implementation of the corrective measures, establish the desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, update the required corrective measures and the timetable for their implementation;

10. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including information on the status of the population of the Northern white rhino and other flagship species of the property, an update on the disarmament of the armed groups in the park and progress achieved in the implementation of the corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;

11. Decides to continue to apply the reinforced monitoring mechanism to the property for one more year;

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

Decision Adopted: 33 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-09/33.COM/7A, WHC-09/33.COM/7A.Add and WHC-09/33.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC-09/33.COM/7A.Corr),

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