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) Urgent organization of a mixed anti-poaching operation between the management authority (ICCN) and the Congolese army (FARDC) in cooperation with the United Nations Mission (MONUC) 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 way, the elimination of illegal activities, specifically large-scale poaching, in the Park ;

c) Implement the recently developed anti-poaching strategy;

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

e) Develop and implement a strategy to minimize and mitigate the impacts of the villages located within the property ;

f) Create an ecological corridor between the two sectors of the property in the framework of a development plan for the property;

g) Establish a special fund for the rehabilitation of the DRC World Heritage properties. 

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 : First phase of the programme financed by the UNF and Belgium for the conservation of DRC World Heritage properties (« DRC Programme ») (2001-2005): approximately USD 320,000. Present phase: (2005-2008) limited funding from UNF. 

Previous monitoring missions

2007 : World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Armed conflict, insecurity, and political instability;

b) Poaching by the army and armed groups;

c) Conflicts with local communities concerning Park boundaries;

d) Impact on 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 2008

Application of the Reinforced monitoring mechanism at the property since 2007 (31 COM 7A.32)

On 1 February 2008 a concise report on the state of conservation of the five World Heritage properties in the DRC was submitted by the State Party. The report provided a summary outline of the ongoing management operations but little information on the implementation of the corrective measures. It mentions a reestablishment of the elephant population, a greater visibility of the bonobos and abundant populations of ungulates, but gives no precise details on the population of these species. Furthermore, the State Party indicates major poaching of the wild pig, roan antelope, crocodile and primates but with no specific numbers. The Park authorities also reported on the slaughter of two elephants by the army in December 2007. The persons responsible for this slaughter were brought to justice thanks to strong cooperation between ICCN, WWF and the local police force.

Since the 2007 mission, the State Party with support from its partners, began the implementation of the corrective measures. This was facilitated by the launching of the programme for the Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (ECOFAC) funded by the European Union that supports the management authority (ICCN) in the establishment of the management of the property, staff capacity building and community conservation. Moreover, the Park has received support from the World Heritage Fund of USD 70,000 for a security project for the property and its surroundings to combat commercial armed poaching. The project « SOS Elephants » implemented successfully in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve has greatly inspired the Park authorities.

 

Following progress can be noted in the implementation of the corrective measures:

a) Urgent organization of a mixed anti-poaching operation between the management authority (ICCN) and the Congolese army (FARDC) in cooperation with the United Nations Mission (MONUC) in the most threatened areas;

The mixed operation was planned in the framework of the security plan and began in April 2007 with investigative activities to assist the Park authorities to obtain the maximum information concerning the poaching networks established in the property. Once the area(s) occupied by the armed poachers are identified, agreement will be reached with the FARDC to carry out targeted and one-off operations. The identification of the members of the mixed team (25 ICCN guards and 25 FARDC) is ongoing and reconnaissance missions have already been carried out. The Park authorities have also established contacts with MONUC to exchange information and evaluate the possibility of MONUC involvement in the operation.

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 way, the elimination of illegal activities, specifically large-scale poaching, in the Park.

With support of MONUC, ICCN and its partners in the field have organized an important awareness raising mission in the provinces. Under the aegis of the Minister of State for Territorial Administration and Decentralization, a tripartite meeting on security of the property was organized from 14 to 16 April 2008 in Bandundu Province with the participation of the Minister for Environment and Nature Conservation as well as the governors of Bandundu, Equateur and western Kasaï. The objective of this tripartite meeting was to set up a permanent work and consultation framework for the immediate solution to the problems facing the property.

c) Implement the recently developed anti-poaching strategy

The implementation of the anti-poaching strategy began with the implementation of the security project.

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

According to the Park authorities, the exactions imposed on the local populations by the poachers have little by little led the former to disassociate themselves from the latter and call for urgent intervention in order to escape the hold of the poachers. This new attitude on the part of the local populations has enabled the Park authorities to promote the creation of consultation committees between ICCN and the local authorities, as well as other platforms, to seek solutions to conflicts. ICCN envisages the extension of the current environmental education programme in these intervention areas oriented on sustainable management practices for natural resources. The promotion of alternative viable economic activities is also planned in order to slow down bad practice in the use of the natural resources.

e) Develop and implement a strategy to minimize and mitigate impacts on the villages located within the property

No information has been provided as to progress accomplished in the implementation of this corrective measure.

f) Create an ecological corridor between the two sectors of the property in the framework of a development plan for the property

No information has been provided as to the state of implementation of this corrective measure.

g) Establish a special fund for the rehabilitation of the DRC World Heritage properties

A trust fund for the DRC protected areas is being established and is presented in the general report on the state of conservation of the DRC properties (Document WHC-08/32.COM/7A, item 31). 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7A.31

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7A.32, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Commends the State Party for its effort to control poaching but expresses its concern about the ongoing threats to the integrity of the properties;

4. Reiterates its request to the State Party to adopt a comprehensive approach to address the urgent threats to the properties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) based on the corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee as well as the recommendations from monitoring missions;

5. Calls on all States Parties to the Convention to use their bilateral contacts to raise international awareness and promote the implementation of the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee;

6. Regrets that the State Party has postponed the high level meeting between the authorities of DRC, the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee, the Director-General of UNESCO, the President of IUCN, donors and other interested parties to identify strategies to address the on-going deterioration of the state of conservation of the five properties from DRC inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger before the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee, and urgesthe State Party to set a date for this meeting as soon as possible, in consultation with the Office of the Director-General of UNESCO, and the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee and the office of the President of IUCN;

7. Welcomes the commitment of the United Nations Foundation, the African World Heritage Fund, and the States Parties of Italy and Belgium in supporting the activities for restoring the Outstanding Universal Value of the five properties;

8. Notes with satisfaction the progress made in developing a trust fund for the DRC properties;

9. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring mechanism to the five properties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7A.7

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7A.7, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Notes with concern reports of continued poaching, in particular poaching of elephants, by the army;

4. Expresses its satisfaction that the State Party has begun the implementation of some of the corrective measures established by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), notably the organization, with support from the World Heritage Fund, of a mixed anti-poaching operation;

5. Requests the State Party, in cooperation with ICCN, the management body for the protected areas, to urgently pursue the implementation of the corrective measures, and to propose a timetable for their implementation;

6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, including the conditions of 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 33rd session in 2009;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by               1 February 2009, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property and progress achieved in the implementation of all the corrective measures, with a proposal for a timetable for their implementation, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

8. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring mechanism to the property;

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