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 2009

Due to its location, the repercussions of the outbreak of the Great Lakes conflict in 1996 affected the Salonga National Park (PNS) somewhat later. The impact of the conflict concerned illegal encroachment and a significant increase of commercial poaching facilitated by the weakened situation and loss of authority of the ICCN, thus causing inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1999. The unsatisfactory state of conservation of the property and the continuing lack of security despite the official halt of hostilities and important support that the property received, led the World Heritage Committee to consider a more global approach to the issue of the deteriorating situation of all the DRC World Heritage properties. In 2007, the reinforced monitoring mechanism recently adopted by the World Heritage Committee was applied to the property (31 COM 7A.32).

On 2 February 2009 a report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party.

As indicated in the previous report, the implementation of the corrective measures began in January 2008 and is ongoing. These activities are funded by UNESCO (World Heritage Fund), the European Union through WWF and the ECOFAC Conservation Programme of the European Union. The implementation of the corrective measures has however been delayed by internal problems of the ECOFAC project. However, the problems mentioned in previous reports remain present. Security and intensive poaching are the main issues. To this must be added the lack of funding which is a serious obstacle to the successful conduct of activities of participatory delimitation and demarcation of the boundary.

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

Investigations on the poaching networks operating within the property have allowed ICCN to accumulate sufficient information on the major poaching areas. ICCN has been able to establish, together with the company of the 3rd military region, an efficacious action plan. Combined patrols are organized in the areas badly affected by poaching but their frequence often depends upon the availability of the FARDC units. However, a large-scale security operation to combat armed poaching, supported by the World Heritage Fund, is programmed for the second half of 2009.

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

Following the tripartite meeting « Secure and Save the Environment of our Salonga National Park, threatened universal heritage» organized from 14 to 17 April 2008 which resulted in the adoption by all parties concerned of an anti-poaching combat plan, a « tripartite » monitoring and assessment structure was established, and plans to meet quarterly. A semi-annual meeting of governors, together with the ICCN Director-General is also foreseen.

c) Implement the recently-developed anti-poaching strategy 

Implementation of the anti-poaching strategy continues, even though delayed by funding problems regarding the ECOFAC project. However, the first results obtained are encouraging. Awareness raising operations have allowed for the recuperation of a certain number of weapons, often voluntarily surrendered to ICCN. In the case of non-voluntary surrender, support from FARDC is requested to proceed with searches around the major poaching areas. Nevertheless, anti-poaching activities can only be effective if security is restored in and around the property.

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

Participatory delimitation and demarcation activities are ongoing but with very restricted means. Participatory structures are established and a procedure for the signature of conveyance contracts with local communities is underway. Furthermore, an awareness raising programme regarding poachers and illegal occupants in the Park has been set up. The activity is complex and will certainly require work over a long period.

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

This activity has not yet begun but is foreseen in the 2009-2011 triennial strategic plan for the property.

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

The procedure was initiated but will require intensive consultations with the different parties concerned. Consultations with the populations and preliminary studies have already been undertaken.

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

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

 

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN have taken note of the progress achieved but, however, are concerned with regard to the accumulated delays in the implementation of the corrective measures, and in particular those linked to the security of the property and the halt of organized poaching. In the case of Salonga National Park, located outside of the area of armed conflict, lack of security is directly linked to the presence of professional poaching bands and without doubt the restoration of security constitutes a prerequisite for the improvement of the state of conservation of the property. This improvement should also, in fact, benefit the local populations. The resolution of the issue concerning the villages located in the property and the use of unsustainable resources of the Park can only be dealt with once security of the property has been established.

Since the 31st session, the reinforced monitoring mechanism is applied to the property and the World Heritage Centre ensures the continued 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 to continue 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.7

The World Heritage Centre,

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

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

3. Notes with concern the delay in the implementation of the corrective measures established by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007); 

4. Urges the State Party to redouble its efforts to implement the corrective measures and in particular those relating to the organization of a combined anti-poaching operation in cooperation with the Congolese Army (FARDC), to secure the property and implement the anti-poaching strategy;

5. Regrets the lack of funding available for the implementation of the corrective measures, and more particularly those relating to participatory delimitation and demarcation activities, and calls upon the State Party and donors to strengthen support to the property;

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

7. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, 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 (FARDC,) to secure the property, and on the implementation of the strategy for anti-poaching, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010 ;

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

9. Also decides to retain Salonga 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: