The State Party submitted a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property on 2 February 2012, with information concerning the efforts employed in the implementation of the corrective measures:
a) Evacuate the armed groups from the property and extend the area of surveillance to the whole property
The State Party recalls the military operation of the MONUSCO (United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (RDC)), Amani Leo, Kimya I and Kimya II, to neutralize the armed groups active in the Kivu region, and confirms that these operations have had a positive impact on the occupation of the property by the armed groups.These operations have enabled an increase in the area of surveillance of the property and all the sectors except a few pockets in the inaccessible and obstructed zones. The report provides a detailed description of the surveillance operations and the protection of the Park and informs that in 2011, 27.22% of the extent of the Park had been covered by patrols. The maps presented show a fairly good coverage of the Tshivanga sector (53%) and the Itebero sector (42%). Coverage of the Lulingo sector is rather poor (23%), but it should be noted that it has not been covered since the creation of the Park until the creation of a new station in 2008 in Lulingo and of a sub-station in Kasese in 2011. Surveillance activities have also recommenced in the Nzovu sector (where the station was abandoned after an attack in 2009), but the coverage remains poor. It is almost inexistent in the corridor between the highland and lowland altitudes. The report makes mention of aerial patrols of the Park and scientific expeditions that have enabled the gathering of data to make assessments of the least affected places.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note the progress achieved in the coverage of the property but also that the report does not provide information on the frequence of patrols in the sectors covered.
b) Close down all the illegal mining extraction operations within the property and officially cancel all the mining concessions encroaching on the property
In its report, the State Party recalls that in 2010 the Government had suspended mining operations throughout the eastern part of the country which had resulted in the closing down of mining sites in the Park, in both the highland and lowland altitudes. However, the report indicates that a few isolated mining sites are still observed in areas located near camps or military bases. The report notes that the German Cooperation has opened a bureau in the east of the Congo that is attempting to identify the characteristics of minerals originating from the protected areas, which would enable a better monitoring at the level of the trade posts recently installed by the State.
c) Evacuate the ecological corridor and initiate measures to restore plant species and connectivity
The State Party indicates that no decision has been taken at the national level to cancel the occupation rights of the ecological corridor, illegally granted by the services of land rights and the cadastre. However, the report notes that progress has been achieved in the evacuation process of the ecological corridor through concertation with the farmers. The report further notes that through these actions disagreements between the farmers of the Bitale block and the Park have been resolved, and that the parts seized by the farmers have been restituated to the Park and that a participatory demarcation of the Park boundaries has been carried out. The report notes that with this success a similar action shall begin for the Kalubwe-Mulume Munene block. The State Party informs that the natural restoration in the part of the Park that was recuperated in 2010 is underway. The report also notes the progressive and natural reconstitution of the forest in the Mpuse sector (secondary mountain forest). This measure is accompanied by an intensification of patrols in this sector to discourage any attempt of return by the populations. The report further notes the restoration of the bamboo forests.
d) Develop, in a participatory manner, and implement a zoning plan to resolve the issue of the villages in the lowland sector, while maintaining the values and integrity of the property
The State Party informs that consultations with the communities living alongside the Mumbili and Nkolo trail in the Park, are ongoing and that proposals shall be submitted in a few months to the Directorate General for a final decision. These consultations are the result of a study carried out in June 2010 with IUCN assistance, that foresee a zoning of the Park with a relocation of some villages in the perimeter of the property, the establishment of some zones of permanent human occupation and zones of sustainable use inside the property. The report notes that these populations are currently displaced peoples due to insecurity in their zone of origin and presently living in the villages of Nzovu, Lulingu, Shabunda and Kalonge.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that it is very important to ensure that the options identified guarantee the conservation of Outstanding Universal Value of the property.
e) Continue the efforts to reactivate surveillance mechanisms, while ensuring control of the whole Park
As mentioned above, the State Party indicated an increase in the area of surveillance of the Park. The report also notes the establishment of a map with squares to better orient the guards and ensure that the whole of the property is under control. Furthermore, a Management Plan of the infrastructures is being developed in which the strategic places for the location where the guard posts shall be determined. The report indicates nevertheless that the staff, appropriate equipment and access trails in the sectors still remain a problem in ensuring effective control.
f) Complete and approve the Management Plan for the property and ensure the means for its implementation
The State Party indicates that the first phase of the implementation of the Management Plan of the KBNP has just been completed (2009-2011) and that an evaluation is ongoing.
g) Species inventory
The report notes that the inventory of the sectors located in the lowland altitude has not yet been carried out, but that contacts have been made with the specialized NGOs to examine the feasibility of such a study. It indicates that this inventory has also been inscribed in the action plan for the conservation of the great apes in the eastern part of the DCR.
The report informs of a 10% increase in the number of gorillas in the families being monitored, from 126 to 139 individuals. The report confirms previous reports mentioning a small residual population of elephants in the Tshivanga sector.
h) Limit local traffic to only the part of Road RN3 crossing the property, ensure the means for control, and envisage a ring road around the property should the route towards Kisangani reopen
The report notes that work for the rehabilitation of the section crossing the property has been completed respecting environmental standards. Traffic control is carried out by means of barriers at the entrance and exit of the Park but should be reinforced. Teams have been established to assess the environmental impacts of the road on the bush meat commerce and the manufacture of charcoal. The report also mentions that currently the traffic remains minimal given that the rehabilitation of the Hombo – Walikale section (that connects to Kisangani) is not yet envisaged. The report also mentions that an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the ring road around the Park has been carried out.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN reiterate the importance of foreseeing the ring road around the Park in the event of the envisaged Hombo – Walikale section and recommend that the EIS be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for examination by IUCN.
The report also mentions infrastructure work foreseen, notably the rehabilitation of the Tshivanga station with the construction of offices and a guard camp and the construction of guard posts. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall the need to transmit to the World Heritage Centre information on the planned constructions in the Park, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.